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Teach Mnemonic Devices
with Chiro Heroes

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Mnemonic Devices

Repetition is the best way to learn, but often you can make this process easier. A mnemonic (or “mnemonic device”) is something meant to assist memory.

Teacher Resources

A good example of a mnemonic in English: “How do you distinguish principal from principle? The principal is your pal.” The following slides will provide both examples of and sources for Chinese mnemonics.

  • Theory: This lesson focuses on mnemonic devices and learning new ways to learn Chinese.
  • Play: The students continue the game from where they have left off.
  • Share & Discuss: This slide provides tasks that further help your students to learn techniques how they can teach themselves Chinese.

Chinese Mnemonic #1

enter image description here

Teacher Resources

This is a good example of a Chinese mnemonic: think of the word “everyone” just as two “person” characters - helping you remember two Chinese characters! The source of this image has more of these if you want to share them with your students.

Image Source: Chinese Mnemonic, TED Blog.

Chinese Mnemonic #2

土 tǔ

Definition: dirt, soil, earth

Remember: Think of a cross stuck into the dirt to mark a location.

Teacher Resources

Here’s another example: thinking of rules on how these characters look makes them far easier to recognize. This can be very effective when trying to learn complex characters, which by themselves are often combinations of other, simpler characters.

Source: Chinese Mnemonics Tumblr.

Making Your Own Mnemonics

Having trouble learning a certain character? Make up your own mnemonic! What does the character look like? Can you think of a phrase that helps?

Teacher Resources

It’s a good idea to encourage the students to make their own mnemonics - what makes sense and is efficient for one student may not work for the next one. Furthermore, different characters can be more difficult for different people!

For more good examples on mnemonics, you can refer to the sources below (these include the sources already mentioned above). If you so wish, you can provide this list for the children as well, or you can show them more examples.



Lesson Goal

Play Chiro Heroes! Continue on with the game.

At some point, pause the game and write down four characters. Choose these characters based on which you think are hard to remember (write both the real and pinyin versions!)

How to Play

After you've launched the game, enter your Class and Student IDs

Gameplay screenshot

Then, to begin, select Start.

If you are continuing a game from last time, select Continue instead.

Gameplay screenshot

Share & Discuss

Share & Discuss

  • Think of mnemonics for the four characters you wrote down.
  • Next, you can also search the Internet for additional mnemonics for these characters.
  • After doing the above, have a classmate quiz you (in pinyin) to write the characters you made mnemonics for. Swap roles!