Mnemonic Devices

In between spoonfuls of syrupy gulab jamuns (we ARE Indian, after all!), Caitlyn declares:
“I know how to tell the difference between ‘desert’ and ‘dessert’. My teacher said that we would probably like to have two helpings of dessert so it has two Sses, but desert has just one.”

Mnemonic devices – that my word for this Wednesday.
A bit hard to spell, but simply put it’s an easy way to remember hard things. You do this by attaching a rhyme, a funny phrase or an acronym to something you want to memorise which will trigger your memory when you need it.

Great for when you’re a student (anyone remembers the periodic table from Year 9 Chemistry?) but also good for your day-to-day life.

I use it when I go to the grocery store to buy a few things and haven’t made a list.
For example, if my list includes Toothpaste, Avocado, Baked beans, Leeks and Eggs.
I make this list into the acronym ‘TABLE’. The only problem is when I’m scratching my head wondering if the B stands for beans, broccoli or bananas!

Turns out Caitlyn has been using these mnemonic devices even in her piano class. The treble clef spaces spell out the word F-A-C-E and the bass clef spaces ACEG can be remembered with the phrase “All Cows Eat Grass”.

And I’ve just taught her how to remember the positions of the planets with the funny sentence “My Very Excellent Mum Just Served Us Noodles” – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. She thinks it’s a hoot!

And I know my kids are true-blue Aussie when they say “Never Eat Soggy Weetbix” to remember the directions on a compass: North, East, South, West!

Here are a few other Mnemonic Devices to jog your memory.

So tell me, do you have a good memory? Do you remember things like friends’ birthdays? Are there some things that you always forget, no matter what? And which mnemonic devices from your own school days stick in your head?


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