7 Playground Photos That Will Strike Fear in the Heart of ’80s Teachers


Back in the ’80s, playgrounds existed as a world of imagination and adventure for kids. But as fun as they were for children, some of these playgrounds would terrify any teacher who understood the potential dangers that lurked behind every bend. Here are seven playground photos from the 1980s that will strike fear in the heart of anyone who experienced the era as an educator.

1. The Metal Slide

Remember the burning sensation when sitting on those metal slides under the glaring sun? These heating hazards did more than just make children yelp—they had teachers waiting anxiously at the bottom, ready to catch overheated tots and prevent any slide-related injuries.

2. The Old Tire Jungle

Stacks upon stacks of large tires made up what was once considered a fun jungle gym. The fear here came from what could be hiding within those dark crevices or when kids would get stuck underneath a tire halfway through their exploratory journey.

3. No Safety Surfacing

While today’s playground surfaces consist of rubberized materials that cushion falls, many playgrounds in the ’80s featured concrete or asphalt. Fearful teachers knew that one misstep could result in a scraped knee or worse, so they were always on alert.

4. Merry-Go-Rounds

Spinning at breakneck speed, these old-fashioned merry-go-rounds were thrilling for children but often nauseating for ’80s teachers, who could only watch helplessly as their pupils’ faces turned green with each round.

5. Swings Set too Close Together

Swing sets in the ’80s had dangerously close spacing between swings, making it hard for kids to avoid colliding mid-air with each other. This made monitoring swing usage a stressful endeavor for teachers on recess duty.

6. Wooden Monkey Bars with Splinter Potential

Climbing on wooden monkey bars provided endless fun for kids, but teachers knew all too well the possibility of a rogue splinter. They’d wince as each eager child climbed to new heights, hoping there wouldn’t be a trip to the nurse’s office afterward.

7. Teeter-Totters

These iconic see-saws could be loads of fun, but they also held the potential for a sudden drop that would send one child skyrocketing into the air with the risk of losing their grip and falling dramatically onto the unforgiving ground.


These playground photos from the 1980s show a time when danger and fun went hand in hand. While today’s playgrounds prioritize safety, looking back at these images makes one realize how far we’ve come in making playtime safer for everyone involved, much to the relief of present-day teachers everywhere.

21 Effective Memory Strategies for Special Needs Children

Are you looking for strategies to help your special education student improve their memory skills? If so, keep reading.

Teach the learner to identify main points, essential facts, etc.

Teach the learner to rely on resources in their surroundings to recall information (e.g., notes, textbooks, images, etc.).

When the learner is required to recall information, give auditory signals to help the learner remember the information (e.g., keywords, a brief oral description to clue the learner, etc.).

Assess the meaningfulness of the content to the learner. Knowledge acquisition is more likely to happen when the learning content is meaningful, and the learner can relate to real experiences.

Correlate the information being presented to the learner’s prior learning experience s.

Provide the learner specific categories and have the learner name as many things as possible within that category (e.g., objects, persons, places, etc.).

Provide the learner a sequence of words or images and have the learner name the class to which they belong (e.g., objects, persons, places, etc.).

Assist the learner in employing memory aids to recall words (e.g., a name might be linked to another word; for example, “Mr. Green is a very colorful person.”).

Provide the learner a sequence of words describing objects, persons, places, etc., and have the learner find the opposite of each word.

Urge the learner to play word games such as HANGMAN®, SCRABBLE®, Password™, etc.

Get the learner to finish “fill-in-the blank” sentences with appropriate words (e.g., objects, persons, places, etc.).

Inform the learner what to listen for when being given instructions, receiving information, etc.

Assess the appropriateness of the memory learning activities to ascertain (a) if the task is too complicated, and (b) if the duration of time scheduled to finish the task is sufficient.

Tag objects, persons, places, etc., in their surroundings, to help the learner recall their names.

