So, let’s think of a few other things that we can do to boost the memory working memory of students. So, I have eight ideas here: –
One of them is, working on visualization skills: – So keep creating a picture in students’ minds of what they’ve just read or heard my granddaughter was here one day and I think she was that the end of first grade and she was starting to read a chapter book, and I thought I don’t know if she’s really ready for that so I said “Riley do you understand what you’re reading do you know are you getting this?” and she looked at me and said, you know I just don’t know how I do it, but I can just visualize it in my mind. Now I’ve got to admit I was first of all mightily impressed that a seven-year-old could use the word visualized correctly in a sentence, but then I realized she really could do it and wasn’t that what I wanted for every student I’d ever worked with. The ability to get a picture in their minds of what they had just read or heard. So, maybe they can start out with some little things like, if you told them to divide up ten pieces of candy among five students, have them draw a picture think about what that would look like draw a picture of it and then as they get better at visualizing they probably won’t need to draw the picture to go along with it.
Another good thing is having children teach us how to do things. Being able to explain how to do something, involves a lot of information and understanding in order to do that. So, if they’re learning a new skill ask them to teach it to you, pair them up with another student in class and let them start working that, with that information right away rather than just waiting to have their names called.
Another idea is games that involve visual memory, things of the matching game like concentration or memory that’s a great way to work on visual memory. You can also do things like giving the child a magazine page and having him circle all the specific words such as “th” or the letter “a” in one minute put a timeframe on it. Turn license plates into a game, now this would be one that the kids could do at home or if they’re writing a school bus. Reciting letters and numbers on a license plate and saying them backwards too. That’s one thing I’ve heard Dr. Jensen talk about several times, giving children, maybe just one or two numbers or letters to start with and building up their capacity, but also having them say those letters and numbers backwards, because that’s really what working memory is about, being able to hold the information and do something with it.
Kids can also play cards, there are lots of card games that help with working memory in two different ways. One they have to keep the rules of the game in mind. And second, they also have to remember what cards they have as well as what’s already been played. So those kinds of things can really help students improve their working memory.
Another thing is encouraging active reading. Think about those highlighters and sticky notes job notes down underline highlighting text to keep the focus on the information and help them hang on to that information long enough to answer questions. Talking about out loud is really important for some students and being able to ask questions those verbal kids who need to verbalize things as they’re doing, it can really be helpful.
You can also chunk information to the smaller bytes. We talked about chunking time frames, but think about phone numbers in Social Security numbers why do they have hyphens in them because it’s easier to remember few small group of numbers than to remember one long string of numbers. So, when you’re giving student multi-step directions break it into parts. Write them down or just give them one at a time until they build up that working memory. You can also use graphic organizers to help break writing assignments into smaller chunks and pieces.
Another thing that’s really helpful for a lot of kids, is if we make it multi-sensory. Processing information in many ways as possible can really help with both working memory and long-term memory. So, again writing down for children so children can look at the information. I’m one of those kids, I like to see things written down as a child, and as an adult. For some students, they need to say things out loud or hear things out loud. Maybe for some kids tossing a ball back and forth while you discuss things will really help them be able to complete that information in their brains because they need to be able to touch things and move. So, it’s anything that you can do to help students keep information in mind long enough to use it is going to be helpful.
And then finally help them make connections they’ve got to have associations with that connect different details and attaching new information to previously learned information. So, think about mnemonics and ways for them to use little and acronyms and names for them to remember different pieces of information. We use those a lot in science with the colors of the rainbow or the order of the planet you can probably think of several times that you’ve used mnemonics with your kids. And also finding ways to connect information with retrieving that long-term memory at pieces. So being able to compare old and new and putting pieces together it’s so important for the kids. So, anything you can do to help build the working memory is going to be very important. Because research is showing that working memory is one of the key weak areas in students from poverty. I would venture to say for many of our students across the board who are struggling working memory is an ongoing issue.
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