Backchanneling-Movie Watching-Note Taking- Information Scribes

The issue of copyright came up with our 7th graders as they were creating Gloggs about different characters of a story. The Language Arts teacher asked me to join them to reinforce and discuss copyright, creative commons, public domain and fair use. Not an easy task…

I decided to show the class the ~10 minute The Fair(y) Use Tale video clip.

At the same time, I wanted them to take notes collaboratively. I chose to create a Today’s Meet chat room and then directed them to log in by sharing the URL with them. To make sure that all of them were in the “room” and signed in with their first names only, we performed a simple roll call by asking to quickly write a “Hello”. That let me know too that all of them knew how to post to the channel.

Sign in and Roll Call

We had a talk about:

  • appropriateness (or not) about social comments to the channel like “This is sooooooo cooool!!!!!! or “You said this already…”
  • How do we focus on the content?
  • spelling and format- text talk ok? full sentences? Length? 140 characters or less?
  • collaborative writing: don’t repeat what the person before you shared, add something new
  • note taking: What is important from the video? What will help us later remember key points of the content?
  • organization of the notes: How can we show when a new segment starts in the video? How will this reflect in the notes?
  • multitasking: listening, summarizing, writing, reading

7th graders backchanneling while watching movie clip

As we switched the Todaysmeet chat screen on the projector to the video, we reminded students that their teacher was the chat room moderator and would be following along what they were writing. We made sure we stopped the video at appropriate intervals to switch back to the chat screen to go over the notes they had taken so far. We also started asking them what they thought would be discussed next or if questions they had would be answered in the next segment? That helped them focus on content and listen in on specific facts.

Organizing and pulling out information

The TodaysMeet log was copied and pasted into a Google Doc that was shared with all the students. Then the “Backchannel Clean-up” started. Google Docs allows all collaborators to edit the document at the same time. You will see each other’s cursor in different colors and with their username attached.Remember that the backchannel log will appear in reverse chronological order.

Someone is responsible for:

  • deleting the time stamp and author’s name from each Today’s Meet entry
  • deleting duplicate entries
  • double checking for fact accuracy
  • adding (if they were not added via Today’s Meet) and bolding relevant segment titles
  • add bullets, if appropriate, for visual clarity

After the clean-up is completed, students can add further notes that were missed during the live backchannel or connections to other information or facts (via links) that they thought of later.

I can also see a student use different highlighter colors in Google Docs to color-code and group certain information and segments.

Using a backchannel tool like Today’s Meet, is a great way to give your students the role of “Official Scribe”. The official scribe is one of the six roles Alan November advocates to empower learners. Alan furthermore says that

Do all of your students take excellent notes everyday? What if there were online collaboration tools that would give your class the opportunity to collaboratively build one set of perfect notes? Using a shared blog, wiki or another collaborative writing tool like Google Docs ( students can share this responsibility and create a detailed set of notes that can be used by the entire class.

Students leaving a lesson with the PERFECT NOTES….We are getting there…

Adapted from Alan November (pp.188-193), Curriculum 21 (ASCD, 2010) by Heidi Hayes Jacobs.

Interested in other blog posts about upgrading and teaching note taking and summarizing to your students? Take a look a:

Have you written a blog post about note taking? Do you have ideas and resources to share? Leave a comment with a link on this post or use the Twitter Hashtag #notetaking to add your voice.