Top 5 Types of Mnemonics

You just can’t get enough, can you?  You are a creative puzzle solver who can’t wait to try his or her hand at trying a new mnemonic.  Get going! 

ACRONYMS. You form acronyms by using each first letter from a group of words to form a new word. For example the highly amusing acronym “Übercrap” for the principles of art and design, seen here:  the sad part of this particular mnemonic is that it absolutely should not be the one used in public schools.   It is too bad, because the principles will not be forgotten!  I’ll bet you can’t help naming them off, can you?  Unity, balance…..I won’t ruin it for you.  Can you come up with a silly mnemonic for the principles of art and design?  It would be fantastic if you would add your magnificent mnemonic to the comment section below!

SENTENCES/ACROSTICS. There is some similarity here to acronyms, because you use the first letter of each word you are trying to remember. They are different, though, because you create a new sentence with them, rather than a single word.  You may have heard of these, for example:

Never Eat Shredded Wheat (for the compass points, North, East, South, West.)Or, My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nachos (the order of the planets.)

Can you think of other examples? These can be very helpful to memorize rote learning, because they give the opportunity to create funny images which “stick.”

RHYMES & SONGS. Rhythm, repetition, melody, and rhyme can all aid memory. Eons ago the Ancient Greek orators used all of these to help in remembering their stories.   Do you have a technique which you wish that your students would internalize?  Set it to song!  It would drive me crazy to see fairly nasty paint pans of watercolor, because I would have parts of lessons dedicated to students learning how to kep them clean.  Then I came up with a short song, which I can begin singing at anytime to help students – they LOVE learning these songs as well.  Hear me singing my little  WashYourBrush song.  Please remember that this was created for kindergarten through second grade (be kind!)

METHOD OF LOCI. This mnemonic method was used by ancient orators to remember speeches, and it combines the use of association, organization, and visual memory. Before using the technique, you must identify a common path that you walk. This can be the walk from your dorm to class, a walk around your house, whatever is familiar. I do not imagine that this would be helpful with young children in a school setting – it would be excellent used by college students requiring memorization for lengthy tests.

 CHUNKING. Is a mnemonic technique where large amounts of information are chunked into smaller parts, in order to make the information more manageable, such as a person’s phone number could be remembered by the first three numbers, then the last four.  This is problematic for smaller learners who are having a difficult time even remembering the three primary colors.

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