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One of the most popular method of memorizing the presidents is to use mnemonic devices. Mnemonic devices allow you to create a phrase, sentence or even a word made up of parts of the presidents' names. The easiest way to do this with the United States presidents is by grouping the presidents in small groups of ten or less. Create a different mnemonic device for each group. This also helps to keep the presidents in order.
- For example, you could create the phrase Wilson's ants just made Molly and Jessica vanish by using the first letters of the last name of the first eight presidents: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.
- For the next eight, just remember He told people they'd found perfect bliss. The first letters of those words stand for Harrison, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan.
- And then from 16 through 24, Lincoln just got hurt, God almighty, crying hard stands for Lincoln, Johnson, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison.
- Next comes Crazy man, really. They would have captured him rapidly: Cleveland, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt.
- Then Today everyone knows John never found comfort is for Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter.
- For the last five presidents, remember Running backs can be overrated for Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama.
In addition to mnemonic devices, you can also use a similar memorization technique called word association. Associate each president's name with a word or phrase. You can then place the words in order by president or even alphabetically, if you do not need to remember them in order. When you recall the words, you remember the president's name.
You do not have to use words for your mnemonic device. You can also create an acronym using the first letter of the first or last name of each president. Group the presidents so you can create a single word from each group. Memorize each word and you'll be able to remember the presidents' names.
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Songs have a way of getting stuck in your head in no time. Even when you least expect it, you find yourself singing along to a catchy melody. What better way to memorize the presidents than by singing. Create or find an existing song about the presidents. You can order the presidents based around a melody, sing a mnemonic device or even sing phrases with the presidents' names inserted.
Songs are available from many sites such as YouTube or you can create your own. You do not need to have any type of musical talent to create a memorization song. The song is only for you, so create something based around an existing song you like. This will make memorizing the presidents through song easier.
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Facts and Image Association
As strange as it may sound, sometimes it is easier to remember facts or images than just a list of names. When you have something to associate the name with, it is easier to memorize. For this memorization technique, associate each president with a fact, such as place of birth or famous quote, or an image, such as the president's portrait or something memorable from their term. Use flash cards with the fact or image to help memorize the president.
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Any Way That Works
These are by no means the only proven methods for memorizing the presidents of the United States. Every person learns differently. If one method doesn't work for you or your student, try a different one. Some learn better with images while others may learn better with a song. The best method to learn the presidents is by combining at least two memorization methods. This allows you two different ways to memorize the names, ensuring they stick in your mind.
About.com – Memorize the Presidents - http://homeworktips.about.com/od/historyhomework/ss/presidents.htm
Pseudonumerology – How to Remember the Names and Dates of All the American Presidents - http://folk.ntnu.no/krill/36.htm
University of Wisconsin – Memory Tips and Tricks - http://www.clubtnt.org/my_collegian/memory_tips_&_tricks.htm
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Wars / Charles Willson Peale