Sunday, October 26, 2008

"New" Use for Memory Tag System

Sometime in the night my mind came up with an idea for using a memory tag system I've been learning.


A memory tag system is a system of memorizing a certain number of items like 0 to 9 as images, places in a well-remembered house, or images associated with each letter of the alphabet. Then when you need to (or want to) memorize some list of things, you have a ready-made set of tags that you can use to associate with the new list.

Those who complain of poor memory are usually complaining about the ability to recall something they know they know. They just can't recall it quickly enough. I've discovered that the key to recalling information (finding what you're "looking" for) is to put it away carefully. This concept works for car keys and key ideas. For example, this summer I used the 0 to 9 images to memorize the 43 US presidents in order.

Many have used word mnemonics before like PEMDAS (order of operations), HOMES (the Great Lakes), or Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (reading music). A tag system is taking all that to another level.


I began a month or so ago creating a visual association for each letter of the alphabet (A is for Ape, B is for Bike, etc.) Now I've added a visual number (One is a Candle, two is a Swan, etc.) to each letter.

Just before I went to bed, I was testing myself on the letter/number connection by writing some words and seeing if I could come up with the picture and number of each word: I did (after a bit of practice).


In the night I thought, "Why not use a letter/number scheme to learn how to spell words that are difficult, like camaraderie?" I did it this morning, and it works. Using the letter/number connection (tag) as I look at the word I'm trying to learn makes it memorable, and thus more recall-able. I'm on my way to becoming a better speller! So what?

Well, I really didn't do all this memory work for my sake... I teach kids with special needs (Special Education) many of whom qualify because of lack of academic success due to memory deficits. Hmmm... (They ALL know their ABCs. You can figure out the rest...)

Ponder on!

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