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First steps with OneNote

In all my years of teaching I have always written to-do lists to help me keep organised and have had a lovely black academic diary that I have refilled each year.  However, over time I have relied increasingly on my outlook calendar for important dates and deadlines.  Last April, knowing that as a school we would be implementing Office 365 tools in the classroom in the near future, I saw that One Note would be a good place for me to start learning.  I could cut my teeth on my own Notebook and be ready to introduce Class Notebook in September.

I started using my notebook as a personal organiser in late May and by the end of June I had made my decision to give up my old ways of organising my busy working life.  As time has gone on I have become more adept at using the tool and have organised my Notebook accordingly.

Firstly some OneNote Notebook clarification:

  1. A Notebook has sections
  2. Within sections there are pages
  3. Pages can have sub-pages.
In plain language, imagine that a Notebook is like a folder.   The folder (Notebook) can have an infinite number of large file dividers.  These large file dividers are Sections.  Inside the large file dividers (Sections) there is file paper (Pages) and each of these sheets of paper can be named and have sub-headings (sub-pages).

Here are some pointers that you might find useful.

  1. Make use of the sections in Notebook - nothing is written in stone, so if you do not like the name of the section, or if the section becomes obsolete, you can change or delete the section.
  2. Within each section pages can be moved around as required (and/or deleted, of course).  
  3. You can create templates personal to you so that each time you create a new page it can be set up just as you need it (as in the image above - the template provides the notebook image behind, with three lists that I need each week).
  4. It is possible to make a sub-page which I have put to good use in my Class Notebook. The main page has the questions and the sub-page has the answers (perfect for extra work that can be self-marked).
  5. Sections can be Archived which is great for storing away last year’s diary and other information that is useful to keep but that does not need to be referred to frequently.
  6. Group sections allow you to create a number of sections accessed by clicking on one tab only.  This is like having a Notebook within a Notebook.
My first experience using a OneNote Notebook has prepared me well for the next step of setting up a Class Notebook.  More on that in due course.

How do you use your Notebook?  Please let me know in the comments box below.


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