--I chose the topic of memory because I consider myself to be a forgetful person. My attention often wanders with a curiosity that leads me into exciting situations (that I usually remember), though I often forget how I got there in the first place. I also have a hard time remembering facts and figures and people's names. As a teacher I will have to remember all of these things, and much more.

As students now and teachers soon, memory is something that we need to consider while learning new material or preparing lessons. We want our students to have meaningful learning experiences in our classes, and we can increase this likelihood if we have a good understanding of how memory works.

--Top Five Things I learned making this Wiki:

1. Unless we integrate what we 'learn' in some meaningful way, the information usually leaves our heads pretty quickly.

2. Anxiety and stress sabotage memory and learning.

3. Exercise and proper nutrition help the brain and memory to function well.

4. Repetition at certain intervals is the key to moving information into working and long term memory.

5. There is much going on in the complex interplay between brain chemistry, conditioned behavior, and chemical intervention. It is an ongoing experiment, with interdependent variables, where we are both scientist and guinea pig.


1. Neuroscience For Kids: Memory Games For The Classroom.

-Of all the resources in this Wiki, I would recommend this one the most, because it is such a large source of games and information. I also like that it is based out of the University of Washington and seems out for the good of learning, instead of out to sell something.

--This website is filled with games to assess and improve memory for kids and adults. Some of them are computer-based for individuals, and others require a group to play. I like this site because the group games require simple materials or no materials. Some of the games, like "Now You See It, Now You Don't" could be played with all ages, not just K-6.

--I also like that there are computer versions of games such as "Concentration" to accommodate students who want to work by themselves using this medium.

--I think that high school students who store all of their important phone numbers in their cell phones would benefit from the game "Phone It!"

--I give this website Five Stars because it is so large and complete. There is something here for everyone to use.

2. How To Remember People's Names When You First Meet Them:

-The techniques in this video are useful when meeting people in social settings. It's not as geared to the classroom as the next link. I have a terrible time remembering people's names (though I remember their faces forever), and often feel embarrassed to ask them again after we have already met. This video is cute, and uses a subtle twist of the memory devices (his name is not "John"), which makes the techniques easier to remember.

-I give this Three Stars out of five because it is useful, though not so much in the classroom.

3. Name Games For Classroom Teachers:

-This list of 27 mnemonic devices and games was designed with college classes in mind, and many of them also seem practical for high school students. For the first day of Spanish classes I plan to use #1 (the student passport) as a fun way to start the term. I have been in college classes that used #10 and #12 on the first day and found that it really helped to set up an environment of interactivity and community that lasted throughout the term.
-Remembering the names of our students helps us to engage with them, and vise versa. Teachers have a tendency to call on students whose names they remember more often, leading to strange classroom dynamics. I think it's sad that we often remember the names of students who are "disruptive" (memorable) at the expense of others who have much to contribute.

- I give this Four Stars out of five stars, because it is simple and applicable.

4. How Memory Works:


(sorry about the 30 second advertisement. I couldn't find a way around this)

-I found this video useful because it helped me to understand why we forget much of what we "learn." He also gave simple techniques to improve our comprehension. Some highlights from the video:

-All information is first filtered through the subconscious mind to decide if it is necessary for survival.

-We reconstruct our memories. The more senses we use to take in information, the more we remember.

-Twenty minute intervals for studying, with five minute breaks in between, with a quick highlight review after sitting back down are optimal. Regular review of highlights seats memory.

-Stress and memory: blood goes to the back of the brain (survival) and prevents us from thinking clearly.

-I give this video Four Stars because it makes it clear how and why we remember certain information. The speaker was enthusiastic, though his strange accent was tricky to understand.

5. "Link Method" For Remembering 'Unrelated Information.'

--I liked this video because it gives a simple and practical method for remembering even the most unrelated list of words or concepts. Andi Bell, named the World Memory Champion, developed this method and uses it in another video: to memorize each card in ten decks stacked on a table.

