Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Memory Building

Last fall I had the privilege of gaining and sharing a wealth of information with a group of homeschool moms led by a Master Homeschool Teacher. (I call her a "Master" teacher based on her years of experience schooling both her own children as well as others.) From this time I gleaned many useful ideas that I have enjoyed implementing in my own school. Here is one of them...
Mental Memory Building

My objective with this activity is to encourage memory skills, directional awareness, attentiveness and color recognition. Each is a basic skill that is used in all areas of life and especially academics. I use this with all my kids at different levels of difficulty.
For the materials, we use what we have on hand, LEGO DUPLO, stored in the cooler you see in the photos =). We play it as a game and the kids love to do it, but they also let me know when they are done. Mental activities can be taxing, so move along when they are ready.
To start I select a series of blocks, usually 3 blocks in 2 colors, and set them in a line.

I allow my child to look at the blocks for a period of 1 second per block before hiding them and asking them to recreate the series I had with the blocks placed in front of them. When they announce they are done, we compare their blocks to mine to see if they remembered correctly. We casually dismiss errors and praise both hard work and correct answers.

After the child has shown they can easily get 3 blocks I move to 4 blocks in 2 colors, 4 blocks in 3 colors and finally 4 blocks in 4 colors. We keep adding to this until they are worn out or the level of difficulty is too great.

For my older boys I have found that creating a line alone is too simple, so I add more blocks and start moving in different planes.
This challenge can continue to grow as much as desired by the parent and child. My kids have found it is fun to test their siblings.
The best part is when they get to challenge you!
A great tool even for adults to build basic mental memory skills.

For a system available for purchase that uses this type of training, Audiblox, is a brand I am aware of although I have not used it myself and cannot give an opinion regarding it. On their site you can find a number of videos clips that demonstrate these ideas, and their use for learning disabled students.

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