My Top 10 Ways To Use Evernote

Last year, I saw a tweet from Zoe Branigan-Pipe (@zbpipe) talking about Evernote, and based on her recommendation, I signed up for an account. Since then, I’ve been using Evernote in a variety of different ways, and it’s definitely become one of my favourite tools to use.

During Elementary Chat (#elemchat) tonight on Twitter, I replied to a tweet by @NancyTeaches about Evernote, and shortly after that, @NancyTeaches, @BarbaraDay, and @mbfxc asked me to blog about how I use this tool. So this blog post is for all of them, and for all of you too, that might be interested in different ways to use this wonderful tool! In the style of @whatedsaid and her “top 10 list,” here’s the list of my Top 10 Ways to Use Evernote:

1. Use it for anecdotal records. I have a Notebook on each of my students, and in it, I can insert my observations throughout the day. There is a fantastic iPad App for Evernote, and you can even send what you write with the Livescribe Pen to Evernote too, so there’s all kinds of ways to update these records.

2. Use it for evaluation. When I give students marks, I insert these marks into my Evernote Notebooks. This is a great way for me to keep all of my marks in one place to easily access for report card purposes too!

3. Use it for sharing feedback with students. As part of our TLCP (Teaching Learning Critical Pathways) process, we have been encouraged to tell students what they are doing well and a way for them to improve. Many teachers write these “stars and wishes” right on the submitted work, but I often find that the students cannot always read what I wrote, which means that they are not using my suggestions either. In addition to writing the feedback on student work, I orally record this feedback in a separate Notebook — one for each child — that I then share with that child. The students can then go to the classroom computer and listen to this feedback. I can also share this Notebook with parents, and they can reinforce these concepts at home too.

4. Use it for sharing data with teachers or administrators. Earlier in the year, I had an in-school meeting on one of the students in my class. I was asked to bring my notes on this student to the meeting, but in order to give the Learning Resource Teacher and the administrators a chance to really look at the notes, I shared this student’s Notebook with them in advance of the meeting. This proved incredibly useful, as all of us then came to the meeting prepared to talk about the child and what we could do to support him.

5. Use it for student self-reflection. This year, I have started using my iPad to record some guided reading sessions. The AudioMemos app on the iPad allows you to upload recordings to Evernote. This has been great, as I’ve uploaded recordings of students reading and talking about reading, and I’ve let these students listen to the recordings in these Notebooks. These students are then reflecting on their decoding skills and their reading comprehension skills too. Hearing themselves read and hearing themselves talk about reading has really helped these students become better readers!

6. Use it to expand on ideas. While I will record many little notes in Evernote, I am not one that likes to write paragraphs on each of the students. I do have lots of thoughts that I like to share though, and I’m an auditory learner, so sharing these notes in a way that I can listen to them later, makes a difference for me. Evernote allows you to easily make an audio comment to accompany any written notes too. I tend to do just this. Then I have something written down to trigger my memory on what I was thinking, but then when time permits, I can listen to my audio thoughts too.

7. Use it for brainstorming. Last year, I created some Notebooks for my students to use. They used these Notebooks to brainstorm ideas about a text or brainstorm ideas on a particular subject, and then they took these ideas to later complete different writing activities. I could easily share these Notebooks through email with either the students or the parents, so that they could continue these writing activities at home as well. I never got to this point last year, but we’ll see what this year brings.

8. Use it to keep your work at your fingertips. This weekend I found out that you can upload Adobe files to Evernote. I have some files on my computer associated with the TLCP (Teaching Learning Critical Pathways) that I want to have access to on a regular basis. It’s not always convenient to pull up this information on my laptop, but it is on my iPad. With Evernote, I can upload all of these files into one Notebook, and then easily access any of them on my iPad with just the click of a button. Fantastic!

9. Use it to store and organize photographs for formative assessment. I think that photographs can show you a lot about what students know, and I often take photographs in the classroom to show student learning. These photographs can be uploaded to a Notebook, and I can then look at them, see what the students already know and what they still need to learn, and adjust my teaching accordingly. This has definitely helped make me a better teacher!

10. Maybe the best reason of all: use it to avoid the “paper problem.” I do not do well with paper. I don’t think that I’ve ever done well with paper. I am constantly losing paper notes, or adding them to a never-ending pile, from which I can never seem to find the paper again anyway. Evernote is fantastic though, as instead of having a bunch of paper anecdotal notes or marks, I can keep everything online, in one safe location, where I can find it later. This is the tool for me!

So why do you use Evernote? How are some different ways that you have used it too? I would love to hear what you have to say!


