For instance, the American Civil War started in 1861, but unless you have a strong interest in the specific timeline of the war, there is nothing special about the starting date that separates that date from any other. What makes 1861 stand apart from 1863 or 1851?
When trying to memorize a date, students can really benefit from a mnemonic system (memory technique) to help them recall the right numbers in the right order.
For memorizing dates it might be helpful to borrow a practice from the London Cockneys.
A Cockney is an inhabitant of the East End of London, England. Cockneys have an old tradition of using rhyming slang as a secret language, of sorts. The tradition originated centuries ago, and it was used by Londons thieves, traders, entertainers, and other members from the lower stratums of society.
In Cockney slang:
Can you believe it? becomes Can you Adam and Eve it?
- Whistle and flute = suit
- White mice = ice
- Tom Hanks = thanks
- Trouble and strife = wife
We can use the same method to remember dates. Simply think of a term that rhymes with your date. Make sure your rhyme is a little silly and that it paints a strong picture in your head.
You can leave off the century, so that 1861, the starting date for the Civil War, becomes 61.
- 61 = Sticky gun
Imagine a Civil War soldier struggling with a gun thats been covered with honey. It may sound silly, but it works!
1773 was the date of the date of the Boston Tea Party. To remember this, you could think:
- 73 = Heavenly tea
1783 marks the end of the Revolutionary War.
- 83 = Ladies bee
The most important element of this method is to come up with a great, amusing image. The funnier it is, the more memorable it will be. If possible, come up with a little story to connect all your mental images.