We can’t under estimate the role of memory in learning. Sometimes we focus on learning content and material, but we forget that sometimes we need to prime our brains to strengthen the paths needed. For example, before we can even learn to read, we need to have strong eye muscles, we need to be able to discriminate between shapes and sounds, and we need good tracking skills.
All of this can be easily overlooked when in the classroom and we need to cover content. I will show you a quick activity that you can do with your students in a classroom setting but it is much more effective one-on-one.
Working memory is short term memory. It is the ability to memorize something and then keep it in your head so that you can use the information to carry out a task. Students use working memory when they are recalling facts, paying attention, following instructions, taking notes, and solving various problems. They are using their working memory throughout the school day.
Visual memory is when we see objects, numbers, letters, pictures, etc and we can recall it. Students who struggle with visual memory struggle to remember the detail, copy work down, read, and do mental computations.
Auditory memory is keeping and using information that has been given verbally. Students who need more practice in this area usually have trouble learning to read using phonics and when they do read they have a hard time processing what they read.
All students can benefit from training in these areas. The better our working memory, visual memory, and auditory memory the easier it is to learn new information.
Draw a 10 x 10 grid on the whiteboard. You will work with this board so make sure to draw it out neatly or create a grid in a word processing software. In the grid you drew, draw a heart, smiley face or circle. Have students look at what you drew.
If you want to work on visual memory. Draw 10 arrows in different directions. Have students memorize the arrows. Cover the arrows and have them visually move the object and point to the box it should be in. Have them make note of what arrow they got right. They should be able to memorize 6 arrow directions.
To work on auditory memory, read the arrows to your students and have them locate where the object will land. They should strive to memorize at least 6 arrow directions.
When working on improving memory it is important to not rush the process. It takes consistent practice and effort. Try to practice 3 times a day. It should take less than 10-15 minutes.
I have always included a form of educational therapy into my work. It is really important to work on these skills with your students in your class, small group and one on one tutoring sessions. It never hurts and only improves their progress and confidence. I say that is a win!