87 thoughts on “My Top 10 Ways To Use Evernote

  1. I came across this post on Twitter and was immediately keen to read it. I have just started implementing a modified version of the Daily 5/CAFE model in my Grade Two classroom. I have set up a folder to record my observations during individual reading conferences, but like you, I am not a big fan of having so much paper! I have been following with interest lots of conversations on Twitter from teachers using Daily 5 and Evernote to record their assessments. Your Top 10 list is a fantastic summary of how Evernote can be used and how it can benefit you and your students. I may just have to purchase an iPad to make “assessment on the go” even easier!

    Having everything you need in one safe, reliable spot would be so handy, particularly when you are setting goals for students. And at report writing time, you won’t have to take home folders and folders of your assessment!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I look forward to reading more of your blog posts in the future!


    • Thanks Kelly! I really appreciate your comment. This year, since I’ve been using Evernote so much, I found it much easier during report card writing time for exactly the reason that you shared. Glad you found the post so helpful, and I hope that you enjoy using Evernote too!


  2. I love Evernote too! However I am currently out of the classroom and haven’t used it in these ways. I mostly save pdfs and websites that I want to refer to at a later date. In my work I want to access websites on specific topics from any computer and Evernote helps me with this. I love the way I can clip a page along with the URL because it gives me a visual reminder of what was on the website that I found interesting.

    Thanks for sharing this. I will certainly share your post with teachers when I am out and about. I have added this page to my Evernote 🙂

  3. Thanks Cathy! I love the ways that you use Evernote too. Saving URL’s using Evernote is a great idea, and not one that I have used yet, but one that I definitely will try. I really appreciate you sharing how you’re using Evernote as well!


  4. Hello (grade1ad), this is Ron from Evernote. I just came across your post and wanted to drop in and say thanks for putting this together. We’re really excited to hear of all the interesting ways educators are putting Evernote to use in the classroom. We really appreciate you taking the time to put together such a thorough post full of great tips and sharing them with your fellow educators.

    Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback. I’d be happy to help.

    • Thanks Ron! I really appreciate your comment! I love Evernote, and definitely see it as a very valuable tool to use in the classroom. I know that many other educators feel the same way too.


  5. I love your #10 reason! That has been the biggest thing for me. I also don’t do well with paper. I’m impressed at how integrated Evernote is in your day to day teaching.

    I have a notebook for lesson plan ideas. I put web clips and many ideas that pop into my head throughout the day into this notebook. I find I am often the most inspired for lesson ideas when I am not at school.

    I also use it to organize my book lists & movie lists as well as some code snippets for web stuff. I write blog posts in it, I put photos of inspirational things I find during the day. It’s also my person archive (as opposed to Diigo as a public archive) for blog posts, webpages, etc. that are interesting to me.

    Basically it is my life inbox. Anything that I think I might want to think of again often goes into Evernote before going anywhere else.

    • Thanks for your comment, Justin! What wonderful suggestions of other ways to use Evernote. I love the thought of having a notebook for lesson plan ideas, as I often get inspired to try something new, and then I forget what I came up with by the time that the end of the day comes around. You just inspired me … thank you!!


  6. Aviva,
    You are brilliant. What an incredibly useful list of ways to use Evernote in the classroom. You have triggered my thinking. I signed up for Evernote over two years ago and used it for a while. Every now and then I will add something to it, but I clearly have never had the understanding of what a powerful tool it can be until I read your post. Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas.

    • Wow! Thanks Paula! Glad to hear that you found the post useful, and if you do try out some of the ideas, I’d love to hear how they go for you. I really do love Evernote!


  7. First of all, I absolutely love the visual aspect of your site! I will most certainly pass this site on and will visit on a regular basis! Secondly, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with Evernote! You are a GEM!

    • Thanks for the comment! Glad to hear that you like the website and liked the post too. I do hope that you give Evernote a try, and I’d love to hear what you think of it!


  8. What a great post! I downloaded Evernote to my Iphone, but haven’t really utilized it like I should. I love the idea of having a notebook for each child and using audio comments. So smart and easy!

    • Thanks for the comment, Mary! So glad that you liked the post. I really hope that you give Evernote a try, and I’d love to hear how you use it too.


  9. Thanks for a great post on ways to use Evernote in the classroom!

    I’ve just started using Evernote for my research project, to store and collect together all my notes, readings and random thoughts via my desktop and from my iPhone.

