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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Multi-Arts Tools

Memory Pathways

Adapted from Arts with the Brain in Mind by Eric Jenson
(Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001)

Explicit Memory: Memory we are conscious of/verbal  Implicit Memory: Habit, motor memory,
unconscious non-verbal memory
Weakest retrieval system
Unlimited capacity
Hot-stove effect
Emotions trigger memory
• Involves words, symbols, etc.
• Short-term and working memory
• Requires strong intrinsic motivation
• Need big picture/global to aid recall
• Organize material again and again
• Use spaced learning, peer teaching, cliffhangers
• “Yes, you can” attitude
• Memory forms easily and quickly
• Involves locations, events, circumstances
• Contami-
nated by too many events or materials embedded at same location
• Memory is contextually embedded
• Learning corresponds to sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, location, and emotions
• Easy to master, well remembered, lasting
• Activated by physical movements, sports, games, theater role play
• Hands-on learning
•“Just do it”
• Embed emotions in middle of lesson
• Daily celebrations
• Student presentations to class
• Instant associations
• Over-learning
• Conditioned responses (Pavlov’s dog)
• The more practice, the more automated the learning
• Quick-reaction activities help with storing/retrieving of memories
• Emotions ranging from trauma to pleasure create/trigger long-term memory
• Emotions contribute to all memory pathways
• Auditory cues are potent emotional triggers
• Many students who struggle with semantic memory can succeed here
• The arts provide emotional triggers for storing/retrieving memories
Sample Arts Strategies
to aid memory
• Visuals, pictures, illustrations, bold colors, posters, storyboards, pictorial maps, etc.
• Graphic organizers
• Open lessons with hook music, props, costumes, dramatic event
• Close lessons with sharing and same hook music
Sample Arts Strategies
to aid memory
• Movement, designated location for each concept
• Novel class-
room positions
• Dance/
movement to change locations and/or circumstances
• Use visual art to create location and/or mood
• Use music to create mood
• Use drama to create circum-
stance or connection to event
• Field trips include arts activities
• Drama games
Sample Arts Strategies
to aid memory
• Nearly everything can be done with movement
• Dance
• Sculpture
• Create a song
• Rewrite lyrics to a song to include key information
• Rap key terms/vocabulary
• Dramatic concert readings with music
• Improvisations
• Drama games
• Dramatic debates
Sample Arts Strategies
to aid memory
• Visually enhanced flash cards or quest
• Use pictures for quest
• Music, especially rhythms, clapping/tapping, speaking rhythms, rapping, singing using key information
• Use repetitive movement along with auditory cues (music, rhyme)
• Movement games
Sample Arts Strategies
to aid memory
• Start lessons/units of instruction with one or more art forms that provide emotional content and/or offer connections to locations, events, celebrations, prior knowledge, or to create a new emotional context for memories
• Embed the arts at critical memory points in lessons or units
• Connect arts examples to critical content and/or concepts that should be committed to memory

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