Make sure the learner receives information from an assortment of sources (e.g., texts, discussions, films, slide presentations, etc.) to enable memory/recall.

Teach the learner listening skills (e.g., stop working, look at the person delivering questions and instructions, have appropriate note-taking learning materials, etc.).

Teach the learner instruction-following skills (e.g., stop doing other things, listen carefully, write down essential points, wait until all instructions are given, question any guidelines not grasped, etc.).

Explain objects, persons, places, etc., and have the learner name the things described.

Get the learner to record directions, explanations, instructions, lectures, etc. The learner may replay the information as needed.

Spotlight essential information the learner reads (e.g., instructions, reading tasks, math word problems, etc.).

Consider using an education app to help the student enhance their memory. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

What are Mnemonics?

These are patterns related to words and ideas, which are used to enhance the memory of certain information. When talking about mnemonics, most people think of mnemonic acronyms that help people remember items by using a catchy phrase or word in which the acronym letters are at the start of each of the words in a list. For example, the acronym ‘VIBGYOR’ is used to remember the colors in the optical spectrum in the order they appear – violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.

Some other examples of mnemonics are:

  •         To memorize the order of the Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario), the acronym ‘HOMES’ is used. Another mnemonic for the order is ‘Super Man Helps Every One.’
  •         To remember the sequence of mathematical operations (parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction), the mnemonic used is ‘Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.’ (PEMDAS)
  •         The seven coordinating conjunctions, namely For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So, are remembered using the mnemonic ‘FANBOYS.’
  •         To recall the order of taxonomy (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species), biology students use the mnemonic ‘King Philip Cuts Open Five Green Snakes.’

Mnemonics work by linking easy-to-remember clues with unfamiliar or complex data. Though they often appear to be arbitrary, nonsensical, and illogical, their wording is fun, thus making them memorable. Teachers should introduce their students (with and without disabilities) to mnemonics to help them remember and retrieve the new information they teach. Mnemonics are extremely helpful when a task requires students to memorize certain information rather than understand a concept.

Once the students learn the concept of mnemonics, they can use and adapt these tools for the rest of their lives to ensure important information doesn’t slip through their fingers. There are different types of mnemonics, and which one works the best is dependent on the individual student. Listed below are four basic types:

  •         Music mnemonics: Music is a powerful tool that works well in mnemonics where items in a list to be remembered are combined in a song or rhythmic pattern. Examples are the ‘ABC’ song to learn the English alphabet or the ‘50 Nifty United States’ song that students use to learn all the states alphabetically.
  •         Name mnemonics: Here, the first letter of each word in a list is used to form the name of an item or person, like ROY G. BIV (for remembering the colors of the spectrum). It’s interesting to note how it’s the exact reverse of VIBGYOR.
  •         Word or expression mnemonics: This is perhaps the most popularly used among mnemonics, where the initial letter of every item in a list is organized to form a phrase or word. Examples already discussed earlier are ‘FANBOYS’ and ‘King Philip Cuts Open Five Green Snakes.’
  •         Rhyme mnemonics: Here, the information to be remembered is organized in the form of a poem. For example, ‘In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.’

Some other types are image mnemonics, note organization mnemonics, model mnemonics, connection mnemonics, and spelling mnemonics.

What is Flashbulb Memory?

This is a part of memory that keeps important occurrences majorly in auditory and visual memory. In other words, it’s an extremely vivid and detailed ‘snapshot’ of a moment in which a surprising, significant, and emotionally arousing piece of news was learned. Flashbulb memory often includes details like where the individual was or what he was doing at the time of the event.

In 1977, James Kulik and Roger Brown coined the phrase ‘flashbulb memory’ while studying individuals’ skills to remember surprising and significant events. Though the term ‘flashbulb memory’ means illumination, shock, conciseness, and detail, such memory is far from complete. Some fundamental characteristics of a flashbulb memory are

  •         informant (who shared or told the news),
  •         affect on the individual (how the person felt),
  •         impact on others (how others felt),
  •         repercussion (the event’s significance),
  •         ongoing activities (what others were doing), and
  •         location (where the individual was when the event occurred).

