The Magic of Mnemonics in Jesus’ Time and Today

Dear Reader:

Jesus’ teaching style was one I emulated as a teacher-instructing through stories… or as known in Biblical times… parables. Jesus used simple word pictures/ parables to help people understand who God was and what His kingdom looked like…

He loved to use illustrations to reach the heart of His listeners through their imagination. Like a skillful artist Jesus painted lively pictures with short and simple words-a mustard seed, a well, a wedding, a flask of wine, a lost coin, a fig tree, or a priceless pearl. His parables were like buried treasures waiting to be discovered. Items from everyday life that all His listeners could easily conjure up in their imagination -and-most importantly retain in their memories.

Later famous artists, like Rembrandt would select parables that moved them spiritually and conveyed the power of a father’s love and forgiveness.

As a history major I soon learned the power of mnemonics in memorizing states, countries, amendments-historical dates, etc

Lyrics, acronyms, riddles, tunes, art were all wonderful mnemonics!

So as a teacher I looked for ways to help my students learn lists of information and one of the most fun was Will Cleveland’s Yo Millard Fillmore-how to memorize the Presidents in Twenty Minutes! I can vouch for the claim! 👍

I remember Will telling me that he got his children to come up with a funny picture for each President to help the imagination retain the information. ( On a long road trip) Later he got the most talented local artist Tate Nation to draw the accompanying illustration by each President. The three of us traveled to educational conferences around the southeast and had a ball!

So when my son Tommy saw where they had just published the new 30th updated ( through 46-Biden) anniversary edition I immediately got a copy!

On the copy of the book in the title photo you might see a giant ” washing” machine on the White House lawn where a ” ton” of dirty clothes wait to be cleaned-Our first President-Washington! And the fun begins!

So until tomorrow-I love how the new edition ends -with space for every child reader to create a visual clue that sounds like his/her surname-perhaps a future President in the making?

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

My newest addition to the side garden-Petunia Cha-Ching Cherry!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to The Magic of Mnemonics in Jesus’ Time and Today

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Thanks for the tip about the new edition. I had them to come several times to OES and shsre their work and sell their books. They were great….


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Cada McCoy, who ran the book store on what is today short Central…introduced me to the ‘boys’- Will and Tate- since she knew I did an entire unit- almost nine weeks on The Presidents…we immediately hit it off and did workshops at reading conferences for elementary teachers in Hilton Head, Beaufort and other locations. Cada went with us promoting the bookstore and new books/authors… those are some of my favorite memories in education.


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