Column Notes:
The column notes format lends itself to many variations. It may be that students would use it as a note-taking guide for their textbook reading; if so, then main ideas or headings would be listed in the left column, and details or explanations for each would be written in the right column. Alternatively, you might have students reading for cause and effect; if so, then causes can be listed in the left column and the effects in the right column. Students might list key vocabulary in the left column and definitions, examples, or sentences in the right. It may be as simple as reworking your typical question worksheets so that questions are on the left and answers are put on the right.


Example of two column notes. Click for PDF version of more examples.
Example of two column notes. Click for PDF version of more examples.

Example: As students read they will write down key terms and topics from the reading on the left hand column of the notes. In the right hand column they will give details about the main terms or topics. For example, as students read about the Civil War they would put significant events such as the Battles of Gettysburgh, Vicksburgh, Antietam etc. in the left hand column and then details surrounding the battle in the right such as the date, where it took place, deciding factors, etc in the right hand column.

http://www.readingquest.org/strat/column.html
http://www.asdk12.org/MiddleLink/HighFive/TwoColumn/