Note-Taking?? Do I hear a collective groan from the class? Are you rolling your eyes as you picture a spiral-bound notebook filled with chicken scratch, because your high school History teacher spoke entirely too fast? Are you recalling the days of old when we would attempt to re-read our notes, only to discover that our own “chicken scratch” was indecipherable even to us? I promise you, this is NOT that kind of note-taking.
Desire To Learn
For those of you that clicked on a link that brought you to this blog post, I’ll just assume you desire to learn more of God’s Word and want to understand it as completely as possible. However, allow me to change your mind on the so-called boring process of note-taking.
Ever since I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I have been striving to learn more. Over the years I have gone to every conference that came to town, participated in Bible studies (both at my home church and other churches), committed morning after morning to quiet time with God, and regularly partook in individual Bible studies I did solely for the purpose of getting closer to My Glorious and Faithful Father.
Once I thought about it, I realized that my path to Bible journaling started with note-taking. First, I took furious notes and filled my spiral notebooks with the same chicken scratch from high school. Then I found different techniques to studying the Bible, like the S.O.A.P. method and intense inductive studies, which all involved some sort of note-taking.
After completing multiple inductive Bible studies, I found I enjoyed using colored pens and pencils to markup what I studied. This is how my regular Bible study morphed into creative note-taking.
Desire To See
I am a visual learner. I grasp things so much easier when looking at a graph, image, or illustration of some kind. What about you?
I have tons of paper scraps and napkins, with words and illustrations on them, that I keep in no specific spot. Whether you’re looking through my collection of faith-based books or old journals or my sock drawer, you’d probably find a scrunched-up napkin or scrap. Sometimes I file these little morsels and other times I use them as bookmarks. There is no rhyme or reason to how I keep them.
Of course, I’ve always wanted to have them all in one place and over time, transfer them into my war binder or Bible. Unfortunately, that desire is still unmet.
The following statistical facts about visual learning are from the Teaching Alliance homepage.
FACT: Approximately 65 percent of the population are visual learners.
FACT: The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text.
FACT: 90 percent of information that comes to the brain is visual.
FACT: 40 percent of all nerve fibers connected to the brain are linked to the retina.
FACT: Visual aids in the classroom improve learning by up to 400 percent.
FACT: Students who are twice exceptional (2e) are often visual learners.
Desire To Know
My belief is the more I know about God’s love letter to us (the Bible), the more my relationship with Him will flourish. In our lives here on earth, our relationships grow over time, as our knowledge of the other person increases. It just makes sense that we would experience that same benefit in our growing relationship with the Lord. And isn’t that the point? Don’t we desire to know Him more, so our relationship with Him can grow by leaps and bounds?
- Write neat. My advice to you is no more chicken scratch. We want to be able to return to our Bible notes, clearly able to understand what we’ve written.
- Use color! Whether you use a ballpoint pen or gel pen or an extra fine archival pen, use a variety of colors when writing out your notes.
- Use even more color! You can easily incorporate watercolor paints, markers, and colored pencils to add life to your notes.
- Boxes, circles, and arrows can really add a new dimension to your note-taking.
- Try doodling an image or two within your notes.
- Stickers! Enough said.
- Make a list, using numbers or bullet points.
- Use sticky notes or tip-ins*, giving yourself more space to write.
- Highlight or underline verses to magnify that specific point, command, or thought.
- Consider using speech bubbles when writing quotes from people in the Bible.
Remember, we were created to create. Also, we were made in His image and He is THE Creator. Like always, I truly want you to know that all of this is about being creative, not artistic. With that in mind, try new things when you are note-taking creatively. Like Bible journaling, there are no rules to note-taking and what you highlight or emphasize is totally up to you.
Attention Note-takers! Do you have additional ideas or tips for creative note-taking? If so, please share it in the comments of this post.
*Tip-in: Dictionary.com defines tip-in as an insert, as an illustration, map, or errata slip, pasted to a page of a book, magazine, etc. usually along the binding margin.