Have you ever stood in front of a class of high school (or middle school!) English students and wondered . . . Wtf have you kids been doing the whole time you were supposed to be researching?!?

I know I have.

Don’t worry, you are not alone. The first time it happened to me was with an eleventh grade class of middling-to-high performing students. When I asked how their research notes were coming along and what their research sources were I got crickets.

teacher at chalkboard with text c'mon guys give me more than crickets

Then it dawned on me. They had no idea how to take effective notes (or how to track their sources).

At the time we didn’t have internet in that classroom, so I had to stand up and ad-lib how to take notes. Bleurgh.

How I wished for a wi-fi connection! A video could explain it much faster and easier than I could.

A video would’ve allowed me to differentiate and help those who needed to learn to take notes. But it also would’ve allowed me to help those who had mastered that skill.

Writing a draft is a more complex skill than note-taking, as it requires synthesis. Using a video to help the note-taking students would have freed me up to help those tackling the more difficult task.

So, if you’ve ever been in a position where you thought, geez I wish I had an awesome video that showed how to take Cornell notes, read on.

If you then thought, wow, I have approximately no time to find a good Cornell notes YouTube video, you’re in luck. We’ve taken a scroll to find some great videos to show your students how to take Cornell notes.

How to Take Notes Using the Cornell Note Taking Method by University of Southern Maine

This video is a great quick Cornell notes how-to video. It has a good basic explanation of how to set up the page for Cornell notes.

It runs for approximately five minutes. So it’s quick enough for a re-cap, or to show students who have missed the memo on note-taking.

This video also emphasizes the need to use the cue section and summary section after the note-taking session. And it shows how to use the cue section, fold it along the line, and then use it to practise study questions.

How to take Cornell notes by Jennifer DesRoschers

This video is another quick video of about 5 minutes. It also shows how to use the Cornell notes layout. If your student’s most common question is, what do Cornell notes look like, then this video has got you covered.

The teacher uses the example of cell biology to explain what goes in each section of the notes.

CrashCourse Study Skills Taking Notes

My personal favorite note-taking video is the Crash Course Study Skills video about note-taking. It runs for about nine minutes, but it covers mind mapping and outline notes in addition to Cornell notes.

Because it shows three note-taking styles, this video is great to show students that there’s no ONE WAY to take notes. And it also explains that some note-taking formats may be better suited to some subjects than others.

For the Cornell notes style note-taking section of the video, the presenter also emphasizes the advantage of being able to use the cue/summary section after the note-taking session to identify possible exam questions or to review important definitions.

If you’re keen to use this video, we also have a fun, no-prep visual note-taking style worksheet to accompany it. Click here to find out more.


Cornell Notes Method of Taking Notes by Sacramento City College

This very short video (just two minutes) is great for showing students how to take notes at the pace that people speak. It emphasizes the need to use symbols, abbreviations, and sketches to take notes quickly.

It also explains the need to complete the cue and summary sections at the end of the note-taking session.

How to take notes | College Note-taking tips!

This Cornell notes video is aimed at an older audience and is more suited to

  • more advanced younger high school students
  • older high school students
  • those who are preparing for college/university
  • or those who are already studying at college/university

The presenter emphasizes one of the main Cornell notes benefits: how quick and efficient it is compared to other methods.

The best thing about this video is that she shows students how to prepare for a lecture by identifying important information before beginning.

She does this by showing students how to write guide questions before a lecture. And she shows students how to refer back to a syllabus or course outline to do so.

The presenter’s method modifies the Cornell note-taking method by writing the questions or cues onto her note-taking paper. Not only does this help ‘prime’ students for learning, but it also helps them focus on the important information.

While this may not be possible for high-school-age students, it is a great habit for college- or university-level students to learn.

The presenter sells a study-skills course, so if you don’t want to have that advertised, stop the video 12.10.

Other great Cornell notes videos . . .

The videos so far show how to set up Cornell notes, but only show how to use pen and paper. If you are looking for a video showing how to set up Cornell notes digitally a few are listed below.

  • This video by Janice Studies shows how to use an iPad and the Good Notes app to write her Cornell notes. It shows what sort of digital paper and pen sizes she uses. The video runs for about 10 minutes.
  • This video by Mariana’s Corner shows how to take Cornell notes in word (and google docs would work similarly). She also has this great video showing how to take notes using the Cornell notes setup.
  • This video by Socratica is a great video to introduce Cornell notes for middle school students because it explains not only how to set up the page, but also how to use the notes to study, and the importance of taking great notes. This video also runs for about 11 minutes.

Want more?

If you’re looking for a Cornell notes blank template to use with your students, check out our freebie on TPT. The file can be used as an editable PDF, a PDF opened in Word or a Google slide. It’s perfect for all of you doing distance or digital learning. It can also be printed to use old-school pen and paper style.

And if you’re wanting to read more about note-taking, check out these blog posts:

But wait, there’s more:

If you’d like me to create a Cornell notes rubric or criteria sheet, drop me a comment on facebook.