How to Use TPTs for Note-Taking and Concept Analysis

Every learning opportunities provided in the classroom is somewhat limited by the time such concepts are to distilled and discussed in class. This rushed presentation of lessons can also lead to disregarding one of the important skills that students must learn – and that is note-taking.

As for students, it’s also a vague concept for them. Some of them don’t have a clue what to jot down during discussions. In some cases, some students may even be clueless on how to summarize the important points they have learned from the lessons.

Total Participation Techniques (TPTs) recognize the need for students to learn note-taking and concept analysis to deepen their understanding of the concepts being presented to them. If you decide to apply TPTs in your classroom, it doesn’t mean that direct instruction is already not allowed. You can still deliver your lessons using direct instruction; however, you need to pause now and then and make sure that students digest the information.

note making total participation techniques

For deep learning to take place, students must be given a chance to process and repackage what they learn in the form of a visual summary. This process will help them think the concepts critically. Therefore, during direct instruction, you can apply TPTs note-taking and concept analysis guide.

The TPTs guide to note-taking and concept analysis are:

  1. Confer, Compare and Clarify;
  2. Graphic Organizers and Prepared Packets
  3. Anticipatory Guides
  4. Picture Notes
  5. Lecture T-Chart
  6. The 3-Sentence Wrap Up
  7. A-Z Sentence Summaries
  8. Pause, Star, Rank
  9. Key-Word Dance
  10. Debate Team Carousel
  11. Technology Bases TPTs

Among the list given, I’ll discuss more Confer, Compare, and Clarify because this note-taking guide can almost be done on-the-spot. This technique can be done in the middle of the lesson or even as a summing up of that day’s lesson.

How Does It Work?

  1. In a pair, ask your students to “Confer, Compare, and Clarify.” Confer means that they must share a one-sentence summary of what they believe is the most important part of the presentation. During the ‘Compare’ part, the pair should share their notes with each other. It is important to tell the students that they can ‘borrow’ the ideas of their peers. Lastly, ‘Clarify’ is when the students are asked to record any questions that they have about the presentation.
  2. Soon after, ask the pairs to join other groups (forming a group of four). They will share the questions they have noted during the ‘Clarify’ stage and try to work together to form an answer to those listed questions.
  3. Ask the students to record the questions that could not be answered in the larger group on the board or in a piece of paper.
  4. Address these recorded questions before moving on to the next part of the presentation.

Confer, Compare and Clarify

To ensure that higher-order thinking is happening during this activity. Prepare some prompts that will help students to analyze the concepts they are learning together. These prompts will also help the students assess if they have taken down notes effectively. After the activity, you can also ask the students if they learn something from the note-taking strategies of their peers. You can even ask the students to write a short reflection about the areas that they can improve on, in their note-taking,  in the margin of their notebooks

Using ‘Confer, Compare, and Clarify’ does not need massive preparation for us, teachers. We just have to know at what part of our presentation we will ask our students to digest and synthesize the concepts we have just presented.


TFT will also host its first ever Professional Development Workshop for teachers.  As we will be opening a tutorial center, it will be held there. The name of the tutorial center is Bruner Learning Hub located in Maly, San Mateo.

There will be two sessions for it:

1st part, August 5, Saturday:
We’ll introduce the need for TPTS and then learn about total participation techniques (TPT), in particular, On-the-spot TPTs and TPT holds up.
2nd part, August 19, Saturday:
We’ll learn TPTs that involve movement and how we can use TPTs for notetaking and concept analysis.

If you’re interested, please fill in your details in this google form. We will email you with more details and how to reserve your slot. Thank you for interest and support! 🙂

Don’t delay as the early bird promo only applies this month!

Argee Abadines
Argee Abadines is the founder and chief content engineer of this website. He is a brain based educator and his educational interests are pedagogy, higher order thinking, creativity, and educational technology. He is also the founder of Bruner Learning Hub. He currently teaches high school business studies and economics. Previously, he taught English to primary students. He reads up regularly about trends in education and online media. You can visit his personal blog at

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