Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 11

7/31/2015

Richards

MakingItStick:MemorableStrategiestoEnhanceLearning
By:ReginaG.Richards(2008)

Inthisarticle:
Thememoryprocess
TheRIPToolbox
Repetition
Imagery
Patterns
MotorImages
Demystification
InSummary
Thinkabouthowyouremembersomething:
Whenyouwanttorememberaphonenumber,doyourepeatittoyourselfseveraltimesuntilyou
getthewholenumberdialed?
Whenyougettothegrocerystoryandwanttorememberfouritems,doyouholdupfourfingersto
cueyourselftoremember?
Whensomeoneasksyouaboutaweddingyouwenttoafewyearsago,howdoyoucallupthe
memory?Somepeoplemayfirstthinkofthefood.Othersmayrecallthebride'sdress.Stillothers
mayrecallthedcor.Onceyouhaveahookintothememory,eachrecallseemstotrigger
additionalaspectsoftheevent.
Whatdoyoudotorememberanimportantphonecallyoumustmakeasyou'redrivinghome?You
knowthatwhenyouenterthehousethedogwillbebarkingandyourchildrenwilleachhave
somethingurgenttotellyou.Youdon'thaveanypapertowriteanote.Somepeoplemaysinga
littlesongorchant:"callsoandso,callsoandso."Othersmayvisualizeanassociationsothat
whentheywalkintothedentoputdowntheirpackage,thatactionwilltriggeraremindertomake
thecall.
Usingstrategiesintrinsicallymeanslowingdownwhenyoudosomething.It'saprocessof
decelerationsoyoucanexercisequalitycontrol.
MelLevineataworkshoppresentation,EnablingWithoutLabeling.SponsoredbyInlandEmpire
BranchoftheInternationalDyslexiaAssociation,Ontario,CA,inMay2000
Weallusestrategiesthroughoutourdaytorememberthevarietyoffactsandideasweneedtoretain.
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

1/11

7/31/2015

Richards

Strategyuseformsacriticalpartofourlearningexperience.Strategieshelpusorganizeinformationinto
patternsandencouragepurposefullearning.Ourbrainsareselective.Brainstendtoremember
informationthatformsamemorablepattern.
Itisvaluableforus,asteachers,therapists,andparents,tohaveabasicunderstandingofhowwe
rememberinformationsowebetterappreciatetheneedforstrategies.Asweunderstandthepurpose,we
becomebetterequippedtohelpourstudentsunderstandandusestrategies.
Backtotop

Thememoryprocess
Memoryisahighlycomplexprocessinvolvingmultiplecomponentsworkingsimultaneously.Our
descriptionofisolatedcomponentsisonlyarepresentationbecauseinrealityourbrainsprocess
informationinanintegratedfashion.
Everythingbeginsassensoryinputfromourenvironment.Usingoursensorysystems,wesee,taste,hear,
orfeelasensationorstimuli.Wehaveamechanismtofilteroutanddiscardirrelevantorunnecessary
data,suchasthefeelofthecarpetaswewalkorthesoundoftheairconditioner.Thissamefiltering
mechanismorganizesrelevantdataintomeaningfulpatterns.Infigure1,thefunnelandthefilter
representtheseprocesses:sensoryinputandsensorymemory.

Figure1Memoryprocessschema
Thediagraminfigure1isarepresentationofthememorysystem:InformationmovesfromSensoryInput
throughSensoryMemoryandShortTermMemoryandeventuallyintoLongTermMemory(Richards,
2003,p.17).
Information"grabbed,"ormademeaningful,movesontoshorttermmemory.Ourbrainsare
programmedtopayattentiontotheunusualsomethingdifferent.Incorporatingnoveltysuchashumor,
movement,ormusic,intostrategieshelpstheinformationattractourattention.
Theuseofstrategiesplaysaverycriticalroleinstructuringinputtohelpitmoveintolongtermmemoryin
ameaningfulandmemorableformat.Toestablishamoredurablememory,weneedtopreventincoming
informationfrombeing"dumped."Weaccomplishthisbyassociatingitmeaningfullywithknowledgethat
alreadyexists.
Iftheinformationisimportantandisrehearsed,itmovestoanotherpartofthebraintobecodedand
theniseventuallystoredinlongtermmemory.Infigure1,afilecabinetrepresentslongtermmemory.
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

