At a recent seminar, I was talking about strategies for helping students to remember to return something from home. One of the ideas I shared--and one I've used for years in the classroom--had to do with making a dot on the student's thumbnail with a washable marker. It's not only quick and easy to do but the visual nature of the reminder is just flat out more effective than the verbal ones teachers have used forever.
I then mentioned an idea a first grade teacher shared with me about using a small band-aid around a child's finger as a reminder device. I mean, come on now, what mom wouldn't ask, "Honey, what happened to your finger?" when picking up the child from school and seeing a bandaged digit?
That natural question would prompt the child to reflect for a moment on the band-aided finger which, in turn, would flip the light switch in his head.
Pondering the band-aid on his little finger:
Our field trip! It's tomorrow! I need to return the permission slip or I won't be able to go!
Oh, I'm glad you remembered that. I would hate to have you miss the trip to the dinosaur exhibit.
And wouldn't the teacher look like a hero by using an off-the-wall strategy to help the child bring back the signed form? You betcha.
Anyway, I was ready to move on another topic when someone in the group asked, "Couldn't you take a thin strip of paper, write the reminder on it, and then tape or staple the ends of the paper together and turn it into a bracelet that acts as a reminder?"
Wow. That's a great idea.
One of the things I really like about this variation is that the students would eventually be able to take care of the whole thing themselves.