Setting Up a Class Notebook

• My experience tells me that many students keep their notebooks long after the semester has ended. In order to maximize the usefulness of your notes — both during the semester and after it’s over — I recommend that you dedicate a notebook specifically to and only for the purposes of this class.

• What works best is a one-subject spiral-bound notebook or composition book. Don’t use a pad (which opens from the bottom), a folder containing loose pages, or a ring binder. You won’t need as many pages as there are in a three-subject or five-subject notebook, so why spend the extra money?

• Divide the notebook into five sections by following these instructions:

• Label the first page of the notebook “GENERAL NOTES.” This will be the first page of your notebook’s first section. All notes which I don’t specifically tell you to put elsewhere go here. Leave the rest of this first page blank. At the top of the second page of this section, put the heading “Extra Credit,” then skip a line and put the number (1), skip a line and put the number (2), skip a line and put (3), and so on down to and including (10). For instructions on using this page, see the Extra Credit handout.

• Open the notebook to approximately the middle — no need to count pages! — and fold the upper left corner of the left-hand page and the upper-right corner of the right-hand page down to the middle. In this way, you have “tabbed” the notebook, so that it’ll be easy for you to find the middle when you need it.

• Head the page to the left of the first folded page “VOCABULARY.” This will be the first page of your notebook’s second section. In this section, you’ll be writing terms and definitions. Some of the terms will be new to you, and some will be words you’re already familiar with, but which we’ll use for the purposes of this course differently than you’re used to hearing them used. For starters, write the word “mantra” and the following definition: “A collection of words or sounds which will make you wiser if you will only pay close attention to it.” If you wind up filling this page, continue by working backwards towards the front of the notebook. (In principle, this means that the GENERAL NOTES and VOCABULARY sections could eventually run into each other. In practice, though, this won’t happen, so don’t worry!)

• Head the page to the right of the second folded page “THE 7 C’S OF COMMUNICATION.” This will be the first page of your notebook’s third section. This is the section you’ll probably use the most.

• Go to the very last page of the notebook. On the front of that page, put the heading “COMMUNICATION MANTRAS.” In this section, you’ll be compiling a collection of brief sayings — collections of words — which will make you wiser about communication, if only you’ll pay close attention to them. The mantras should not be numbered; instead, just skip a line between them, so that you can easily see where one ends and the next begins. If you wind up filling this page, continue by working backwards towards the front of the notebook. (In principle, this means that the 7 C’S and MANTRAS sections could eventually run into each other. In practice, though, this won’t happen, so don’t worry!)

• On the back side of the last page of the notebook, put the heading “THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF COMMUNICATION.” This one side of this one page will be the fifth and last section of the notebook. It’s the section in which you’ll do the smallest amount of writing — but in some ways it’ll turn out to be the most important page of the notebook! As you did on the “Extra Credit” page, skip a line and put the number (1) at the left of the page, then skip a line and number (2), skip a line and number (3), and so on down to and including (10).

• Bring your notebook and a pen to class with you every day. If you’re ever unsure whether or not to write something down, or if you’re not sure where in the notebook to write something, ask me!

• Some students like to keep a separate, smaller notepad for recording homework assignments. I think that’s a good idea! If you’d prefer to write down assignments in the larger notebook, you might want to set aside several pages in the GENERAL NOTES section for that purpose. Summaries of all of the graded homework assignments are available here. Be aware, though, that the summaries to be found on this website are in fact summaries — for a complete and fully accurate explanation of the assignments, you’ll need to be in class on the day they’re presented. The links to most of the assignments won’t be activated until after each assignment has been discussed in class, so you usually won’t be able to get an advance look at those assignments but they’ll always be available to you at least one class day before the assignment in question is due.

 

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