2/11

7/31/2015

Richards

Theentirememoryisnotfiledintactinalocation,rather,thespecificcomponentsoftheexperienceare
eachstoredasindividualfiles.
Inthinkingabouthowmemoryworks,itiscriticaltorealizethateachindividualhasadifferentwayof
processingandremembering.Thereismorethanonewaytostoreagivenmemory,justasthereare
oftenmultipleroutestodrivetoadestination.Onepersonmaychoosetogotothegrocerystorebyroute
AwhereasanotherpersonmaypreferrouteB.Eitherisappropriate.Similarlywithmemory:Oneperson
mayprefertorememberalistbysingingitwhereasanotherpersonmayprefertovisualizean
association.Thereisnoonecorrectway.
Thisarticlepresentsavarietyofstrategysuggestions.Weneedtopayattentiontoourstudent'sreactions
tothestrategiesandhelpeachchildselectandusestrategiesthatarecomfortableandmostclosely
matchhisorherpreferredlearningstyle.
Backtotop

TheRIPtoolboxformemory
Thistoolboxcontainsthethreekeystrategiestohelpmemory:repetition,imagery,andpatterns
(RIP).Manystudentsbelievethatjustreadingsomethingisenough.Often,thatisnotsufficient.We
remembersomethingbestwhenitisorganizedandrehearsed.
Imagineifweasteachers,therapists,andparentsreinforcedstudentsfortheiruseofconcretestrategies
inorganizingtheirinformation.Pediatrician,Dr.MelLevinesuggests:Ithoughtthatbeforeatest,kids
oughttobeaskedtohandinamemoryplan.Thesamewayapilotwouldhandinaflightplan.Inother
words,howareyougoingtogoaboutgettingstuffintoandoutofyourmemory?Andstudentsoughttobe
gradedontheplanasmuchastheyareontheirtest(LevineandMeltzer,1998).
Thefollowingtwostrategiesaregeneralreminderstoencouragestudentstouseaprocesswhenworking
torememberinformation.Eachstrategyisrepresentedbyawordorphrasewhereineachletter
representsoneofthesteps.
TheRIPToolboxforMemory

RSOWV

TRAP

Relax&Concentrate
Peoplewhoaretenseandunderstressare
pronetomemorylapses

Translate
Translatetheinformationorideasintoyour
ownwords

Slowdown
Rushingorbeingimpulsivereducesattentionto
theinformationortask

Repeat
Rehearsetheinformationimmediatelyand
relatethenewtotheoldideas

Organize
Organizetheinformationororganizelocations
keepimportantitemsinadesignatedplace

Apicture
Apictureisworth1000wordsvisualizethe
information

Writedownorrepeat
Asmallnotebook,calendar,taperecorderor
PDAcanbeveryuseful

Practice
Themoreinformationispracticed,thebetter
willbetherecall

Visualize
Associateanimagewiththeinformationto
recall

Selectthestrategyyoufeelisappropriateforyourstudents.Teacheachstep,oneatatime.Besurethey
understandeachstepanditsmeaningbeforemovingontothenext.Thenshowthestepsinsequenceand
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

3/11

7/31/2015

Richards

explainhowtousethemnemonicorkeywordtohelprecallthesteps.
Animportantcriteriontokeepinmindis,"don'tpackandstack."Thismeanstoprogressslowlyandnot
stacktoomanynewthingsontopofeachother.Provideeachstudentwithtimetoprocessand
consolidateonethingbeforemovingon.
Severalyearsago,aFarSidecartoonwaspublishedshowingaclassroomsituation.Thestudentraisedhis
handandaskedtobeexcusedbecausehis"brainwasfull."Thishighlightsanimportantcautionto
rememberinusingstrategies:goslowly.Toomanystrategiesatoncemayconfusethestudentrather
thanhelp.
Backtotop

