Memory strips are essential teaching tools to assist students who need support with memory recall, organization, making good behavioural choices and using self regulation strategies. Memory strips can be used in the classroom and at home to reinforce routines and strategies used to regulate behaviour. Memory strips put the student in control of their decisions and improve independence. Typically, students who have difficulties with attention due to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder and Tourette Syndrome will benefit from this tool that is easy to create and put into action. Adults and “neuro-typical” children may also benefit from using memory strips in their everyday tasks.
For children with difficulties with organization and memory recall:
Memory strips can provide visual cues for procedural steps for work completion and for improved organization. For example, children who have difficulties starting or completing tasks may use memory strips to provide a visual checklist to guide them through steps required to complete or improve the quality of their work. Children who have difficulties with organization can benefit from memory strips reminding them of the things they need to do.
For children with behavioural or self regulation challenges:
Memory strips can be used to prompt appropriate behaviour choices or to provide cues to strategies that can be implemented by the student to ensure success. Often children who have neurological differences tend toward unwanted behaviours when unsure of what they should do. The memory strip can be a visual cue to give them positive choices and strategies during these moments and preempt the unwanted behaviour.
Here are some examples of simple memory strips I have used to effectively teach students with learning disabilities and/or neurological challenges.
Memory Strip: Start and Finish Written Work
This strip comes from the book “Teaching the Tiger” by Marilyn P. Dornbush and Sheryl K. Pruitt, (Hope Press Inc., 2003). It is used to remind students of basic routine information for starting and completing school work. I have used this memory strip for my entire class, as a constant reminder. It can be taped to a student’s desk, or posted at the front of the classroom for all.
Frame 1: Introduce yourself. This image reminds the student write their name on the paper.
Frame 2: The calendar image prompts the student to put the date on their paper.
Frame 3: A large period prompt the child to check their work for proper punctuation.
Frame 4: The capital C and lower case C prompt checking their written work for proper capitalization.
Memory Strip: Morning Locker Routine
I created this memory strip for my organizationally challenged son. Having profound difficulty organizing himself at school, I provided him with a memory strip that was posted inside his locker for his reference. At the start of each day, he would follow these steps before entering the classroom.
Frame 1: Put your hat, mitts and scarf IN your locker. (Especially important if you are having to replace lost items frequently)
Frame 2: Hang your coat IN your locker.
Frame 3: Put on your indoor shoes.
Frame 4: Bring your agenda into class
Frame 5: Check your pant zipper (he often has his clothes on backwards too, but I wanted to keep it simple!)
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