Mnemonic Recipes

TECHNIQUE 21:  Name the Steps

recip11I initially thought this technique would go into the “no-brainer” pile, but there were some salient points & reminder in this section.  “Champion teachers often traffic in recipes, for example: the five steps to writing a short response essay, the four parts of solving a system of equations, notes on the scale, etc.”, (p. 166)¹. Itemizing any part of your lesson plan or breaking down complex tasks into steps that form a path for student mastery; creating Maps, Recipes, Formulas and Mnemonic devices for students is what this technique emphasizes.

  1. Identify the Steps:  Assumptions that some steps, within any formulaic task in the classroom, are easy or already mastered, should not be made; even if the general recip1trend of the group seems to “getting it”.  Teach Like a  Champion 2.0 ¹ suggests that clear concrete steps in larger picture processes or operations should be posted on the wall, temporarily affixed to the board at the front of the room, or handed out to students as worksheet for whole group modeled note taking.  A few teacher examples in the book refer to their steps are “Rules and Tools” and a standardized form accompanies each new unit, another employs an “authentic” tack by handing out recipe card templates.   Here’s a video, in a more formal approach, to ‘Name the Steps‘, featuring Uncommon Schools teacher, Bob Zimmerli.  At the beginning of the video, he directs the class to refer to a packet, which, Names the Steps.  Additionally, placed on the left hand side of the white board, the steps are listed on a large piece of paper.  As students finish one particular step, he assigns them an exit ticket task ,in order for students to move onto the next step and circulates to Check for Understanding,


2. Make Them Sticky:  I love mnemonic devices.  The Steps, Formulas or Recipes are NOT always streamlined.  In the order of operations, some particular steps are bulky and cannot be labeled indexwith one word.  Additionally, in an academic world where students are required to process different Steps for different content areas, mnemonic devices, regardless of grade level, are always a great tool to employ.   In the foreign language classroom, I know that I typically tend to start out strong with my mnemonic devices, but need to remember to continue to weave them into the program through out the year.  I’d like to develop a means to use more mnemonic devices, in the target language, as regards rote memorization of vocabulary lists.   The fun part about this technique is that I did some research on Mnemonic device generators and found some pretty cool resources:


index The Mnemonicizer (The Mnemonic Device Device):

indexVocabulary Cartoons:

Mnemonic Generator:

index  Remarkable Marbles:

My absolute mnemonic device, Toni Braxton sings ‘Planet Song’ from Blues Clues, 2004.





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