Repetition:TheRinRIP

Fig.2Noveltyandmultisensorylearning
Infigure2,achildisjumpingonasmalltrampoline,reviewingassociations.Heisalsotossingtheball
witheachitem.
Repetitionandrehearsalofinformationenhanceaprocesscalledconsolidation,theprocessbywhich
memoriesaremovedfromtemporarystorageinthehippocampus(asmallstructurewithinthebrain)to
morepermanentstorageinthecortex(theouterlayerofthebrain)(Richards,2003,p.24).
Multiplerepetitionsoftheinformationprovidesrehearsal,butdoingsomayborestudents.Whenbored,
thebraincangointoapatternsimilartothe"screensaver"modeonyourcomputermonitor.Thestudent
maynotpayattentiontowhatheisrepeating.Therefore,usingstrategieswithhumor,movement,songs,
andotherformsofnoveltyarecriticalinenhancingthevalueoftherepetition.
Asanexample,considerthetaskoflearningfivestatecapitals.Followingareseveraldifferentactivitiesto
useinmemorizingtheassociations.(Richards,2003,p.191).
Practicesayingthecapitalandthestatetogether,asin"Sacramento,CaliforniaColumbus,Ohio"
etc.Thishelpscreatetheassociationbetweenthetwowords.
Developsillymnemonicstohelprememberwhichcapitalgoeswiththestate.ForOhio,sketcha
pictureofapersonsaying,"oh,hi,ohColumbus."Thisassociatestheword"Columbus"withthe
word"Ohio."
Practicematchingflashcardsofcapitalstostatenames,andstatestocapitals.
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

4/11

7/31/2015

Richards

Performamotoractivitysuchasjumpingonasmalltrampolineorplayingcatchwhilesayingthe
cityinresponsetohearingthestate,orviceversa(seefigure2).
Createaraporjinglethatrepeatseachstateanditscapital.
Backtotop

Imagery:TheIinRIP
Therearemanykindsofimagery,andallformsarevaluabletothememoryprocess.Whenthinkingabout
imagery,mostpeoplethinkofthevisualimage.However,imagescanalsobeamotorimage,sometimes
called"musclememory,"oranauditoryimage.

Visualimages
Avisualpicturecancueastrategyorrepresentaconcept.Forexample,supposeyourstudentneedsto
rememberthatourFirstAmendmentrightsarefreespeech,religion,thepress,andtherightofassembly.
SinceitistheFirstAmendmentandonerhymeswithsun,useasunasavisualcue.Drawahappysun
withlegsandarms,singing.PlacethewordRAPSinatalkbubble,asshowninfigure3.RAPSisa
mnemonictorememberthefreedomsofReligion,Assembly,Press,andSpeech.(Richards,2003,p.
198).

Fig.3Amnemonicforthe4freedomsgrantedbytheFirstAmendment
Becausebrainsrememberinformationthatformsamemorablepattern,visualorganizersareextremely
useful.Therearemanydifferenttypesofvisualorganizers.Somearedescriptive:themainideaofa
chaptersectionisplacedinthecenter.Linesextend,witheachrepresentingamajorconcept.The
representationsmayusepictures,icons,orkeywords.Theexampleorganizerbelowwasdevelopedin
preplanningaparagraphondogs(Richards,2001,p.34).

