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Electronic Organizers | Hand Held PDA's | Word Organizers| Memory Strategies

There are several tools and strategies to aid students' memory and attention; to help remember schedules, sequences, facts and concepts and to locate materials. Many of the following suggestions can be created by teachers and family members for different activities throughout the day. Specific resources are noted.

Folders: use folders and binders; clearly labeled and color-coded

Boardmaker - click to enlarge
enlarge image
Visual schedules: Boardmaker

Visual Schedules Use Boadmaker pictures to use this strategy of visual cues for sequences of activities, steps, behavior management, etc.

Post-its, index cards/card holders can be posted in the student's environment for reminders

Monthly Calendars posted in a visible spot helps the student to understand time relationships

Daily organizer/planner- Both paper and electronic versions assist in remembering schedules
and tasks to be addressed

Prompt cards Look at this example that illustrates the steps required to "Open email".

Check lists Feel free to use these To Do Lists (Consider changing the title to Did I?)

Labels on everything! Pictures, photos, word walls, illustrations


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Related Module Link
Low-tech Tools: Specialty Devices

Electronic Organizers

Some students are more successful with electronic systems that can provide audible and/or graphical cues. They range from simple pager devices with reminder alarms to organizers that address specific activities such as homework assignments, steps of task, etc. Consider devices that the student can record into as well as playback.

Also check out the Low-tech Tools module for Specialty Devices.

Time Pad (Attainment)
This hand held device is used to record up to 5 messages that can be activated by a timer. Messages such as "copy the Math assignment from the board" or "Bring sneakers to gym class".

Step Pad (Attainment)
Ideal for recording step-by-step instructions. Teachers can record each part of an activity or assignment. Student then presses "play" to hear the cue as often as needed; presses "forward" to hear the next step.

For students who prefer reading the message, look for paging devices that notify the student with quiet vibration.

Voice Recorders
There are several handheld personal note recorders that student/teachers record assignments, instructions, etc.

Memo TalkerMemo Talker (Attainment)
Memo Talker is a 20 second single message recording device.


The Mobile Digital recorder
The Mobile Digital recorder is compatible with both IB< and Dragon software. The student can download his recorded thoughts to a document through voice recognition software programs.


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Hand Held PDA's

Specialized software has been developed for Personal Digital Assistants (PDA's) to assist students with memory impairments. This technology is becoming increasingly popular in school environments.

Schedule Assistant (AbleLink Technologies)
Schedule Assistant is a software application designed to help individuals with disabilities independently manage their day-to-day schedules. It runs on Pocket PC palmtop personal computers (PDA's) using the Windows CE operating system, and allows caregivers to record audio messages or reminders that will automatically activate at the prescribed time and day.

Pocket CoachPocket Coach (AbleLink Technologies)
This software application for Casio PDA's using Windows CE that can provide fully customizable, step-by-step audio instructions or reminders. It includes both graphics and audible directions for task completion.

When using either AbleLink Program, the buttons on the PDA become inactive; all selections and controls are made on the touch screen panel.

PEAT™ (BrainAid)
PEAT™ software is designed to provide cueing and planning assistance for people with memory, attention, and cognitive disorders. A program is created on the computer and sent to a portable device. Students use the device to attend to specifically programmed activities.


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Word Organizers & Concept Webbing

Inspiration (3/02)
Visual learning techniques - graphical ways of working with ideas and presenting information - teach students to clarify their thinking, and to process, organize and prioritize new information. Visual diagrams reveal patterns, interrelationships and interdependencies. They also stimulate creative thinking.

Strategies exist that visually capture ideas generated during brainstorming sessions and group them into concept maps that link ideas to each other in thematic and hierarchal ways. These visual diagrams can be used both in group and individual activities. Both no-tech and software applications are available for this highly effective organizational strategy:

Create Word Walls - The walls are created entirely of words that relate to different themes and activities. They are present in the classroom to help students identify and use them in reading and writing activities. Words can be moved as relationships are discussed. Use word cards/post it's or software programs to create concept maps, idea maps; web; matrix; venn diagram; continuum (timeline, shades, etc). Do it as a group activity or individually.

Word Wall Lists K-3

Word Wall Activities

Software Resources for concept webbing and visual organizing

Inspiration screen shot
Inspiration enlarge image
  • Inspiration and Kidspiration offer electronic concept mapping with simultaneous outlining function. Elements can be added to either version and reflected in both.
Draft Builder screen shot
Draft Builder enlarge image
  • Draft Builder (Don Johnston, Inc)- outlining and graphical versions share the same screen so that relationships between levels and items are apparent.

NOTE: Check out this Great Resource for Study Strategies using graphic organizers!
Computer Based Study Strategies Project (CBSS) Project
Examples of graphic organizers for writing, reading, remembering information and timelining.


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Memory Strategies

There are several available sources for "mnemonic devices" (tricks for remembering facts) that include repetition and association techniques for classroom rules, facts, lists and schedules. See how many of these you use!

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