HONORS WORLD HISTORY STUDY PACKET – Revised 2009-10
The purposes of note-taking:
1. To assure that you are learning and understanding the course material.
2. To show me that you are doing the reading.
3. To help you learn to analyze, interpret, evaluate and synthesize the material.
1. The Notes (data/facts/information):
You will have roughly 7 pages of reading per assignment. Sometimes you will take regular notes or
sometimes create a chart. For regular note taking, use a 3:1 ratio – for 3 pages of text, take approximately
one page of notes, depending on the size of your handwriting. So, for my homework, you’ll take
approximately 2-2 ½ pages of data notes for 6-7 pages of reading.
It is here that you demonstrate knowledge comprehension of the reading assignment. On the left side of
your sheet of paper, write the heading or topic about which you are taking notes. Under that, record
your data as a bulleted summary. Use colored pencils, markers or highlighters to organize your data.
Studies show that color helps you to remember information (that’s why advertisers use it!).
Data to record:
Who, when, where (context)
Causes for the event(s) or person’s actions
What happened/what did the person do/accomplish
Specific examples (2-3) that explain/demonstrate what happened or was accomplished
Effects of the event(s)/person’s actions on society/politics/economics, future events, etc…
WHY was the event/person significant in the larger historical context
With most assignments, you will have an Analysis Question (AQ) to respond to (I will alternate an
analysis question and document analysis). This is different from the data notes! This is not a summary,
but rather I want to hear what you think about the facts/material that you have read and why those
facts are important. I call this the “so what, who cares” section. For example, I will ask you to do such
Make connections with other periods of history or events that you know
Compare and contrast events or people
Compare and contrast to events today
Your language should change from the data section. I should see phrases like:
I think that…
It is evident/apparent that…
One can argue/conclude that…
If you compare and contrast _____ and _______, it is clear/unclear that…
_______ was significant/important because….
3. Primary Document Reflection or OPVL (1/2 of a page)
Primary documents are another key component to this class. For most assignments, you will have
a primary document on which you will either reflect or do OPVL.
Reflection: I want you to reflect on, evaluate, and/or synthesize the information found in a
document. Ways to illustrate this are:
Respond to the ideas found in the document – what do you think about them?
Judge the accuracy of information and /or recognize bias
Be creative - write a letter or journal entry from the POV of someone living at the time,
poetry, or art to interpret and analyze reading
OPVL: see page at end of packet
Define the terms I have given you in your Unit Overview. You may do this within your notes or
you may make a list at the end, whichever works best for you. If you do them within your
notes, the term and the definition must be highlighted or I won’t count the homework
assignment as completed!
Note: doing complete and accurate definitions of terms is key to doing well on the exams.
Hints for Effective Note taking
Read an entire section (or at least several paragraphs) before you take any notes! By doing
so, you will understand the big picture and therefore take meaningful, succinct notes about
the big ideas and important facts. Otherwise if you take notes as you read, you’ll be taking
lots of unnecessary notes on unimportant facts because without the big picture, you don’t
know what is important and what is not. Take smart notes, not long notes.
What things should I avoid:
Arguments without factual support (to do so is pure opinion, or hot air)
I am looking for quality over quantity of notes
Never copy your friends or siblings notes!!! To do so implies cheating and/or plagiarism. I
examine your notes carefully, and I will call you and your parents in if I suspect something.
To copy notes from friends, including previous IB students, hurts you in the long run. Unit
essays/exams will soon reveal the discrepancy between your notes and your ability to
demonstrate what you know.
With each unit, you will hand in a stapled notebook (homework will be arranged in the order given on
your Unit Overview). After I have graded it, you will take it home and keep it in a large 3 ring binder at
home. By the end of the year, this history binder will have every unit in it, organized from the
Renaissance through WWII. The notebook is a working tool for you to use to study for your final exams.
Grading of Notes:
7 Excellent (A+ Level/ Highest Distinction)
Quality of notes is reflective of extensive time and effort. There is abundance of content, all
historically significant and relevant to the topic area. Terminology is thorough and highlighted.
Student has illustrated advanced skills of synthesis, interpretation and evaluation.
6 Excellent (A Level/High Honors)
Quality of notes is reflective of much time and effort. Evidence of the ability to select and use
knowledge relevantly and effectively. Excellent coverage of the assignment data – who, what,
when , where and why. Demonstrates the ability to analyze knowledge and evidence, often
demonstrating originality, understanding and insight. Terminology is complete, highlighted.
5 Good (B Level/Honors)
Quality of work is reflective of adequate time and effort. Most of the assigned reading/data is
covered. Some terminology has been highlighted. Some analysis but not as complete as in the A
bands. Could be extensive data, some or no analysis. Analysis could be trite, generic statements.
4 Average (C Level- barely meets IB Standard)
Evidence of reading is limited. Barely enough data to support class discussion or data without
analysis. Little terminology, nothing highlighted. Tendency to list items and to state opinions
without supporting evidence. Limited understanding of the content.
3-1 Below Standard (D level)
Little indication of time and effort. Disorganized, rushed appearance. Minimal historical data.
Evidence that only a small section of reading was done. Little or no analysis. No evaluation or
reflection. The students has not proven understanding of the content. Notes are little help in class
or for future exams.
OPVL – IB DOCUMENT ANALYSIS
What is the document?
Is it authentic?
Who wrote, drew or photographed it? Why are they credible / reliable-trustworthy?
Is the evidence therein typical?
Is the observer / writer biased in any way?
What sources have been used to produce it?
Are those sources authentic and reliable?
Are these sources typical...what sources might not have been used?
Is the historian biased in any way?
Date written-what events surround the event, influence the source or the historian?
Why was the document written? What is the intent of the document? Is it to inform, justify, persuade,
deceive? Is the document propaganda?
3. VALUE: (This is not just usefulness, but reliability and truth)
Usefulness – depends on what you (as a historian) want to use it for. Identify purpose of the question.
Students need to remember that there are no bad documents!
Reliability, Truth, Accuracy
Is the document fact, opinion or judgment?
Subject to censorship?
Balanced in the selection of facts? Was something omitted?
Is there consistency with similar sources? (Thus, why a student needs background knowledge)
4. LIMITATIONS / BIAS
Bias can be intentional (to deceive) or unintentional (may have been written before new evidence
or just limited due to access )
Use of language – choice of words can reveal a person’s bias.
Are there exaggerated comments?
Is the background of the person writing the source one-sided?
Have definitions, meanings changed over time?
Context of the times in which a source was written?
Multiple or just one viewpoint?