http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

5/11

7/31/2015

Richards

Fig.4Visualorganizertoidentifysomecharacteristicsof"dog"
Therearemanyusesforvisualorganizers.Theycanemphasizecauseandeffect,thesequenceofan
eventorepisode,orcreateasummaryofwhatwasread.Visualorganizersarealsousefulinplanningfor
aparagraphorreportandinstudyingforatest.
Categorizationisacriticalskillforstudentsbecauseitformsthebasisforcriticalthinkingandinferential
comprehensionwhenreading.AVenndiagramisavaluableorganizerthatvisuallyemphasizes
comparisonsandcontrasts.AVenndiagramcomparingcharacteristicsofmammalsandreptileswas
presentedinthearticleTheWritingRoad.
OtherusesforVenndiagramsincludecomparingtwocharactersinastoryortwodifferenteventsin
history.Twooverlappingcirclesaredrawnandcharacteristicsofoneitemoreventarelistedintheleft
sideofthecircleiftheydifferfromtheotheritem.Thecharacteristicsoftheseconditemarelistedinthe
rightsideofthecircleiftheydifferfromthefirstitem.Characteristicsthatarecommontobothitemsare
placedinthemiddle.FigurefiveshowsanexampleofaVenndiagramthatcomparingandcontrasting
volcanoestorevolutions.Thisinformationwasassembledbyhavingstudentsbrainstormwhattheyknew
abouteachitem.
Initially,itmayappearthattheconceptsofavolcanoandarevolutionaredifferent.Actually,thereare
manysimilarities.Supposeyourstudenthasstudiedvolcanoesandunderstandsthecharacteristics.She
maythencomparethisknowledgetocharacteristicsofarevolution.Doingsoformsapatterncomparing
newideastoideasalreadylearned.Thus,yourstudentelaboratesherunderstandingofeachconceptas
sheconnectsknowledgeaboutvolcanoestoanothereruption,arevolution(Richards,2003,p.50).

Fig.5Venndiagramofvolcanoesandrevolutions
Backtotop

Motorimages
Neuronsthatfiretogether,wiretogether.
Tounderstandamotorimage,thinkaboutstrugglingtorememberaphonenumber.Youmaymoveyour
fingersinthepatternofthephonenumberasifdialingitandfindthatthishelpsyourecallthenumber.
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

6/11

7/31/2015

Richards

Repetitionandpracticetriggerneurons(braincells).Whenasetofneuronsfiretogether,theydevelopa
"habit"offiringtogetheragain.Habitsaswellasacademiclearningoccurthisway.Usemultisensory
strategiessoyourchildsimultaneouslysees,hears,andtouchesormoveswiththeinformation.
Didyourideabicyclewhenyounger?Didyoulearntorideyourbicyclebyreadingabookaboutit?No,
youneededtoactuallypracticeriding.Withenoughrepetition,youretainedamotorimageofthe
procedure.Wouldyoubeabletonowgetonabicycleandridewithrelativeease?Mostpeoplewillanswer
yestothisquestion.Whyisthat?Ourmusclesrememberinformationorproceduresthatwerepracticed
manytimes.Musclememoryisapowerfullearningtool!
Asanexample,studentsmayusemotorimagesofthedirectionofthelettersbanddbyusingahand
patternor"Fonziefists"(namedafterthecharacterFonziein"HappyDays").Haveyourchildholdhis
handsfacinghisbodyandmakeafistwitheachthumbstickingstraightup(figure6).Thelefthandis
similartoabandtherighthandissimilartod.Yourchildcanrecallthesequencebysayingthealphabet
"a,b,c,d"(Richards,2001,p.86).

Fig.6Handsformingtheshapeofthelettersbanddamotorimage
Practicingletterformorspellingwordsisenhancedbyusingairwriting,anothertechniquetocreatea
motorimageforthestudent(Richards,1999,p.163).Airwriting(figure7)involveswritingthelettersin
theair(creatingamotorimage)whilealsoimaginingseeingtheletters(creatingavisualimage).The
studentshouldsimultaneouslysaytheletterasshewritesitintheair(creatinganauditoryimage).

