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Stop and Jot

This processing activity gives students the opportunity to respond to questions in writing.  Asking students to think and write about what they are learning promotes retention and comprehension.  These quick checks for understanding help students make sense of what they are learning before moving on in the lesson.

How to use

1. Stop

Ask students to draw a rectangle on the page where they are taking notes for the day. This will serve as their “stop box.”

2. Jot

At least once during a lesson, stop and ask an important question for students to respond to in their “stop box.”

3. Share

Reconvene and ask volunteers share one or two responses with the whole class, or model your own response. These boxes also help students later by serving as a study tool,  highlighting important information about the topic.

When to use

Use Stop and Jot at any point in the lesson to provide processing time and note-taking assistance for students:

  • Before introducing new material to activate prior knowledge
  • Before a new lesson to help assess what students already know
  • Before a lesson to assist with planning instruction
  • During the middle of a lesson to provide opportunity for students to make sense of the material
  • During a lesson as a check for understanding
  • During a lesson to provide time for students to create a written summary statement of auditory material
  • After the lesson to provide closure, check understanding, and clarify any misunderstandings
  • After a lesson to clarify key ideas or critical pieces of information
  • After the lesson to allow students to make connections to previoiusly learned material
  • After a lesson to allow students to find personal relevance



Similar to Think-Pair-Share, a student jots down his or her own thoughts, pairs with a partner to exchange ideas, and then partners share their ideas with the rest of the class.

Quick Jot

Students are given between 60 to 90 seconds to respond to a given question or statement posed by the teacher.

Stop and Fill

If it is important that key points or important words are noted as students listen to auditory materials or read written material as they work independently, a Stop and Jot sheet with blanks to be filled in will be the best way to capture key information.  

Group Jot

After completing the original Stop and Jot activity, ask students to compare their jots with a small group of students.  Students discuss their Jots and add information to their notes based on this discussion.  Students may also be asked to present a summary of their thoughts to the class.

Jot Survey

Instead of drawing a Stop Box on their note taking paper, students write their Jots on sticky notes.  Students then take their sticky note Jots and post them on posters around the room.  Posters may be made for individual questions or topics based on the content being covered.  The teacher then sends the students around the room in small groups to survey the jots written by their classmates making comments or additions to their notes.  

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