Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3c – Note Taking Low Tech

Note Taking Utensils

Sharp pencils
Ink pen – sharp or medium points – your preference
Colored Pencils – useful for emphasizing points and for visual mapping
Colored Markers – useful for emphasizing points and for visual mapping
Note Taking Media

Loose leaf 3-hole punch lined paper
Loose leaf 3-hole punch unlined paper
Spiral bound 3-hole punch single subject
Spiral bound 3-hole punch multiple tabbed
Moleskin books
Journal Book Lined
Journal Book unlined

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3b – Note Taking Technology

There is low technology and high technology.

Low technology could go all the way back to the caveman chipping pictures into stone, but more than likely it’s pencil and paper. Simple, no power needs and available almost anywhere. Sometimes the simple solution might be the best. Higher tech from this would be substituting a pen for the pencil. We’ve been trained to use this type of technology for most of our lives. Downsides would be the inability to easily share, legibility and durability.

High technology solutions would include laptops, netbooks and tablets. Dependent upon the type of software, note-taking could be done in outline format, visual mapping or some combination. Pro’s would be easily shared, legible and easily backed up. Downside would be ease of use, loss of power and unfamiliarity with the technology.

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3a – Note Taking

Lecture review using a digital recording by simply listening is one method of review. Tying the audio with self-generated notes gives more reinforcement.

Generally there are two types of note-taking – Linear and Visual. There will be further posts about these as well as using technology vs. hand-writing to generate your notes.

Some guidelines summarized from Writing@CSU


  • Review your notes from the previous class.
  • Keep up with your reading/homework so you’re not lost when class starts
  • Prepare questions for the teacher based on your reading/homework/previous class notes.

During the Lecture

  • Write on one side of the paper. (Use the back for sketching graphs/charts/pictures/timelines, writing questions, summarizing, making notes to yourself later.)
  • Don’t worry about creating elaborate outlines–just keep main ideas and examples together.
  • Don’t worry about spelling or handwriting (as long as you can read it).

After the Lecture

  • Instead of recopying your notes, review them within 24 hours. (Short-term memory deteriorates quickly, and you lose 50%-80% of the material if you don’t review.)
  • Annotate your notes. (Mark what’s important, add page numbers from textbook, etc.)

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3 – Digital Recorders

Actually recording a lecture can help with the review and learning. Knowing that there is an audio backup available, can allow the student to concentrate on the lecture and the concepts and fnoormulas being presented. By focusing on making sure the formulas are recorded on the note-taking device, the recording can be used to further review the material.

There are several different types of recording devices, a straight forward portable digital voice recorder and a device keyed to the notes (LiveScribe).

Portable Digital Voice Recorder

Look for the following features: ease of operation, ability to transfer to a computer, an index or bookmark feature, folders, fairly long battery life and memory enough to hold at least eight hours of recording.

In the past, I’ve use the Olympus WS-310 recorder (built-in USB connection, one AAA battery, able to operate single handed…). That model may not be still available, but look for similar features in whatever device you look for.


The LiveScribe is a digital recorder but also allows you to key the recording to your written notes. It does require special paper (which can be printed on your own printer), but has the flexibility of indexing and rechargeable.

Rather than having to scan through the recording to locate the instructor talking about the specific problem, you can tap the LiveScribe on the note and it will automatically begin playback at that point.

Using the recorder(s) does mean that the student needs one additional skill – we’ll save that for Part 3a

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 2 – Flowcharting

Flowcharts for math problems are one way to define a solution to a generic problem. In “traditional” use a flowchart is used to program a computer. But in general terms, if a machine can be taught to solve a problem over and over again, there is no reason a student cannot use the same steps to solve the problem. One added benefit for the “human” student is that the teacher can help them apply the steps to a series of increasingly complex problems that are similar but follow the same algorithm.

An example of a flow chart lesson plan for problem solving can be found here: Flowcharting: A Method of Problem Solving


Some programs which can help with flow charting

Microsoft –PowerPoint, Visio



A number of programs designed specifically for flowcharting can be found here



Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia

From my previous post, there were several suggested tools which might assist the dyslexic population.

A list of resource guides and printable Visual Organizers can be found here:


If you would like to create your own here’s some Graphic Organizer and Mind Map Software

Also remember that MS Office PowerPoint has drawing and organizing capability as well.

Math Sequencing and Dyslexia

Students with slower processing speeds or executive-function problems are often no different from their peers in math proficiency in first and second grade; but as they confront multistep computations in upper elementary school tests, their scores tumble because they lack the skills necessary to produce organized, efficient output.  These students aren’t losing their earlier skill base.  New tasks demand efficient processing in different domains.  The mathematics problems they now encounter need organizational skills involving planning and sequencing, as well as skills like handwriting, copying text, note taking, and other outputs requiring accuracy and efficiency [Emphasis mine]. These skills are often difficult for dyslexic students.  Students who struggle with processing multistep problems can improve their accuracy by employing several strategies that involve “walking” and “talking” problems through.(Woodin)

Possible solutions:

  • Visual Organizers
  • Flow charts
  • Digital Recorders
  • Math writing software

Woodin, Chris. “Math Processing Breakdowns * The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity.” N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.



Dragon Naturally Speaking New Products

In mid-August, Nuance (developers of Dragon Naturally Speaking) announced through a video demo, several new products. One was Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional for Individuals (down not have group management) for $300 USD with an upgrade price available for previous users. A second was Dragon Anywhere which allows users access to DNS on Android, i)S, Windows and Mac. Dragon Anywhere is a subscription model and will be available later this fall.

More features for the products can be found in the DNS FAQ PDF