Fig.7Studentwritingletteroinairwhilevisualizingtheshapeoftheletterand
sayingthenameoftheletter*
Othermotorimageexamplesforspellingwordsarealsoeasytoincorporateintoahomeworksession:fist
tappingandarmtapping.Infisting,thestudenttapseachsyllableofthewordtobespelledusingtheside
ofherfists.Shethenspellsthewordsyllablebysyllable,thistimetappingtheirfisttoeachsoundwithin
thesyllableasshespellsit.Inarmtapping,thestudentfollowsthesameprocedureoffirstidentifying
eachsyllableandthenidentifyingeverysoundwithineachsyllable.Thistimethestudentusestwofingers
ofonehandtotapontheforearmoftheotherhand.Thesesimplestrategiesinvolvemusclememory
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

7/11

7/31/2015

Richards

whilealsohelpingthestudentproceedsystematically.Thesetwoaspectscreateaverypowerfulmemory
enhancer.
Manymathstrategiesforfingercalculation,especiallymultiplication,takeadvantageofmotorimagesor
musclememory.ExamplesarefoundinotherpublicationssuchasLEARN:PlayfulStrategiesforAll
Students(Richards,2001,pp.9397)andTheSourceforLearning&MemoryStrategies(Richards,
2003,pp.161164).
Backtotop

Patterns:ThePinRIP
Thebrainseeksmeaningthroughpatterns.Aswereceiveinformationfromoursenses,weneedprior
knowledgeandasystemfororganizingtheinformationsowemayassignmeaningtoit.Wheninformation
comesin,ourbrainsearchesaroundforexistingknowledge.Ifthenewinformationissomethingthat
activatesapreviouslyusedneuralnetwork,thenthere'samatch.Thisisreferredtoaspatternrecognition
andisoftremendousvalueinenhancingmemory.
Sinceour"thinkingcap"isstronglyinfluencedbypatterns,notfacts,rememberinginformationis
maximizedwhenitisprovidedincontextual,eventorientedsituationswhichincludemotor
learning,locationchanges,music,rhythm,andnovelty.Wedopoorlywhenwe"piecemeal"
learningintolinear,sequentialfactsandotheroutofcontextinformationlists".
EricJensen,SuperTeaching,p.26
Thestrategiesdiscussedaboveallhelpcreatepatterns.Additionally,theuseofmusicandrhyming
createsapatternororganizationfortheinformation.Usingmusictoreviewconceptscanbevery
powerful.Musicalsosupportsrelaxation,creativity,andmotivation.Studentscancreatetheirownsongs
orraps,ortheymayuseexistingsongstoreviewconceptsandfacts.Somesongsthatrelatetospecific
timeperiodsinhistoryare"TheBalladofDavidCrockett,"lyricsbyTomBlackburn"TheBattleOfNew
Orleans,"lyricsbyJohnnyHortonor"WhenJohnnyComesMarchingHomeAgain,"lyricsbyPatrickS.
Gilmore.
Itisalsofuntochangethewordstoacommonsong.Intheexamplebelow,thetuneof"Row,Row,Row
YourBoat"isusedtosingabouttheimportanceofpayingattentiontoaperiodattheendofasentence
(Richards,2003,p.186).
Stop,stop,stopthewords
Withalittledot.
Useaperiodattheend,
Sothey'llknowtostop.
Songsthatreinforceacademicconceptsarealsoavailablecommercially,suchasScienceExplosion,
SingTheScienceStandardsandBestofSchoolhouseRock.
Humorandsillinessarevaluabletousealongwithotherstrategiesbecauseourbrainspreferto
rememberunusualinformation.Ashortsentenceorasequenceofletterscanbeusedtoaidinthe
memory,withorwithoutpicturesoractualitems.Remember,itiscriticalthatyourstudentunderstands
andknowstheinformationpriortousingthesemnemonics,thepurposeofwhichistoserveasatrigger
tobringupinformation.Followingareexamplesofusefulmnemonics.

Themnemonic
MyVeryEasyMethodJustSpeeds
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

Thefirstletterofeachwordhelpsrecall:
Theplanetsinorder:Mercury,Venus,Earth,Mars,Jupiter,
8/11

