Monday, February 7, 2011

W.H.I.R.L. on Acronyms and Abbreviations

How many of you remember when l.a.s.e.r. was an acronym?  I mean I know that it still is, but I remember being tested on the letter's meanings.  Acronyms and first letters of list and processes are one of the best devices that can be employed in remembering.  

When learning lists or procedures- 
make something up;
then make it funny!

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.  This sentence is used to remind learners of the correct order of mathematical operations.  Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and then Subtraction.  Until this process is automatic students are often encourage to write it at the top of their papers.  If one of the operations is done out of order, the resulting answer can be wrong.  

This is how WE say it- Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, she farted!  Yes, the more random and disgusting (especially for boys), the more memorable.  I always whisper, "She farted."  Does it add two more operations to the process?  No.  Have I ever encountered a student that thought it did?  No.  The extra two words have created a vision of that aunt full of flatulence and low on manners.

For those of you teaching in Texas, there is a little test called T.A.K.S.  Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills a standardized acronym in itself which will soon be replaced by a standardized abbreviation E.O.C. - End of Course.  In the T.A.K.S. E.L.A. (English / Language Arts) handbook there is guide to how the essay should be written.  

Peopletarians- Pretty Cows Really Eat People.  That's our way to remember Pre-Write, Compose, Revise, Edit, Publish.  Peopletarians!  

When one adds the funny summation word or sentence when explaining the process they can just use that phrase for assistance.  A simple announcement before an assignment of, "She farted!"  Will have students scribbling PEMDAS on their paper tops instantly.

Give it a w.h.i.r.l. (writing here in real life)!

P.S.  The F.A.N.B.O.Y.S. JOINED together to make a fabulous boy band!


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