The Impact of the Mnemonic Device

Impact of devices with Shurley english.jpg

I’ll never forget returning to my 6th grade language arts classroom after winter break.  Being the social type, I had stopped between classes to say hello to some of my friends, and I barely made it into the room before the tardy bell rang.  To my surprise, the desks had been rearranged into groups of four, and I had no idea where I was supposed to sit. Everyone else had obviously been in the room long enough to locate their desks, but I was caught off guard, and I knew that I was in for it!  Although my teacher was not humored, my classmates roared with laughter because of the look on my face!


As if my entrance had not been bad enough, my teacher personally led me to my seat, and that’s when I knew it was going to be a long semester! She had grouped me with three individuals that were all smart, studious, and extremely quiet.  I knew immediately that she had plans to keep my talking to a minimum by placing me beside these three individuals, and I wasn’t too happy about it.  Ne’er did I know that these three people were about to teach me about the art of competition!


From the get go, I instinctively knew that the other three members of my classroom quartet thought they were faster, smarter, and better than me when it came to academics. I knew that they were always focused and that I was often distracted, but something inside of me clicked that day, and all of the sudden, I had something to prove.  I was determined to outsmart and outshine all three of them!


I learned after the first spelling pre-test that my mission was going to be harder than I thought.  You see, my teacher had a routine of giving us a spelling pre-test on Monday and a final spelling test on Friday.  If anyone made a 100 on the pre-test, they didn’t have to take the test again on Friday.  I was always good at spelling (I hardly ever studied), but wouldn’t you know, I missed one word on the pre-test that day, and all three of them made a 100! I was furious and frustrated!  To top it off, I misspelled the word language!


That little faux pas taught me to use one of the best tricks known to mankind!  I learned to use mnemonic devices to help me memorize difficult spelling words and much, much more.  Mnemonic devices are useful tricks or methods that help people remember important information.  In order to memorize how to spell “language”, I attached a word to almost every letter, or I let the letter stand for itself.  Here’s what I came up with: 

Language:  Linda Ann Nixon Gave U A Good E

(Believe it or not, I still repeat that saying when I write out the word.) 


My sixth grade year was a year of personal growth!  I learned that I could focus and work harder.  Competition drove me to do my best at all times in my 6th grade language arts class, and it taught me to find easier ways to learn important information.  By the way, I also learned that when you do less talking, you can do more listening!  It helped! 


Here are some beneficial mnemonic devices I found by doing a quick web search.  I encourage you to always look for tools like these to help your students memorize important information.  Enjoy!


-When to use “affect” or “effect”: 



Affect = Verb

Effect = Noun


-If you’re still counting Pluto, here’s a cute one to help memorize the order of the planets from the sun: 

My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas! 

(Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto)


-How to remember who is on each bill:  When Jeff Left Home, Jack Got Fat! 

            Washington       $1

            Jefferson           $2

            Lincoln              $5

            Hamilton         $10

            Jackson           $20

            Grant                $50

            Franklin           $100


-The order of taxonomy: 

Kids Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach

(Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus Species)


-The order of Mathematical Equations: 

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally 

(Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract)