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How To Write Perfect Jot Notes With Kids When Informative Writing

report writing writing activities

One of the hardest things about report writing with kids is to teach them how to make jot notes. Once kids master writing jot notes they’re better able to complete the other steps of the report writing process.

Writing jot notes is a lifelong skill that students can use throughout their school years and into adulthood.

What Are Jot Notes?

Jot notes are a way for students to record information. Students read from a book or website and make notes. They use these notes to write sentences, paragraphs, or reports on a given topic.

Jot notes:

  • contain a few words or a phrase but not a complete sentence.
  • do not use punctuation.
  • begin with a bullet mark such as an asterisk, dash, or black dot.

How To Take Jot Notes

Taking jot notes involves three simple steps.

  1. Read about a topic.
  2. Pick out the most important info.
  3. Record information next to bullet marks.

How To Teach Kids to Write Jot Notes

Teach kids how to write jot notes with two different activities. You can practice the activities as a class and then with a partner before asking your students to complete the activities on their own.

  • Sorting Jot Notes - students read jot notes and organize them into the different categories for their reports
  • Writing Jot Notes - students practice turning sentences into jot notes

Sorting Jot Notes

A great way to teach students how to identify and create jot notes is to provide them with ready-made jot notes so they can see how they are written. The Ant Report FREEBIE For Beginning Writers is perfect for this activity.

"I LOVE this! This resource is a great way to introduce kiddos to the concept of taking facts and turning them into paragraphs. I cannot rave enough about this resource and I am SO glad that I stumbled upon it while looking for butterfly life cycle resources! :)" - TpT Seller

How to Use Ant Report FREEBIE:

  1. Students cut out the jot notes.
  2. They read one of the jot notes.
  3. Students glue the jot note under the correct category.
  4. They then turn the jot notes into sentences for their report.

"What a fun way to write informative text! The students were engaged and able to stay on task!" - Cheryl M.

Use the ant report with your entire class, a small group of students, or have students complete individually. Add the ant report or similar activities to your literacy centers to provide students with additional practice.

"I really like this concept - it can be tricky to have students research themselves at times, and this unit supplies the notes for us! I am using for older students with learning needs so the extra help the unit provides is great." - Rachel

"A clever way to show children how to take note by having them use the notes that are given to put together sentences in a report. This provides students with a perfect intermediate step to taking notes independently." - Melissa C. (Insect Report For Beginning Writers)

Other report writing packages for beginning writers include:


Writing Jot Notes

Once students are able to identify jot notes, give students practice writing them. The simplest way to practice is to turn statements into jot notes.

Writing jot notes does not need to be difficult.

  1. Write a sentence such as, "Zebras have black and white stripes." on your white board or a sheet of chart paper.
  2. Ask students how the sentence can be changed into a jot note. Students may come up with something like - black and white stripes.
  3. Record the jot note on the white board or chart paper. 
  4. Review the jot notes with the students and determine if the jot note contained the most important information in the sentence and if it began with a dash, a star, or some other mark.

When students are ready, use jot note templates to help students write reports. Report writing packages that contain jot note templates are available for animals, insects, plants, and MORE!

"Using this step by step template was extremely helpful when guiding my students to write an informative report for the first time ever. The students were able to be successful from step one of jotting notes, to writing the final copy." - April M. (Animal Report)

Practice both the jot note sorting and the writing jot note activities until your students are able to easily identify and write jot notes.

Related Blogposts:

Happy writing!

Until next time,


P.S. Do you struggle teaching writing to your kids? Are you looking for writing tips, strategies and ideas?

Not sure if any of these are for you? Check out the Touch of Honey Freebie Library. Download a freebie and begin using in your classroom today.