While I was in Park City this summer at PCMI (Park City Mathematics Institute) we were about to leave for dinner when one of the teachers asked Gail Burrill (one of the organizers of the Secondary School Teachers Program) an interesting question. Next thing we know this teacher (I’m not using a name because I promised to keep the photo anonymous!) was taking notes on his hand:

At the time it seemed fun because I thought about how his students might react to taking notes this way. He said he often “freaks them out” by writing on desks. It made me think about how he values taking notes and writing — so much so that he’ll break some “rules” to make sure he writes.

That started me thinking about the note-taking idea itself. He’s going to wash his hand, right? What happens to the notes then? Does he “copy” them to a piece of paper or his computer or somewhere else a bit more permanent? Does he need to do that or does that act of taking notes as Gail was talking help him process the points of that conversation and he can wash his hand without worrying about saving the notes?

Maybe before washing his hand (or the desk) he re-reads the notes, reflects, and writes a new set of notes somewhere?

What would you do? … or … what “do” you do with your notes?