For revision purposes, creating memory words, with each letter representing the first letter of another key word, is an effective way of getting students to reflect on factual information and construct an effective way of recalling a larger amount of information.
At the start of a topic too, it can also be used as a technique for encouraging students to read the text more closely and actively reflect on fresh knowledge.
Step 1: Summary words
After identifying key factors, events, causes or effects, challenge students firstly to provide a one-word summary for each one.
For example, here is a summary of 6 problems facing the Peacemakers in 1918. Students need to add a heading in each box to summarise its message (e.g. “Rash bargains”, “Deadly Disease” and so on).
Step 2: Acronym for revision
An acronym is a word made up of letters, each of which symbolises another word. For example, the ADVENT verbs in French are those which take “Etre” in the past tense (aller, devenir, venir, entrer, naitre, tomber). Students have to now produce their own acronym of 6 letters to summarise the six titles they came up with earlier. They may have to change some of these so that they have a selection of letters from which you can make a word (i.e. a combination of consonants and vowels).
For the Treaty of Versailles, I get students to remember the acronym ’TRAWL’:
- T = Territory
- R = Reparations
- A = Armaments
- W = War Guilt
- L = League of Nations
Then within this, I encourage students to remember the “SCRAP” over Territory:
- S = Saar
- C = Colonies
- R = Rhineland
- A = Alsace-Lorraine
- P = Polish Corridor
Taking it further
Students add an appropriate image in each box from a Google Image Search to symbolise the issues described within it.