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assimilating information (Joyce et al., 2004, p. 28). Teachers use this strategy to help students learn and absorb information easily so that it can be recalled on a later date. Teachers can also teach different devices so that students can choose which works best when studying, depending on the material being studied. There is a common misconception that mnemonics is just like memorizing, which includes a repetitive, rote learning of just trivial information that students will most likely not remember nor understand later on in life. This is not true. Mnemonics are used to help not just students, but adults as well, master concepts, remember names, etc. The memory model includes four phases. Phase one is attending to the material. Here, the teacher creates activities that require the learner to pay attention and concentrate on what is being learned, basically focusing on the material that needs to be remembered. Teachers can use techniques of underlining, listing, and reflecting. Phase two is developing connections. Here, teachers apply different techniques on the material being learned. Some techniques include link words, substitute words, and key words for long passages. Phase three involves expanding sensory images. This is when the student associates the connections with something completely ridiculous and humorous, making it easier for the student to remember the material. The final phase involves the student to practice recalling the material until it is completely learned.
There are tons of strategies and techniques and devices that are used when learning new material – some are completely original and used by that creator, others are more universal. The following five strategies are universal and are used by lots of teachers. The first is association. A simple rule of thumb for association is to remember the new information by associating it with something you already know (Lorayne and Lucas, 1974, p. 7). For example, I had a hard time with the spellings of dessert and desert. My fourth grade teacher taught me a simple way to remember the spellings, “Dessert has two s’s because you always want more dessert, not desert.” The one drawback with association is that it is very specific to that one particular thing. The next strategy is the link system. The general idea of this strategy is to create a link with two ideas, and then the second idea is linked to a third, and so on (Joyce et al., 2004, p. 28). This is best used when learning more than one idea or learning various ideas within a category. For example, you need to learn the following words: bed, bug, car, and tree. You would imagine unusual pictures, first with bed and bug, then bug and car, and so forth. The first picture of bed and big, you would imagine a large bug jumping on a bed. The next picture would be the same large bug driving a car. You have to make sure you really concentrate on making these images then visualize them so that you can make associations that link them in the same order. The third strategy, and probably the most fun, is ridiculous association. This is exactly like association, but enhancing the association to something vivid and ridiculous will strengthen that association (Joyce et al., 2004, p. 28). There are several ways of doing this. The first is to apply the rule of substitution. If you have a bed and a bug, imagine the bug jumping on the bed. Second, apply the out of proportion rule. Make the
small bug 10 feet tall jumping on the bed. Third is applying the rule of exaggeration. Image millions of bugs jumping on the bed. Finally, incorporate action into the images. The next strategy is the substitute-word system. This strategy is a way of making something you need to remember meaningful. Take a word that seems abstract and “think of something that sounds like or reminds you of that abstract word and picture it in your mind” (Lorayne and Lucas, 1974, p. 21). For example, if you want to remember the name Darwin, just visualize a dark wind. The final strategy is called key word. Key word is selecting a word to represent a longer thought or several thoughts (Joyce, et al. 2004, p. 149). This strategy is very similar to the substitute-word system in that a word represents another thought or thoughts. Philosophy Although a theory of human memory has not been achieved, progress is being made (Estes, 1976, p. 11). Instructional principles have been developed whose goals are to teaching memorization strategies and to help students study more effectively (Joyce, et al. 2004, p. 137). Depending on what the teacher is focusing on in a lesson, a student will retain a certain amount of information. “Many items are presented to an individual in a short time, and only those to which attention is directed enter into memory, and only those receiving rehearsal are maintained long enough to secure the processing necessary to establish a basis for long-term recall” (Estes, 1976, p. 7). Basically, if you do not pay attention to what you have to remember, you are most likely not going to remember it later on. Also, you need to remember the information in a way that can be rehearsed for later recall.
The task of memorizing is something that is done throughout all of our lives. Whether it be a new name, new address, or directions, the art of memorizing is a skill that is started in the elementary years. If you think back to when you were in school, you probably had to remember new words, spellings, the 50 states and capitals…basically a bunch of stuff that seems trivial to us now. If you think about it though, what would your life be life if you did not know that stuff that you had to learn back in school? In reality, you need that information. “One of the most effective forms of personal power comes from competence based on knowledge; it is essential to success and a sense of well being. Throughout our lives, we need to be able to memorize skillfully. To improve this ability increases learning power, saves time, and leads to a better storehouse of information” (Joyce, et al. 2004, p. 138). Development The following is a sample math lesson plan that includes a mnemonic device. Diagnosis Grade 9 Subject: Math Topic: Algebraic Equations Sequence: 1 of 4 Class: Inclusive – 2 special and 15 regular Duration: 40 min Goal Students will use addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and exponentiation with real numbers and algebraic expressions. Aim How would you solve this equation? 23(4 + 5) – 24(5 – 1) 8(4 + 5)
Objectives Students will memorize the sentence, “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.”
Students will distinguish what each word in the mnemonic sentence represents. Students will solve algebraic equations using the mnemonic sentence. Standards Math 3.3 – use mathematical operations and relationships among them to understand mathematics Motivation I will write the following sentence on the board: “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” Procedure • Start by reading the motivation question on the board. How do we use this sentence to solve the equation? • “The beginning letter of each word stands for a math concept.” • Write the following on the board: Parentheses Exponent Multiplication Division Addition Subtraction • “To solve the equation, just follow the steps in the order of the sentence.” • Write the equation on the board: 23(4 + 5) – 24(5 – 1) 8(4 + 5) • “The first step is parentheses; you first solve any problems within parentheses.” • Write the new equation on the board: 23(9) – 24(4) 8(9) • “The next step is exponent; you solve any problems on top of the exponent separately from the bottom. Here, you need to first solve this problem” • Write on board: 23(9) – 24(4) • “Here, we use the third step of multiplication. 23(9) = 207 and 24(4) = 96.” • Write new equation: 207 – 96 • “The fifth and sixth steps are division and addition, since we don’t have any division or addition problems on the top of the exponent, we move on to the last step, which is subtraction.” • Write new equation: 111 8(9) • “You then follow the same steps on the bottom of the exponent.” • Write new equation:
111 = 1.5 72 Students will break into groups of 4 to solve other sample equations on the board.
Conclusion Students will write the equation with all the steps on the board to show understanding Homework Problems on page 65 in book. Conclusion Overall, I think this is a good model to use in the classroom. It is not a model that I would use frequently, only to those who are having a hard time remembering something. What I like most about this model is that it can be applied at any age and grade level. This model can also be used when studying for an exam. I think my favorite part about this model is that the model itself can be taught to the students, and they can create their own way of remembering materials. Just make sure that is not the only way they remember information. I feel as though that is a drawback to this model. Students may not pay attention during the actual lesson and think of different strategies of learning that material without actually learning, just memorizing.
References Estes, W. E. (Ed.) (1976). Handbook of learning and cognitive processes: Vol. 4. Attention and memory. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Joyce, et al. 2004. Models of Teaching, Seventh Edition. p. 131-154. Boston, MA: Pearson. Lorayne, H. and Lucas, J. (1974). The memory book. Briercliff Manor, NY: Lucas Educational Systems.
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