Melissa Giddins

Exploring technology and literacy in education.

OneNote 2007

I presented today at a Head Teacher conference about OneNote use across all subjects. Realising that I had not yet blogged about this information, I thought I would start a series of blog posts on utilising OneNote in the classroom. Obviously, as an English teacher, my examples will be English based, however the information about OneNote is relevant to all subject areas.

The first thing to say is what we did that worked. We introduced OneNote as the students’ daily notebook, replacing their exercise books (though students still had exercise books available to them). We created templates for each subject area, so that students in any class were working in a similar environment to the other classes in that subject. This assisted students that moved between classes, but was more supportive to teachers that were just starting out with integrating technology.

Each faculty brainstormed what would be the appropriate sections and pages that would be on the template. We then created a sample template to show the students, and created a Word document with instructions and pictures for the students to set it up.  While we could have simply provided the OneNote template to the students, students learned more about how to use OneNote by setting it up for themselves and it was a really fast process. If we were the first subject to set it up, the process took longer, but if another faculty had already set up a OneNote template then students knew the process and only needed to know the names of the sections we required. Ten minutes and it’s done.

This has been incredibly successful and all our teachers now use the laptops with students in the classroom on a regular basis. Mission successful!

Some recommendations for creating templates for a subject:

  1. The teachers that will be teaching the subject to classes of students with laptops should get together and brainstorm different uses for OneNote in the classroom – BEFORE trying to create a template.
  2. Now that you have some ideas about how OneNote might be utilised in the classroom, it is easier to think about what sections and pages you will have set up. So step 2 is to plan the sections and pages.
  3. Create a model template and have it projected up in the classroom when students are creating their templates. Fast workers will create what they can see on the screen and then help the people around them.
  4. Encourage students to help each other. You can’t be everywhere at once and you want to set good precedents for students helping each other and learning from each other.  
  5. We made the students title the Notebook: “English Year 9” (or Year 10 etc) because next year we don’t want them to get confused with which English notebook is the relevant one. This worked very well going into Year 10 this year.

Our sections in the English template:

  •  There are four sections and two section groups on the main page:
    1. Homework – and we used the Simple To Do List template for the pages in this section
    2. Glossary
    3. Journal
    4. Wide Reading
  • The two section groups are English Topics and Spelling.
  • Within English Topics are sections labelled with the names of all our units of work. Within Spelling are only two sections: Personal Spelling and Weekly Spelling.

Not all classes use all the sections all the time, but overall this has been spectacularly effective.

Next blog post in this series will be hints and tips on OneNote 2007 use.


June 1, 2010 - Posted by | OneNote | , ,


  1. Thanks Mel. I am passing this on to English networks.

    Comment by Darcy Moore | June 1, 2010 | Reply

  2. Reading your post and those of other teachers about the value of OneNOte. This sounds like a very useful tools for learning.
    I am impressed by your whole school approach.
    Thanks for the information. Elaine

    Comment by Elaine Talbert | June 1, 2010 | Reply

  3. You might want to check out the OneNote and Education blog at

    Comment by John Guin | June 2, 2010 | Reply

  4. I see where can i get themes?

    Comment by Philippines | September 5, 2010 | Reply

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