    I notice you mentioned using it with LiveScribe and was wondering what you thought about using that with Evernote? I had a different digital pen which has ceased working and am looking for alternatives for making handwritten notes and converting to typed text. I don’t think I’d use the audio aspects of the LiveScribe so much, but am open to be being convinced I would 🙂 I also notice you have an iPad and I was thinking that I would more likely use one of those for my mobile notetaking and have been thinking of getting an iPad2 when they go on sale here this week. I’d appreciate your thoughts about the ease of notetaking via LiveScribe vs iPad and using each with Evernote?

    • Thanks for your comment, Lesley! Using Evernote for a research project is a great idea! It would the perfect way to store everything all in one spot.

      I do love using the Livescribe Pen with Evernote. It’s really simple to send files to Evernote, and even if you are not using the pen to record, being able to sync the pen to the computer and then share the documents easily with others has a big advantage! While I can see your point on the iPad, here’s a post that I did for the Live With Livescribe Blog that may help show you why sometimes the Livescribe Pen is a better option: I do love having both tools (the Livescribe Pen and the iPad), and while they have some overlapping uses, I find that I use both for different reasons. The great thing is that they can both be used with Evernote easily too!

      Hope this helps!

  10. Thanks so much Aviva for your immediate, detailed and useful response – I’m overwhelmed with gratitude! I think you’ve made a very compelling case for me to buy both a LiveScribe pen AND an iPad! 🙂
    Cheers, Lesley

  11. Happy to help, Lesley! Good luck with your decision on what to buy, and I hope that you share what you do end up doing. There’s definitely lots of value in having both!:)


  12. Well done, Aviva! What a great summary. I too use Evernote to keep track of my student’s progress in reading and other areas. I love that when my student support teacher is working with one of my students, she can record her observations in Evernote as well, and then all of the information on my students is in one place, and we don’t have to pass a notebook back and forth.

    • Thanks for the comment, Kathy! What a great idea to have you and your student support teacher both add tracking notes to the Evernote notebooks. I wonder about doing something similar with student teachers too. Now you have me thinking … thank you!


  13. Thanks for writing this. It is a really excellent post. I have to start using Evernote for more than writing to do or grocery lists. Obviously I have barely tapped it’s possibilities. I am constantly looking for things that I had just a minute ago, and this sounds like it would really help with that. I like the idea of the kids being able to listen to your feedback.

  14. Aviva,
    I love your summary. I will definitely have my students refer to it.
    I find that lately I use Evernote instead of printing – probably why I like your #10 reason. I simply “print” to Evernote…then I can access what I need on my ipad or iphone (notes for meetings, maps, report card for meeting, student notes). I also love using the Livescribe application. Have you tried it? Thanks for the shoutout in your post as well! That was so nice of you.
    I hope you’ve had a great March Break.

    • Thanks for the comment, Zoe, and for inspiring me to use Evernote in the first place! I love the idea of “printing to Evernote” It’s great to have all our notes at our fingertips!


  15. Awesome ideas – thanks for sharing.
    I love to use Evernote while travelling. I record ideas using Evernote on my iPhone and I capture images I want to use in my blogging, teaching and presentations. Then, they are available on my laptop when I sit down to “do the work”.

    I used to write things down on notepaper but I lost it all the time. It’s so much easier just to talk into my iphone and all of the ideas are organized into one place for future reference!

  16. Great post, Aviva! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise in this area! I am just getting started using Evernote and this helps to guide me in a variety of ways it is useful in the classroom!! Another great post… thank you!!
    Hope you’re doing well.
    Lesley (@lesleyacameron)

    • Thanks Lesley! I’m so glad that you found this post helpful. I hope that you enjoy Evernote as you continue to use it more!

      Thanks again for the comment!

  17. Thanks Aviva.

    I now have a LiveScribe Echo, have done all the downloading and connections and am about to sit down to write my first notes then put them into Evernote.

    Have been looking at your posts and others on the Live Learning with Livescribe blog – – and am now thinking up ways I can use this with my adult ESL learners. Will be sure to share with you if I come up with anything interesting.

    Am still going to get the iPad2 next week – a teacher can never have too many toys tools 🙂

    Regards, Lesley

    • Wow Lesley! You sure got that Echo Pen fast. I’d love to hear how you use it with your adult learners. I hope that you enjoy the iPad 2 if you get one too. Sometimes different tools just open up more possibilities.

      And yes, this post definitely does show the power of Twitter and a PLN! It continues to amaze me what an impact my Twitter PLN has on me.

      Thanks for all of the comments!

