In thinking about how memory works, it is critical to realize that each individual has a different way of processing and remembering. There is more than one way to store a given memory, just as there are often multiple routes to drive to a destination. One person may choose to go to the grocery store by route a whereas another person may prefer route. Similarly with memory: One person may prefer to remember a list by singing it whereas another person may prefer to visualize an association. There is no one correct way. This article presents a variety of strategy suggestions. We need to pay attention to our student's reactions to the strategies and help each child select and use strategies that are comfortable and most closely match his or her preferred learning style. Back to top, the rip toolbox for memory.
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The diagram in figure 1 is a representation of the paper memory system: Information moves from. Sensory Input through, sensory memory and, short-Term Memory and eventually into, long-Term Memory (Richards, 2003,. Information "grabbed or made meaningful, moves on to short-term memory. Our brains are programmed to pay attention to the unusual - something different. Incorporating novelty such as humor, movement, the or music, into strategies helps the information attract our attention. The use of strategies plays a very critical role in structuring input to help it move into long-term memory in a meaningful and memorable format. To establish a more durable memory, we need to prevent incoming information from being "dumped." we accomplish this by associating it meaningfully with knowledge that already exists. If the information is important and is rehearsed, it moves to another part of the brain to be coded and then is eventually stored in long-term memory. In figure 1, a file cabinet represents long-term memory. The entire memory is not filed intact in a location, rather, the specific components of the experience are each stored as individual files.
The memory process, memory is a highly complex process involving multiple components working simultaneously. Our description of isolated components is only a representation because in reality our brains process information in an integrated fashion. Everything begins as sensory input from our environment. Using our sensory systems, we see, taste, hear, or feel a sensation or stimuli. We have a mechanism to filter out and discard irrelevant or unnecessary data, owl such as the feel of the carpet as we walk or the sound of the air conditioner. This same filtering mechanism organizes relevant data into meaningful patterns. In figure 1, the funnel and the filter represent these processes: sensory input and sensory memory. Figure 1 Memory process schema.
And that—truly reaching your audience and offering them something of value—is perhaps as good a definition of successful writing as ive ever heard. You might also like. Richards, daddy we all use strategies throughout our day to remember the variety of facts and ideas we need to retain. Strategy use forms a critical part write of our learning experience. Strategies help us organize information into patterns and encourage purposeful learning. Our brains are selective. Brains tend to remember information that forms a memorable pattern. It is valuable for us, as teachers, therapists, and parents, to have a basic understanding of how we remember information so we better appreciate the need for strategies. As we understand the purpose, we become better equipped to help our students understand and use strategies.
These reactions seem truly significant when they occur in our own lives, and revisiting them in our writing allows us to experience those powerful feelings once again. For this reason it is hard to grasp that the account of our loss might have little or no impact on a reader who did not know this loved one, or does not know you, and who does not have the emotional reaction already. In other words, there are certain private moments that feel exhilarating to revisit, and private sentences that seem stirring to write and to reread as we edit our early drafts, but they are not going to have the same effect in the public arena. Final Thoughts In the last twenty years of teaching writing, the most valuable lesson that I have found myself able to share is the need for us as writers to step outside of our own thoughts, to imagine an audience made up of real people. This audience does not know us, they are not by default eager to read what we have written, and though thoughtful literate readers are by and large good people with large hearts, they have no intrinsic stake in whatever problems (or joys) we have. This is the public, the readers you want to invite into your work. Self-expression may be the beginning of writing, but it should never be the endpoint. Only by focusing on these anonymous readers, by acknowledging that you are creating something for them, something that has value, something that will enrich their existence and make them glad to have read what you have written, will you find a way to truly reach.
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The best writers never settle for the insight they find on the surface of whatever subject they are exploring. They are constantly hypothesis trying to lift the surface layer, to see what interesting ideas or questions might lie beneath. To illustrate, lets look at another exemplary spinal essay, silence the pianos, by Floyd Skloot. Here is his opening: a year ago today, my mother stopped eating. She was ninety-six, and so deep in her dementia that she no longer knew where she was, who i was, who she herself was. All but the last few seconds had vanished from the vast scroll of her past.