Examples of flashbulb memories are when an individual heard that Donald Trump had won the 2016 Presidential election or about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Since such memories are autobiographical memories, it could happen that the person vividly remembers what he was doing, where he was, and who first broke the news, but may not recall seeing any footage or learning the specifics until a few hours had passed. This is because flashbulb memories are characterized as extremely personal memories of how an event or a fact is related to the person. In autobiographical memories, the main focus is on the individual, while everything else is secondary.

There’s some debate over the accuracy of flashbulb memories. Some researchers found that the retrieval of such memories declines over time, just like it happens for daily memories. It indicates that perhaps flashbulb memories rank higher not essentially because of their accuracy but due to their perceived accuracy. However, some other research findings imply that flashbulb memories are more correct than everyday memories because personal involvement, consequentiality, proximity, and distinction can improve recall.

Studies have found the amygdala plays a significant role in encoding and retrieving the memories of important public events that trigger emotional arousal. Such arousal causes neurohormonal changes that affect the amygdala and possibly impact the nature of memories too. Thus, the amygdala’s role is crucial in creating and retrieving flashbulb memories.

Individual factors like age and culture can create differences in flashbulb memories. Younger adults are usually more likely to create flashbulb memories than older people. In them, the emotional attachment to an experience acts as the chief predictor of recall, while the older adults rely on rehearsal and are likely to forget the context of the experience. However, these older people will form detailed flashbulb memories, just like their younger counterparts, if the event had severely affected them. Usually, the factors impacting the vividness of flashbulb memories are believed to be independent of cultural variation. Still, some research results indicate that cultural factors can cause notable variation in the retrieval of such memories.

What is Procedural Memory?

This is the part of long-term memory with the function of keeping relevant details related to performing various actions and skills. Fundamentally, it’s the memory of how to do particular things (or perform certain procedures), such as walking, tying shoelaces, riding a cycle, and cooking an omelet, among others.

Professional athletes and musicians excel, in part, due to their advanced ability to create procedural memories. This type of memory also plays a vital role in language development, as it lets an individual talk without giving a lot of thought to proper grammar and syntax. Some tasks (in addition to the ones mentioned earlier as examples) that depend on procedural memory are skiing, playing the piano, swimming, ice skating, etc.

Procedural memories are typically unconscious. It means people don’t consciously recall them and can perform the actions without investing much mental effort as they become almost automatic. Perhaps that’s why procedural memory is sometimes called automatic memory or unconscious memory. It’s a subset of implicit memory that uses past experiences to recall matters without thinking about them. It’s different from explicit memory or declarative memory, which is made of events and facts that can be explicitly stored and intentionally recalled or “declared.”

To understand how procedural memory forms, it’s important to know about the different parts of the brain and their roles. In the brain, the cerebellum, parietal cortex, and prefrontal cortex are all involved early on in studying motor skills. The cerebellum’ role is particularly vital, as it’s needed to synchronize the flow of movements necessary for skilled motion and such movements’ timing. While humans have all the neurons they need for life when they’re born, they need to be programmed through experience to carry out tasks like hearing and seeing, and later, talking and walking.

Procedural memories are created when repeated signals strengthen synapses (which are neural junctions). The more frequently an individual performs an action, the more often signals are sent through the same synapses. After a while, these synaptic routes grow stronger, and the actions become automatic and unconscious. Although a particular memory can be as fundamental as creating an association between two nerve cells in the fingertip, other procedural memories are more intricate and take longer to form.

