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Short-term Memory stores a limited amount of information for a short time. It is our holding tank for skills and knowledge that, with practice, will move to Long-term Memory. Short-term Memory, particularly visuospatial ability explained below, has been shown to be associated with math performance. While research supports the role of Short-term Memory in math learning at all ages, it has been shown to be particularly helpful during these earlier years.
There are two types of Short-term Memory:
Short-term Memory is different from Working Memory because information is not manipulated in Short-term Memory, as it is in Working Memory. When items in Short-term Memory are rehearsed sufficiently, they are consolidated to become part of Long-term Memory.
Teachers support language development by using and providing vocabulary and syntax that is appropriately leveled (e.g.
Content that is provided in clear, short chunks can support students' Working Memory.
Building with blocks is ideal for promoting early geometric and Spatial Skills.
As students solve problems in a group, they learn new strategies and practice communicating their mathematical thinking.
CRA is a sequential instructional approach during which students move from working with concrete materials to creating representational drawings to using abstract symbols.
Students activate more cognitive processes by exploring and representing their understandings in visual form.
Continual use of foundational skills with different problems reinforces a conceptual understanding of math skills.
10 minutes in each math session devoted to building fluent retrieval of basic arithmetic facts sets the foundation for learning new concepts.
Daily review strengthens previous learning and can lead to fluent recall.
In explicit number naming, the structure of the number name labels the number in Place Value order and clearly states the quantity.
Knowing the language of math is critical because students must use this language to understand math concepts and determine calculations needed.
Thinking of and about patterns encourages learners to look for and understand the rules and relationships that are critical components of mathematical reasoning.
Teaching students to recognize common problem structures helps them transfer solution methods from familiar to unfamiliar problems.
Discussing strategies for solving mathematics problems after initially letting students attempt to problem solve on their own helps them understand how to organize their mathematical thinking and intentionally tackle problems.
Dot cards build number sense and promote early math skills, particularly Spatial Skills and Non-symbolic Number knowledge.
Free collaborative play supports learner interests and promotes the development of more complex social interactions.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
Adding motions to complement learning activates more cognitive processes for recall and understanding.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Teaching students through guided play encourages them to take an active role in their learning and supports the development of a broad array of cognitive skills.
Spending time with new content helps move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
Practicing until achieving several error-free attempts is critical for retention.
Math centers with math games, manipulatives, and activities support learner interests and promote the development of more complex math skills and social interactions.
Math games use numbers and Spatial Skills, allowing students to practice many math skills in a fun, applied context.
Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce math skills development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.
When students have meaningful conversations about math and use math vocabulary, they develop the thinking, questioning, and explanation skills needed to master mathematical concepts.
Creating patterns for remembering classroom processes, narrative structures, etc.
Multiple tables and chairs on wheels allow for setting up the classroom to support the desired learning outcomes of each activity.
By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.
Teachers sharing math-to-self, math-to-math, and math-to-world connections models this schema building.
Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.
Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills to understand and remember the steps they are to take in their math work.
Multiple display spaces help develop oral language skills as well as Social Awareness & Relationship Skills by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthen recall.
Providing physical representations of numbers and math concepts helps activate mental processes.
Easy access to seeing the relationships between numbers promotes number sense as students see these connections repeatedly.
Visual representations help students understand what a number represents as well as recognize relationships between numbers.
Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.
Research shows physical activity improves focus and creativity.
Pretending allows students to step back from a problem or task and think about it from multiple angles.
Cards with strategies for managing emotions help students remember how to act when faced with strong feelings.
When teachers connect math to the students' world, students see how math is relevant and applicable to their daily lives.
Students deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning when they explain to and receive feedback from others.
Providing space and time for students to reflect is critical for moving what they have learned into Long-term Memory.
Response devices boost engagement by encouraging all students to answer every question.
Math games and manipulatives for vision differences support math development for learners with visual needs.
Children's literature can be a welcoming way to help students learn math vocabulary and concepts.
Multicultural resources, such as posters with different types of people and word problems based in different settings, allow all students to see themselves in their math work.
Transforming written text into audio activates different parts of the brain to support learning.
When students explain their thinking process aloud, they recognize the strategies they use and solidify their understanding.
Students develop their skills by listening to and speaking with others in informal ways.
Three-phase lesson format is a problem-solving structure to promote meaningful math learning by activating prior knowledge, letting students explore mathematical thinking, and promoting a math community of learners.
Tossing a ball, beanbag, or other small object activates physical focus in support of mental focus.
Having students verbally repeat information such as instructions ensures they have heard and supports remembering.
Providing visuals to introduce, support, or review instruction activates more cognitive processes to support learning.
Visual supports, like text magnification, colored overlays, and guided reading strip, help students focus and properly track as they read.
Wait time, or think time, of three or more seconds after posing a question increases how many students volunteer and the length and accuracy of their responses.
A word wall helps build the mathematical vocabulary and Language Skills that are necessary for problem solving.
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