Monday, August 18, 2014

How to Memorize Almost Anything: Spelling Words

How to Memorize Anything, Spelling Words

The system works very well for spelling words. 
First, the teacher and students analyze the word to see how it’s dressed. It may have a double consonant or even two. It may have a strange spelling for a sound. For example, “Lieutenant.” has a unique spelling for the sound /oo/, “ieu.”  I employed a trick for this word by imagining a band of ten ants with a Lieutenant. The band was supposed to get up early and build a tunnel but they slept in. When the Lieutenant showed up and asked one of them why they were only half way done, I (because I like the ants) tell them, “Lie You Ten Ants.” 

In the classroom, the procedure is the same as mentioned in the previous posting or tweet. Let me review for those who did not read that one.
First step is to have students look at the word carefully and even find a trick if you need to. Then the word is taken away and they are told, “In thirty seconds, I will ask you  to spell the word again.” 
Thirty seconds later the teacher says, “Spell the word.” Every student writes it on a paper. Teacher checks to see if anyone needs help and provides. it Then students are told, “In one minute, I will ask you again.” The class is distracted with something else and, in one minute, teacher asks again.
The next time it’s five minutes, then ten, then thirty , then one hour and then end of the class day. 

To learn a spelling word yourself, be creative as to how you will give yourself the periodic notifications to spell the new word. I work behind a computer all day so I have entered meeting requests in my calendar so I get pop ups that say, “Spell the word.” It works. 

Why does this work? When you resurface something that’s sinking out of recall, every time you bring it back up, it stays up a little longer. That’s the best way I can explain it. It also works because, when you tell someone, “In one minute……,” they are going to think about that and keep, whatever is to be memorized, in the front of their mind. 

The value if the exercise goes beyond learning a spelling word, which they will. You are teaching students how to memorize (or how to fish so to speak). Soon, they will create their own tricks and use the system. Or, they may create another system that works for them. 


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