Your teacher will likely have specific guidelines about creating annotations for your class work. Follow these first and foremost — you don’t want to get us in trouble, do you?

Here, though, are 5 best practices we believe can make your annotations better — more visually appealing and informative — from our perspective as veterans of annotation:

1. Select text carefully for annotation

This means a couple different things.

First, you’ll want to focus in on the most intriguing or ambiguous  passages of a text for analysis, though as you will see from user modelstudent’s annotations below on the opening of Hamlet, even some of the most mundane lines can be full of deeper meaning. If the passage is difficult to comprehend at first read, then that’s a good sign that an annotation could tell us something interesting.

Note: if a classmate has already selected the passage you want to write about, you can either respond by opening their annotation and clicking “reply,” or annotate it yourself by re-selecting the same text. You can also select text within or that includes another highlight or annotation.

Second, select a discrete, but complete piece of text for your analysis.