It’s difficult to explain procedural memory verbally as it’s usually depicted by doing. For example, it is nearly impossible to put into words how an individual drives a car without actually driving the vehicle. Though the individual can tell someone that he knows how to drive, there’s no way to prove that he actually knows it without performing the action. However, if he was asked how to drive to his house, he would probably talk about the route fairly easily. This happens because remembering the physical process of doing something (such as driving a car in this case) is a procedural memory while remembering the route an individual will have to take to reach somewhere is a declarative memory.

Procedural memory is said to form an individual’s personality as it’s closely related to creating habits since the individual develops automatic responses to particular situations.

What is Semantic Memory?

This is a part of long-term memory with the duty of keeping facts and common knowledge. In other words, it refers to concepts and facts that people have accumulated throughout their lives. Typically, semantic memory includes matters commonly considered common knowledge. They’re neither immediately nor exclusively drawn from personal experiences. Some examples of semantic memories are:

  •         Recalling that Shakespeare was born in April 1564.
  •         Knowing that giraffes and elephants are both mammals.
  •         Recalling the type of food people in China eat.

Semantic memory is related to facts and continues to grow as people age. Since it has no connection with personal experiences or emotions, it’s different from episodic memory. For example, knowing what happened on 9/11 in the U.S. is semantic memory but remembering where an individual was when 9/11 happened is episodic memory for that person. Another example of semantic memory is knowing what a cat is, while recalling when an individual brought his pet cat home is episodic memory. Thus, episodic memory is specific to an individual, such as his marriage or the birth of a child. However, semantic memory is more general, which can be shared worldwide.

Conditions and consequences of the stored information retrieval are also different between semantic and episodic memory. The circumstances leading to the retrieval of episodic memory can add to or change that memory, which is why such memory gets lost more easily. In contrast, semantic memory remains unchanged with retrieval.

For children and students, semantic memory is extremely vital as it allows them to remember the facts they’re learning and getting evaluated. Even for professionals and those in the workforce, semantic memory is crucial as it lets them retain and retrieve information essential to perform their jobs. For others, semantic memory is important because it allows them to know the surrounding world. If they didn’t have semantic memory, they wouldn’t know that the grass looks green, what a computer or a telephone is, or birds can fly.

There are three chief ways of encoding that people use to assign information to semantic memory. They are meaning, acoustic, and visual. This means people may encode information to semantic memory by

  •         relating them to something else that’s meaningful in their memory;
  •         hearing the information repeatedly; and
  •         through pictures or reading numbers and words.

In the brain, semantic memory could be organized in two different ways for retrieval – thematically and taxonomically. Cross-categorical relationships help thematical organization of information, while hierarchy helps taxonomically organized information. A recent study revealed that children and young adults are likely to use the thematical organization of semantic memory, while adults tend to opt for the taxonomical organization. Past studies have also indicated that with time and as people mature, the organization of semantic memory changes.

Retrieval processes of semantic memory have also triggered a lot of curiosity. Though some neuroscientists and psychologists speculated it to be based on the exact facts, a recent study has found that it’s relational. For example, when a person says that an eagle can fly, it’s because he knows that birds fly, and eagles are birds, which is why they fly.

What is Episodic Memory?

This is a part of long-term memory that stores pictures of a person’s life experiences. Canadian psychologist Endel Tulving introduced the term in 1972. He used it to mention the difference between “knowing” and “remembering.” He identified knowing as recalling facts (and hence semantic) and remembering as a feeling connected to the past (and hence episodic). Tulving also pointed out that autonoetic consciousness, connection to self, and mental time travel were the three key properties of episodic memory.

Some examples of episodic memory include:

  •         Recalling what one did over the Christmas holidays
  •         Recalling one’s first kiss
  •         Recalling how one felt and what the person did on a family holiday

Closely associated with this is what researchers mention as autobiographical memory or one’s memories of the person’s own life history. As one can imagine, autobiographical and episodic memories play a vital role in a person’s self-identity.

People might have different kinds of episodic memories as the following:

Specific events: These involve recollecting specific moments from a person’s autobiographical history. An example is recalling the first time one dove into the sea. Information about particular events is associated with the situational context in which they happened in the episodic memory system. The person recalls the information about the event and its context of happening.