  18. P.S. Also wanted to mention how this is such a terrific example of the power of a PLN. I found out about your post via Twitter this morning and have noticed you first heard about Evernote through Twitter and decided to write this post through PLN-pressure 🙂
    Great stuff!

  19. Hi Aviva
    Thanks for your post. I’ve been using Evernote as well as a way of recording my thoughts, lesson plans, interesting blogs, meeting minutes etc but have only recently began to investigate it use as a communication tool with pupils and parents. I teach secondary / high school and want to reduce the amount of paperwork my classes produce. I tried GoogleDocs this year but it is cumbersome for pupils to get files to me and doesn’t allow offline browsing. I think Evernote would solve these issues and intend to post blogs on this topic in the future. However in the meantime I ll definitely be using some of your suggestions to record more formative evidence about the pupils I teach- thank you!

    • Thanks for the comment, Ian! I love how you suggested using Evernote: for file sharing between your students and with you. What a great idea! I could definitely see this working, especially in high school when everyone’s old enough to have an Evernote account too. If you do give this a try, I’d love to hear how it goes!


  20. Wow Aviva! I missed #elemchat this morning (its on very early on a Sunday morning where I live in Australia!) but just saw your tweet about this post. How wonderful is your PLN?! I will take with me ideas from not only your blog post, but also from everyones comments. I only recently discovered Evernote and what I particularly love about it is the ability to sync so easily between my home computer, school computer and iPhone. I really like your idea of using it for anecdotal records and as Kelly said in the 1st comment, report writing time will be much less stressful. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment, Jessica! I love the ease in syncing too, but I must say that by having everything in one spot, report card writing is so much easier … and I can be so specific in my report cards too. It’s great!

      I’m so fortunate to have such an amazing and supportive PLN! I love everything that they shared here. I think we could almost have another Top 10 List based on just the comments alone.:)

      Thanks again!

  21. Hi Aviva,

    One of the best things about a great blog post are the comments that come after it, which in this case enhance your already terrific list! In particular you describe Evernote as an important tool for recording assessment and student self-reflections, something that I will share with our teacher education program. Imagine the possibilities using the iPad 2’s camera and video recorder!

    I have finally devoted time to using Evernote more fully and realize what an indispensable tool it is. I use Evernote to manage notes for presentations and workshops and recently completed a major project by assembling notes from phone conversations with vendors and people who use the product. The notebooks include links, PDF documents, and web clippings to supplement summary of the conversations. From that information I was able to write a comprehensive report.

    I do wish that Evernote would provide another level of organization that allows notebooks to be assembled together into one unit (e.g. student notebooks into a class), although tagging is a workaround.

    Again, thank you for your contribution!


    • Thanks for your comment and kind words, Joe! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

      I love how you used Evernote for research. What a great way to keep everything together. I’ve also used tags to join some Notebooks together, but I agree with you that having an updated filing/folder system would be helpful!

      The Evernote app with the iPad 2 camera should definitely make for an amazing combination! I hope that others share what they do with this!

      Thanks again!

  22. What I like most about your work is how you are exploring technology to create an authentic learning environment for your students; automate and streamline the tedious manual assessment process in elementary school. You are not afraid to push the envelope, risk failure, or censure, which leads to innovation. You seek resources in your PLN to aspire and inspire. Evernote is a key example of how blending technologies can achieve superior results in education. It will have a tremendous impact on teaching and learning. I will be sharing this with my superintendent. As always, thank you for blogging, tweeting, and sharing.

    • Wow! Thanks so much for the kind words, Pamela! I’m honored that you’re going to share this post with your superintendents. I’d love to know what they think of it too.

      Thanks again for your comment!

  23. I whole heartedly agree with your observations around evernote, but you may be interested in another piece of digital paper j2e,that is available now for you and/or your students to work together in real time. It has the ability to meet all of the above, to talk as you type, embed webpages and generally scaffold learning in an intuitive and quiet dynamic way .
    html5 version will be launched later this year ready for android and iosx platforms.
    Love to hear what you think. @web2what (twitter)

  24. I was part of the #elemchat yesterday, and while I’ve heard about Evernote I really didn’t know what it was all about. Once I read your post and the first comment I was very excited because my friend and I were just talking about how we would like to track our students electronically for our Daily 5 / CAFE times. Funny how these things just happen to pop up all at the same time. Anyway, after reading your post I’ve gotten started on Evernote this morning, and I can’t wait to use it to get rid of some more paper from my classroom!

    Thanks again to you and to everybody for their great comments that gave me more insight into how to use this software!

