Workman Publishing sponsored this post as part of an Ambassador Program for Big Fat Notebook on What’s That Smell?. All opinions expressed are my own. Post may contain affiliate links.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you a resource for helping your middle school student get better grades called Big Fat Notebooks. Big Fat Notebooks are a series of books that cover the five top middle school topics (Math, Science, American History, English Language Arts and World History) in a fun and appealing way. Big Fat Notebooks are designed to feel like kids have borrowed notes from the smartest kid in class to help them succeed in school. They are the perfect size to carry around, and the graphics and text are engaging and easy to read.
When it comes to studying and note taking, some kids struggle with knowing which material is important enough to record in their notes and also the best way to record the information for productive studying and easy recall at test time. They just don’t have the skills to be able to wade through all of the information and not only determine key points but to keep track of it in a way that makes studying easier. Big Fat Notebooks helps bridge the gap and not only acts as a study guide but is great inspiration for their note taking.
Taking great notes involves some simple instructions that will help organize their notes and make them look like the smartest kid in class.
A Middle Schooler’s Guide to Taking Great Notes
- Write only the important stuff.
- Make illustrations whenever possible where it makes sense.
- Create headers in capital letters and a different color to illustrate main key ideas and key facts.
- Create a system of highlighting where you highlight similar information such as dates, and key names or words in the same color. For example, you can always highlight dates in blue, and names in orange.
- Create lists with bullet points to visually separate information.
- Don’t cram too much on one sheet, leave room for additional notes just in case you need to add more.
For more insight into how to take excellent notes, Big Fat Notebook has put together the following graphic. It has some great information!
To help add to that inspiration of taking excellent notes, I created a downloadable, printable Big Fat Notebooks themed note taking page that is a bit more fun to look at than traditional loose-leaf paper or a notebook. It’s not a necessity to use the Big Fat Notebooks series to their full potential, but it’s a nice extra bonus. To print the sheet, you just need to click on the image below and download the PDF. It is password protected; the password is “NOTES” (capital letters).
We have a had a few weeks to start using the Big Fat Notebooks, and I think they have helped my son understand what to focus on to study and helped him improve his note taking.
He said he likes the illustrations in the books, and the different colors and fonts. He said it helps him to take better notes that are “cooler to look at.”
We use the Big Fat Notebooks as a guide, he still takes his notes, both from his textbook and the study guides. This way the information is presented in different ways and helps him see it from multiple angles.
He enjoys taking notes now!
I wish Big Fat Notebooks had been around when I was in middle school.
You can purchase Big Fat Notebooks at major retailers and booksellers including Amazon.com.
Individual links to each book:
- Everything You Need to Ace Math in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide
- Everything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide
- Everything You Need to Ace English Language Arts in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide
- Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide
- Everything You Need to Ace World History in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide
Don’t forget to download the free printable notes sheet too and you can also Pin it on Pinterest. Scroll up for download link!