General events: These involve recalling the feelings tied to a particular type of experience. In general, recalling what it’s like to dive into the sea is an example of this kind of episodic memory. One might not remember every occasion wherein the person dove into the sea. But the person does have a general recollection of having dived multiple times into the sea, upon which his/her feeling is based.

Personal facts: This is the information intricately associated with an individual’s experiences constituting personal facts. Knowing the name of one’s first dog or the color of one’s first bicycle are some examples.

Flashbulb memories: These are highly detailed and exceptionally vivid snapshots of circumstances or moments wherein one learned surprising or important pieces of news. Recalling the moment one heard about a major tragedy like the 9/11 attacks or the death of a close friend may be an example. It’s important to note that there’s much debate about whether a flashbulb memory’s vividness originates from a virtual flash generated by the emotional intensity of a particular experience or from a tendency to rehearse consequential moments that can extremely strengthen the memory.

Researchers have identified that episodic memory may also be interdependent with semantic memory. On learning activities, participants did better when fresh information was aligned with existing knowledge, proposing that a task’s semantic knowledge offers a framework for new episodic learning. Researchers have also identified that episodic memories play a role in retrieving semantic memories. 

In experiments where participants were required to create lists of items in specific categories, those who could depend on episodic memories did better than amnesiac participants who couldn’t access episodic memories. Studies also suggest that there’re sex differences in episodic memory. For example, research has found that women tend to perform better than men on episodic memory function tests, especially on verbal-based episodic memory.

What is a Rehearsal?

This is a method usually utilized to improve the storage of information, using a great deal of information repetition. Memory researchers use this term to mention mental techniques for helping people remember information. Its technical meaning isn’t very different from its everyday use by people. Actors rehearse their scripts so that they wouldn’t forget them. Similarly, if people want to retain information over time, there’re strategies for improving future recall. There’re two main types of rehearsal: maintenance rehearsal and elaborative rehearsal.

Maintenance rehearsal: This involves continuously repeating the material one needs to remember. This method is useful in retaining information over the short term. Almost everyone has faced the incident of looking up a phone number and eventually forgetting it (or its part) before dialing it. This demonstrates the fact that new information will fade from memory pretty quickly unless people make a purposeful effort to retain it. Maintenance rehearsal typically includes rote repetition, either covertly or out loud. It’s useful for maintaining comparatively small amounts of information in memory for short periods but isn’t likely to impact retention in the long run.

Elaborative rehearsal: This is a more effective method to memorize information and maintain it in the long-term memory. Elaborative rehearsal includes associating new information with information already present in the long-term memory. There’re countless occasions on which learners are required to remember large volumes of complex information. In these circumstances, reciting the information lots of times isn’t going to help commit it to long-term memory. Elaboration strategies that engage the student in comprehending the material are effective, both for retaining information and retrieving it later. Elaboration can take different forms.

Some effective examples of using this method to learn and remember the human body’s bones include:

Translating information into own words: Instead of simply reading what the study guide mentions about which bone is connected to the next one, the student can try to rephrase the information and then explain it to another person.

Grouping terms: Students can outline different categories or characteristics of the bones and mark those that fit into each group. They can identify all the bones in the foot, list them in a category, and then follow the same method for other body parts.

Using a mnemonic strategy: Mnemonic strategies can be highly useful in learning terms or names. For instance, students can take the first letter of the bones in the hand and arm and form a new word where every letter refers to one of the bones they need to remember.

While rehearsal can help anyone remember things, some groups might find it especially helpful, including those with early dementia or learning disabilities. Patients with conditions such as fibromyalgia that create “brain fog” might also find rehearsal an effective method to improve memory retention. Multiple studies have been carried out to assess the usefulness of rehearsing information to be able to recall it later. For instance, a 2015 study discovered that rehearsing video clips’ details immediately after watching them substantially enhanced recall of those videos weeks later.