  25. Ok I’ll give Evernote another try. I just don’t like the way it organizes info. I really like Paper Desk. But if photos can go in Evernote then I’ll take another look. Thanks for the nudge.

  26. Thanks for the comment, Angie! I’ve never tried Paper Desk before. I’ll have to have a look at it. Organization is definitely the biggest flaw in Evernote. I find that limiting the number of Notebooks I have, and using tags to group them, helps a lot. I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts on Evernote if you start using it again.


  27. Thanks for this post, Aviva. I just started using Evernote for my own personal use, but this is going to help me so much in the classroom! Just like you I hate paper…keeping notes on students never works well for me because I’m always loosing things! What a great way to track progress and share things with students and parents! Thank you!

    • Thanks for the comment, Christine! I really love the fact that you can store everything in one place and avoid the paper headache too. Evernote helps me so much as a teacher! I hope that you enjoy using it in the classroom too!


  28. Aviva,
    I saw Evernote used at a Schools of the Future meeting but only as a means to store video and teacher comments. I thought “this is nice” but had no real reason to pursue it as far as something my teachers would need or want to use. With this post you have provided me with all the reasons and then some.
    Once again, I am so happy you are part of my PLN and continue to provide such important information so we can help our kids learn and enjoy it.

    • Wow! Thanks for such a nice comment, JoAnn! I’m so happy to have you as part of my PLN too!

      It really took some time playing with Evernote to see the tremendous value of it, but now I can’t imagine not using it. This tool really helps me track my assessment and evaluation of students and provide them with meaningful feedback too. I hope that some of your teachers try it out as well, and I hope that they enjoy it too.


    • Maria, thank you so much for sharing that link! I absolutely LOVE how you use Evernote! This is fantastic too, as there’s so many different ways that the students can record and share their thinking through Evernote, and as you mentioned, it’s accessible on so many different devices too. I’ll definitely have to give this a try!


  29. Thanks Aviva, I have started using to post my student’s grades directly to them via e-mail but will take a closer look at Evernote. I think it will help get me better organise especially during the planning stage.

    • What do you mean by linking students to it? I have student notebooks, but those are all part of my account. I’m not sure if you can do the other. Sorry that I can’t be of more help!


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  31. Nice to see Evernote is helping you organize your teaching life. I’ve thought of sharing certain notebooks with my students so that they can have their own ePortfolio of their work.

    • Thanks for your comment! Sharing some notebooks with students sounds like a great idea! I’d be interested in knowing if you do try this, and how it works.


  32. Thanks for sharing your ideas about ways to use Evernote. Once again, you’ve given me plenty of ideas to ponder. You’re a wealth of knowldege!

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  34. Thanks for sharing how you use Evernote. I’ve signed up for an account but not got around to using it yet. You’ve inspired me to give it a go. You’ve also tempted me to bite the bullet and buy an ipad :-0

  35. Excellent ideas! I have just started using Evernote for personal/work projects, so that I can gain some familiarity with it and assist system teachers with its integration. I will definitely encourage them to give it a try and direct them to your helpful suggestions.

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  37. Hi Aviva, I see I posted awhile back, and have since used Evernote, both professsionally and personally. I am now using it to organize a trip to San Francisco. Do you think I should introduce Evernote to the teachers and pre-service teachers in my Computers in the Classroom course? I have teachers in all subject areas, K-12. Class starts next week. Will have the elementary teachers link to some of the schools using KidBlog. In a short course (6 weeks) with so much to cover, do you think all students should try Evernote, or just a few? Thanks again for all of your wonderful assistance. You’re a dynamic teacher and professional assistant. Judy

    • Thanks for your comment, Judy! I love Evernote, but I know that there are many teachers out there that prefer other tools instead. It’s definitely worth trying though. In a 6 week course, your time is going to be limited, but if time allows, it may be worth at least showing Evernote. Then let the teachers decide if they want to individually explore it more. Teachers can probably figure out a number of different ways to use it just by playing around with it too. They just need to know that it’s out there and available for use.

      Hope this helps!

  38. I’m using evernote to keep track and record what we are doing in my guided reading groups. I have also been taking it to staff meeting to record notes from the meeting. I was on math adoption and could record things from every meeting and have in the same place and access from every computer. I love evernote to save websites I want to go back and visit later. I have only been using it for about 3 months and don’t know how I lived without it. I work on 3 different computers and it has helped me have easy access to all my information. I am also using Dropbox and love it too.

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  42. I Use Evernote to take a pic of my work schedule do I always have it and I won’t lose it. if there is a change I write it inside of the note. I use it for loads more things I am a premium have been using it for a yr

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