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Why Annotate a Text?

Why Encourage Annotation?

Teachers often require their students to annotate in a specific format. My students routinely annotate for a colleague. In fact, they say they do it ALL the time. SO, when I asked them to annotate an AP passage to help them answer the questions, they sighed in anguish.  Annotations should be personal and should avoid three common pitfalls.

1. They highlight or underline EVERY word.
2. They inconsistently annotate.
3. They sweat the small stuff.

Weareteachers recommends a way to help each of these common pitfalls. Their infographic may be helpful in implementing annotation in a class.

1.  Show students that there is no difference between a passage that has not been annotated and a page that is completely highlighted or underlined. Annotation is meant to help us understand the passage better.
     Do not grade the annotations.
2.  Model a system that works for you. Then, allow students to create their own system.
      Do not grade their annotations.
3.  Try reverse highlighting. Cross out everything that is not essential. Find out what is left.
     Do not grade their annotations.

So, why annotate a text?
1.  It forces students to slow down.
2.  It helps students make connections with the text.
3.  It encourages students to ask and answer questions.


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