Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Window Notes

Cacey Wells | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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Window Notes

This strategy was adapted from "The Strategic Teacher" and uses four quadrants to help students organize information that's explored in a topic or task. Students can use facts, feelings, questions, or ideas as a basis for their organization. A modification for mathematics teachers is also included.

Window Notes


Window Notes is a strategy that students use to organize information while taking notes, reading a text, or completing an assignment or task.


  1. Instruct students to fold a piece of paper into fourths, creating four equal rectangles. Students should then trace over the folds, distinguishing the four quadrants. (Handouts with a printed template could be copied and provided to students.)

  2. Have students label the quadrants Facts, Feelings, Questions, and Ideas, respectively.

  3. Introduce the topic and ask students to sort and record information obtained from the lecture/reading/task that fits within the four categories.

  4. Request that students share their notes with the whole class or in a small group.

  5. Math Modification: Have students label the four quadrants as follows to help them organize mathematical thoughts: The Facts (What are the facts?); The Processes (What processes can be used to solve the problem?); The Question (What question need to be answered?); The Diagram or Model (How can the problem be visually represented?)

Silver, H. F., Strong, R. W., & Perini, M. J. (2007). Window notes, in The strategic teacher: Selecting the right research-based strategy for every lesson. ASCD. Retrieved from