This note-taking organizer helps students develop their historical analysis and critical thinking skills. It first asks students to pull out from a given text (that the teacher provides) information that they find particularly important. This is "taking notes." Then it asks students to "make notes" for each fact they recorded from the reading. This means that students analyze why that fact is significant or relevant. Students should think about what each fact reveals or teaches us.
For example, a student might note that George Washington became the first U.S. president in 1789 (note-taking in the left-hand column). But she should not stop there! In the right-hand column, the student should analyze why that is significant, or what that fact reveals (note-making). She might write that it shows that the U.S. did not have a president during the first 13 years after America's founding. It also reveals the founders' initial hesitance to have a strong head of government, etc.
The pages of this document are not numbered, so you can photocopy the second page as many times as you need, depending on the length of the text you assign. Students can complete this organizer in class, at home, independently, or in pairs! The "making notes" portion lends itself nicely to small group or whole-class discussions.