The Loci Method of Memorization

The Loci Method of “placing” objects in a familiar place in your mind so as to help you remember them only seems to work for me for relatively concrete concepts.  Like, if I want to remember that my friend’s birthday is June 15th, I can think of my friend in a party hat, with a big JUNE 15TH around her neck or something.  That might work.  But when they are ideas that don’t have concrete pictures that can be associated with them, I find that these types of devices don’t work as well with me, because I lack the patience to try to come up with some creative mishmash of pictures to represent it.  It’s more effective for me to outright try and memorize it.  I definitely think this would work as a way to remember concrete type ideas for students… like vocabulary terms, famous people, more of the rote memory stuff.  I already do a little bit of this in real life in my classroom… like I draw all over our classroom maps (they’re laminated so they’re dry erase marker friendly :)) and leave it up there for sometimes as much as weeks to help kids remember certain concepts (like the equator, prime meridian, trade routes, circle Britain the Colonizer, etc.).  We also have a word wall that we refer to.  Not exactly the same, but when you refer to different areas of your room to emphasize certain points, even if you erase your markings on the map or cover up your word wall, you can still see kids look to the side of the room during assessments as if the material is still there for their reference.

I know the mental version of this works well for many people (I remember reading about people who memorize decks of cards like this), but I’m just not one of ’em.

PS — I love David Sedaris, and his book The Santaland Diaries is definitely in my top 3 favorite Sedaris books. 🙂  Not sure if I’m supposed to relate the Santaland Diaries to this blog post… but I thought I’d mention it.

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One thought on “The Loci Method of Memorization

  1. Love the way you explained how the kids related back to the visual map even after the cues are gone. Loci method in action, for sure! I’ve read how placing post-it notes with images or Velcro pictures with words on the real deal – like a refrigerator or cabinet – helps with language learning both for learning a second language and for those with developmental disabilities. They are great ideas!

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