7/31/2015

Richards

UpNamingPlanets

Saturn,Uranus,Neptune,Pluto

MyVeryEagerMotherJustServed
UsNinePizzas

Theplanetsinorder:Mercury,Venus,Earth,Mars,Jupiter,
Saturn,Uranus,Neptune,Pluto

Aratinthehousemighteattheice
cream

Thespellingofthewordarithmetic

DearMissSallyBrown

Themainstepsinlongdivision:divide,multiply,subtract,bring
down

DoesMcDonald'sSellCheese
Burgers

Themainstepsinlongdivision:divide,multiply,subtract,
compare,bringdown

RoyG.Biv

Thecolorsoftherainbowinorder:red,orange,yellow,green,
blue,indigo,violet

NeverEatShreddedWheat

Thesequenceofdirections,goingclockwise:North,East,
South,West

Backtotop

Demystification
HenryWinklerhaswrittenseveralbooksdescribinghisexperiencesasastudent.Thisseriesofchildren's
novelsarecalledHankZipzer:TheMostlyTrueConfessionsoftheWorld'sBestUnderachiever.Thebooks
areavailableonaudiotape,andstudentswhostrugglegainmuchbylisteningtothetapes.Hearing
someoneelse,especiallyafamousperson,describefrustrationswithlearninghelpstovalidatestudents'
ownexperiences.ThebooksalsodescribeleadcharacterHankZipzer'smanystrengthsandgifts.Students
whostrugglewithreadingbenefitmuchmorefromlisteningtobookssuchasthisthanfromreadingthem.
IntheHankZipzerstory,NiagaraFalls,OrDoesIt?Hankisintheprocessoftryingtowriteanessayfor
class.Hecomplains,
I'llnevergetoutofmyroom.Ihatemyroom.Ihatemyassignment.Ihatemybrain.Why
couldn'tIthinkorwriteorspelloraddordivide?Forgetaboutmultiplying.
It'snotlikeIdon'ttry.Ido.Igooverandoverandovermytimestablesandmyvocabularylists.
Mysistertestsme,andIknoweverything.Butthencomesthetest,andIcan'trememberthem.
It'slikemymindisachalkboardandthewordsjustslideoffitinthetimeittakestowalkfrom
myapartmentbuildingtoschool,whichisablockandahalfaway.Itmakesmesomadthat
sometimesIhitmyheadwithmyfist,hopingI'llstarteverythingworkingagain.
Hankdoesn'tneedtohithishead.Heneedssomeonetoexplaintohimhowmemoryworksandwhyheis
struggling.Heneedsdemystification.Forexample,someonemightsaytohim,"Yourmemoryislikea
closetwithastickingdoor.It'shardforyoutorememberthingsinschoolbecausethedoorkeepsgetting
stuck.Wehavetofigureouthowtomakethedooropenmoreeasily!"
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

9/11

7/31/2015

Richards

ThewaytohelpHank,andotherstudentsfacingasimilarchallenge,openthedoortohisclosetisby
usingthetoolsintheRIPToolbox.
Anotherbookforstudentsthatdescribeslearningchallengesandtheconfusingmixofgiftsandstruggles
isEli,TheBoyWhoHatedtoWrite:UnderstandingDysgraphia.Intheconclusion,Eliponders,
MaybeI'mnotsodifferentafterall.Irealizethateveryonewasdifferentinhisorherownway.I
finallyunderstandwhatitmeantwhenpeopletellme,'Wehaveallkindsofminds.'We'renotall
thesame.
Ibegintoagree.Yep,itisgoodtohaveallkindsofmindsbecausewereallyarealldifferent.It
keepslifeinteresting.
Backtotop

Insummary
Therearemanywaystopraiseachild.Herearesomeexamples.
You'vediscoveredthesecret
Waytogo
I'mproudofyou
Fantastic
You'reontopofit
Nowyou'vegotit
Incredible
You'reonyourway
Goodforyou
Remarkablejob
Beautifulwork
Magnificent
Phenomenal
Creativejob
Whatanimagination
Youmakemelaugh
Youbrightenmyday
Youmeantheworldtome
Awesome
Hurrayforyou
Ahugakissasmile
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

10/11

7/31/2015

Richards

*SpecialthankstoMatthewAcostaforhisdrawingofairwriting.
Backtotop
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print
2015WETA.AllRightsReserved.

http://www.ldonline.org/article/5602/?theme=print

11/11