29 January 2011

rote memorization is okay

I believe in the merits of rote memorization; many others like me do not, and that's perfectly okay by me. I've been in education long enough to have my own sense of what works, my own classroom-based, teacher-researcher data. (Damn, I miss being in the classroom.)

Young One has just received her third memorization assignment from la maestra since September. The first task involved rhymes about the vowel sounds, the second was the obligatory address and phone number task, and this, the third, is a short poem with the days of the week. All are entirely appropriate for a first grader. (Italians start the week with Lunedi, Monday, instead of Domenica, btw.)

She is actually quite quick with memorization (Thank the heavens!) and doesn't require much from us in terms of practicing. I do aim, however, to give her tips and tricks that she may use later when the going gets tough. It's never too early to perfect those study skills, you know.

My idea was simply to video her reciting the poem and then replay it, thus giving her a chance to see herself in action, to see her strengths and weaknesses. (Yes, I do think like this, really, I do.) She did that a couple of times & while she was doing so, Richard fingered his guitar in the other room.

She got an idea.
I encouraged her to go for it.
She did.
(Domenica is the best, if you can hold on to the end of the video.)

I wonder how well she'll do in the classroom without her accompanying guitarist?

We never did discuss strengths or weaknesses.
She demanded that I not share the end product on Facebook. Technically, I'm not.
The guitarist is equally unhappy of my posting his practice in the background; I assured him you all are a kind lot who would never mention the mistakes you hear.

Happy Weekend.

Update:  She just reported that she scored perfectly, which is not as important to me as you might think.


  1. A-DORABLE! Maddy's an incredible singer....and I didn't notice any guitar mistakes : )

  2. Ha. Thanks, Dana. She is a ham, but only for me and her dad . . . never for another audience.

  3. Love it...can't wait to see you all in April!

  4. Adorable! I totally agree with you in memorization theory. I use similar methods to memorize, came in handy as an art history major! I'm also very visual so I "see" the notes I took.
    Have a good weekend!

  5. I had to laugh when she really got into it and started to close her eyes as she sang. LOVE! And the kisses at the end...you cannot get better than that.

  6. That was beautiful...you are so blessed to have a husband who can play the guitar and a daughter willing to sing along. What a beautiful little voice she has. You will treasure these little videos when she is grown and gone...adorable...

  7. thank you, thank you, thank you.
    yesterday she refused to let her good friend see it. soon I'll have to start respecting her limits on this here blog. . . yikes.