Essays exploring a loved ones decline into dementia or the painful loneliness of a parents death are among the most commonly seen by editors of magazines and judges of essay contests. There is a good reason for this: These events can truly shake us to our core. But too often, when writing about such a significant loss, the writer focuses on the idea that what has happened is not fair and that the loved one who is no longer around is so deeply missed. Are these emotions true? Are they interesting for a reader? Often, they simply are not. The problem is that there are certain things readers already know, and that would include the idea that the loss of a loved one to death or dementia is a deep wound, that it seems not fair when such heartbreak occurs, and that we oftentimes.
I sit at my desk now, surrounded by versions of paragraphs and pages of this book, considering that question. Where is the lighted streetcar sign in that paragraph? Well, consider that Rodriguez has introduced the key characters who will inhabit his essay: himself and his mother, informed us that writing is central to his life, clued us in that this is also a story of immigration and assimilation (gringos and provided us with. These four elements—generational conflict between author and parent, the isolation of a writer, cultural norms and difference, and the question of what is public and what is private—pretty much describe the heart of Rodriguezs essay. Or to put it another way, at every stop along the way—each paragraph, each transition—we are on a streetcar passing through these four thematic neighborhoods, and Rodriguez has given us a map so we can follow along.
Find a healthy distance, another important step in making your personal essay public and not private is finding a measure of distance from your experience, learning to stand back, narrow your eyes, and scrutinize your own life with a dose of hale and hearty skepticism. Why is finding a distance important? Because the private essay hides the author. The personal essay reveals. And to reveal means to let us see what is truly there, warts and all. The truth about human nature is that we are all imperfect, sometimes messy, usually uneven individuals, and the moment you try to present yourself as a cardboard character—always right, always upstanding (or always wrong, a total mess)—the reader begins to doubt everything you say. Even if the reader cannot articulate his discomfort, he knows on a gut level that your perfect (or perfectly awful) portrait of yourself has to be false. And then youve lost the reader. Pursue the deeper Truth.
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Or: Let me tell you about what happened remote to me last week. And there are more artful ways. Readers tend to appreciate the more artful ways. For instance, let us look at how Richard Rodriguez opens his startling essay. Secrets: Shortly after I published my first autobiographical essay seven years ago, my mother wrote me a letter pleading with me never again to write about our family life. Write about something else in the future. Our family life is private. And besides: Why do you need to tell the gringos about how divided you feel from the family?
neighborhood named Desire. In Williams day, you could see the streetcar downtown with a lighted sign at the front telling folks where the vehicle was headed. The playwright saw this streetcar regularly—and also saw, of course, the metaphorical possibilities of the name. Though this streetcar no longer runs, there is still a bus called Desire in New Orleans, and youve certainly seen streetcars or buses in other cities with similar, if less evocative, destination indicators: Uptown, downtown, Shadyside, west End, Prospect Park. People need to know what streetcar they are getting onto, you see, because they want to know where they will be when the streetcar stops and lets them off. Excuse the rather basic transportation lesson, but it explains my first suggestion. An essay needs a lighted sign right up front telling the reader where they are going. Otherwise, the reader will be distracted and nervous at each stop along the way, unsure of the destination, not at all able to enjoy the ride. Now there are dull ways of putting up your lighted sign: This essay is about the death of my beloved dog.
Like all artists of any form, essay writers occasionally find themselves breaking away from tradition or common practice in search of a fresh approach. Rules, as they say, are meant to be broken. But even groundbreakers learn by observing what has worked before. If you are not already in the habit of reading other writers with an analytical eye, start forming that habit now. When you run across a moment in someone elses writing that seems yardage somehow electric on the page, stop, go back, reread the section more slowly, and ask yourself, What did she do here, put into this, or leave out, that makes it so successful? Similarly and often just as important, if you are reading a piece of writing and find yourself confused, bored, or frustrated, stop again, back up, squint closely at the writing, and form a theory as to how, when, or where the prose went bad. Identifying the specific successful moves made by others increases the number of arrows in your quiver, ready for use when you sit down to start your own writing.
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Powerful, surprising, and fascinating personal essays are also reader-friendly essays that keep the reader squarely in focus. So how do you go about writing one? In this excerpt from. Crafting the personal Essay, author Dinty. Moore shares a variety of paper methods for crafting an essay that keeps the readers desires and preferences in mind, resulting in a resonate and truly memorable piece. As moore says, Privacy is for your diary. Essays are for readers. Good writing is never merely about following a set of directions.