--This method works because it helps us to set up several separate neural pathways to a memory, so if one pathway is lost then our brain can find another way around to that memory. It seems that we pay as much attention to the journey as to the destination (a nice metaphor). Some scientists believe that this is how people regain memories and abilities after suffering from a stroke.

--I give this video Four Stars because it can be used to memorize "unrelated" pieces of information.

6. Brain Food.

--I liked this video because it was short, concise, and helped me feel okay about my addiction to chocolate. The information was broad, including the importance of water, exercise, and scientifically designed brain games (though their website requests personal information to access their games) in addition to nutrition.

--It is important to see memory and brain health in the larger context of a healthy body. Sitting still for hours in front of a computer eating nothing but Pop Tarts (though sometimes a twisted and effective coping mechanism) will not improve one's overall cognitive abilities.

--I give this Three Stars for its brief and complete overview.

7. "Smart Drugs."

--This video frightened me. Many of the kids with whom I work are prescribed Ritalin, Adderall, or other drugs "to help them focus," and I believe that for certain people these medications are necessary for normal functioning (if the school environment can be called "normal").

--I was not aware, however, of the extent to which these drugs are being abused by high school and college students who want to "boost" their memory and test-taking performance. Of the several videos I watched on the subject, this one covered the most angles of the debate. I was surprised that all four people on the panel (and almost all of the callers) said that they would take "smart drugs" to increase their grades or boost their mental capabilities.

--Personally, I want to remain part of the "control group," as these drugs are highly addictive and often have dangerous side effects, not to mention the as yet unknown long-term effects they have on a person's brain chemistry.

-I give this video Five Stars because of the thought-provoking questions it brings up.

--Another video, from Duke University, outlines some possible harms of these drugs:

8. BBC-- Permanent Effects of Marijuana Use On Young Teenagers.

--Anyone who works with teenagers can attest to the effects that Marijuana has on memory and learning ability. Many teens (and adults) believe that this drug is harmless, or that its effects on memory are temporary. Many of the middle school students with whom I work have experimented with Marijuana and it's easy to observe its effect on their ability to learn, remember, and be present at school. Perhaps because of the growing belief in popular culture that "Pot is medicine," teens are experimenting with it at younger and younger ages, exactly when their brains are most vulnerable.

--I like this video because it clearly shows how this drug may have permanent effects in the memory development of young teens, even after they have stopped smoking. I also like that the video does not try to overtly scare teens into avoiding Marijuana (a tactic that many of them resist 'on principle'), but instead uses cute little mice that are so confused that they swim in circles and must be rescued, lest they drown (interesting metaphor).

--I give this video Five Stars because it demonstrates, in a cleverly visual way, what words often cannot.

9. BrainGym.

external image IntegratedMovement_Web-794011.jpg

-I wanted to contrast the use of "performance-enhancing drugs" and "performance-deadening drugs" with a more natural and kinesthetic approach to boosting student performance in the classroom. I have taken a BrainGym course and witnessed positive results for both children and adults. This series of movements is said to connect different parts of the brain and central nervous system that are usually integrated during our natural development in the first few years of life.

-I found the website a bit of a disappointment for lack of videos, and videos on YouTube to be equally incomplete and wide-ranging. I can vouch for BrainGym's effectiveness as I write this at 4:52am. I find myself doing the exercises to stay focused and alert (no coffee needed).

--I give BrainGym Five Stars, and I give its promoters Three Stars.

10. Philosophical Views of the "Experiencing Self" and the "Remembering Self."

-This video is a little philosophical tangent in which Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate psychologist, talks about the difference between the happiness of the "Experiencing Self" and the "Remembering Self." It brings up questions for me about reality, time, happiness, and memory. We often dwell on the past, putting tremendous weight on memory, disregarding our actual experiences in any present moment. Nostalgia plays a tremendous role in our experience of present events: our skewed memories of past events define whether or not we will enjoy present ones.

--If you get bogged down in this meta-analysis of memory, skip to the 'thought experiment' at 11:10 and answer the question: Would you choose the same vacation?

--I give this video Two Stars for practicality, and Five Stars for philosophical relevance. script...

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