As a teacher you may have observed that while many kids struggle with working memory, your students with executive functioning difficulties have particularly weak working memory skills.
Working memory sub-skills are at the heart of all learning. Verbal working memory is crucial for reading comprehension and solving math word problems. Visual spatial working memory is helpful in recalling colors and shapes and is crucial for higher level mathematics such as geometry and calculus.
Teaching memory techniques for students that support and practice memory skills can be helpful for many kids. The key is to present these memory techniques as something that is fun and helpful. Offer these suggestions to elementary school students to try on their own.
Memory Techniques for Students in Elementary School
Combine exercise and technology. Exercise is great for your brain. Record yourself reading your notes on your iPod or iPad when you need to study. Take a walk around your neighborhood while listening to yourself reading your notes.
Cement it. Use different ways to help your brain make connections. It can be hard to remember something just by reading it once. For example, find a couple of key points in what you are reading. Read these out loud to yourself or talk about them with friends.
Chunk items together. Chunking tasks together can help you remember everything you need to do. For example, brush your teeth, wash your face, and comb your hair one right after the other. That way you can remember to do all three of these activities as one chunk.
Study with your friends online. Did you know you can study with your friends online? Text, Skype, or start a Google Hangout with your friends (ask your parent or older sibling if you don’t know how). Make up short quizzes for your friends to take about what you are studying, then have them do the same for you.
Practice, practice practice! Just as with sports, music, or dance, the more you practice, the better you get. Practice routines you need to remember such as getting ready in the morning.
Repeat new information when you first hear it. Repeat someone’s name a few times the first time you meet. Do the same thing with new phone numbers.
Use silly sentences to help you remember. Come up with silly sentences to help you remember routines or other information. For example, remember the sentence, “Larry has packed many bags,” to remind you what you need to take with you to school (lunch, homework, phone, money, books).
Featured image: Flickr user woodleywonderworks