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Mnemonics - Lesson Ideas

Mnemonics refers to a range of memory aids. While there are many familiar examples, the best ones are those which have particular meaning to the student themselves.

Mnemonics include:

- Rhymes: as in the well-known '30 days hath September…'

- Word association: remembering names by using a picture reference can be useful eg. the name 'Juan Horsely' can be pictured as the numeral '1' riding on horseback

- Visual association to create mental images using colour or shape

- Colour

- Movement

- Humour: Deliberately mispronouncing words according to their spelling helps to stick in the memory eg. pronouncing 'sKissors' for 'scissors'

- Songs: such as the 'ABC' song children use to learn the alphabet

- Order mnemonics: The lines on music's treble stave are in the order EGBDF, commonly remembered as 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit'

- Acronyms: the spectrum colours are linked to ROY.G.BIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet)

- Spelling mnemonics eg. 'RHYTHM' or "Rhythm helps your two hips move"

- Connections eg. the difference between Longitude and Latitude: Longitudinal lines go through North. There is an N in both. Latitudinal go around the globe the other way. Remember them as 'Flatitude'

To personalise mnemonics, it is useful to have students work individually or in pairs to create their own ways of recalling information. These can be taught explicitly as study skills or can become part of a group activity to make study notes.

Mnemonics become handy when displayed on noticeboards as revision cues for all students in the class.

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