I have to use the Cornell System for taking notes on Martin Luther King's speech.  I never used this before.  I need some help with points to remember. How do I go about this?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Cornell Note Taking system requires you to divide the paper into three parts.  There will be a vertical division on the left side, where one larger box to the right will be where you will take notes on essential concepts from the speech.  Key terms and points will be on the left.  Leaving about five to six lines from the bottom, these two areas will be where the bulk of the notes from the speech will be.  The horizontal space at the bottom will be where you will summarize the speech about a day after you compose the notes.  

In the right section of your notes is where you will start your notetaking.  Progressing through each part of the speech, note important ideas that Dr. King makes in the speech.  Keep them short and abbreviated, if possible.  This will force you to remember key points and synthesize the information in your own mind, as opposed to blindly copying.  For example, you would probably bypass the opening paragraph as it is Dr. King expressing his gratitude for his appearance.  As you read the second paragraph, you might note in the large section, "Emancipation Proclamation= hope to slaves."  Notice how this is a fragment, using symbols or abbreviations and isn't a complete sentence.  The Cornell Note Taking System asks you to do this often.  

As you come across terms and vocabulary that you deem important or critical, note these in the left column. For example, "injustice" in the second paragraph might be noted in this section.  This can also be where you note questions that you might have as you read the speech and take your notes.  Once you have finished taking your notes in this manner, a day later, summarize in your own words the bulk of your notes in the bottom portion of your notes. 

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