- Active-working memory is where our brains hold information while we work things out. Active working memory allows us to stream information as we decide whether we want to work with it immediately (to compare or contrast, to decode or encode, for example), whether we need more 'work space' and send it to short-term memory, or whether we want to ignore it.
- Short-term memory is where we take incoming information (from active-working memory and /or from long-term memory) to actively manipulate chunks of data. It is our memory's work table. This is where we evaluate, compare, contrast, brainstorm, critique, create. Short term memory, however, has a limited capacity. Research has shown that on average we can hold 7 (plus or minus 2) bits of 'data' in our short-term memory. So IF there is more information than we can comfortably handle, we need tricks and means to effectively work and remember. Tricks include chunking, rehearsing, and mnemonics. IF the product of our effort is deemed 'valuable' it will be stored for longer periods (often with some more help from chunking or rehearsing) in our long-term memory.
- Long -term memory is our brain's file cabinet. This is where we store information for long periods of time (such as important dates important facts we have to learn in school, important telephone numbers, procedures we must follow, where we put our keys last night when entering our homes). Long-term memory can store relatively large quantities of information for a potentially long time (for many we hope a life-time).
- Repetition and Rehearsal
- Building Associations
Today I want to focus on mnemonic devices we can use to help us chunk and store information.
Speaking personally, the long verbal chains and sentences were not much of a help to me, because I could not remember the sentences - especially if they didn't make sense. Everyone is different and part of the trick with mnemonics is finding what works best for you. Sometimes it helps singing songs others have created, and sometimes it means creating your own. You and your kids should experiment! I have included some of the more popoular/traditional mnemonics below, but would love to hear what your favorite mnemonics have been in the comments (why constantly have to re-invent the wheel).
Here's what I've collected:
Verbally Based Mnemonics: Many mnemonic devices are verbal and involve short poems, acronyms (a word or phrase with the first letter of things we are remembering) or songs to remember lists of related things:
- "30 days has September, April, June and November; all the rest have 31 except for February"
- Acronym: "Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain" or...ROY G. BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) = the colors of spectrum
- Acronym for the Great Lakes: HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior)
- Acronym for the nine planets (when you include Pluto): "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pancakes" or "My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Porcupines" (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto). Here's what Stephen Colbert does to remember the planets (although he does have a Pluto dilemma):
- To read music:
- Color codes (many of our internet boxes and TV's for example have color coded nodes to help us 'connect').
- Charts, graphs, and diagrams;
- Using your knuckles and the dips between them to remember which days of the month have 30 or 31 days:
- The ABC song
- Pinky and the Brain with parts of the brain
- Animaniacs with the US Presidents (they also have one for countries of the world but the links I found were poor quality).
Thanks for your visit... and...Don't forget to leave your favorites in your comments!