What is Short-Term or Working Memory?

This is a part of the memory that keeps a very minimum level of information, only for a couple of seconds. It’s commonly proposed that short-term memory can hold just seven items simultaneously, plus or minus two. Most of the information in short-term memory will be stored for around twenty to thirty seconds, but it can be only seconds if active maintenance or rehearsal of the information is prevented. 

Some information can remain in it for up to a minute, but the majority of information spontaneously decays pretty quickly unless the person uses rehearsal strategies like mentally repeating the information or saying it aloud. The information in short-term memory is also highly susceptible to interference. Any new information that enters it will quickly displace the old one. Similar items in the environment may also interfere with short-term memory. For instance, one may have a more difficult time remembering someone else’s name if the person is in a noisy, crowded room or if the person was thinking of what to say to that other person instead of paying attention to the name.

The amount of information that short-term memory can store can vary. According to psychologist George Miller, individuals can store between five and nine items in it. According to more recent research, individuals can store around four pieces or chunks of information in short-term memory.

Memory researchers often use the three-store model to describe human memory. According to this model, memory comprises three fundamental stores: sensory, short-term, and long-term. And each of these can be differentiated based on storage duration and capacity. Short-term memory is brief and limited, while long-term memory comes with a seemingly countless capacity that lasts years. Since short-term memory is limited in both duration and capacity, the retention of memories needs transferring of the information from it to long-term memory. There’re different ways that short-term memories can be transferred to long-term memory. However, the exact processes for how this occurs remain controversial. 

The Atkinson-Shiffrin model proposed that all short-term memories were automatically transferred to long-term memory after a particular period of time. More recently, researchers have suggested that some mental editing happens and that only specific memories are chosen for long-term retention. Factors such as interference and time can impact how information is encoded in memory.

For most people, it’s quite common to have an episode of memory loss occasionally. They may lose their keys, forget the date, have trouble finding the correct word, or miss a monthly payment from time to time. Still, if one constantly forgets things, it may be frustrating, irritating, and even generate the fear that the person is getting Alzheimer’s. Short-term memory loss might even make people worried that their brain is too dependent on devices such as smartphones instead of memory to recall information. 

However, mild memory loss isn’t always an indication of a problem, and specific memory modifications are a normal part of aging. Non-permanent factors such as drug or alcohol misuse, medication side effects, depression, sleep deprivation, grief, stress, and fatigue can also cause short-term memory loss.

Strategies To Enhance the Memory Of Students

Teaching students who have a poor memory or who are unable to concentrate for long periods is challenging. It can almost seem impossible when discussing specific topics that require memorization. 

For this reason, educators should use various techniques to enhance the memory of their students. In this article, we will discuss three ways in which teachers could make it slightly easier for students to memorize the work they learn during lessons. 

Teach the Same Material Over and Over Again

One of the best ways in which work can be drilled into the memory of students is by teaching it over and over again. However, this does not mean that the teacher should spend multiple lessons simply using the same plan and discussing the same things. 

Instead, they should dedicate time to various activities and practice exercises that talk about the work differently. For example, one exercise could be a match-the-column activity, while another could be a research project. 

Use Visual Images and Other Memory Strategies

Every student learns differently. For this reason, the teacher needs to incorporate different teaching methods when discussing the topic. Images are often extremely useful for making work easier to memorize because students visualize the images when thinking about the work. 

With that being said, various memory strategies can make work easier to learn and remember. For example, many teachers enjoy using PowerPoint or YouTube videos to capture the full attention of students

You could also have a class discussion to make the students feel more engaged.

Use Handouts To Give Students a Basic Idea Of the Work Beforehand

It can be challenging to memorize work that is completely foreign to you. Thus, teachers should try handing out worksheets related to the lesson before going over the material. 

In this way, the students will be able to go over the work in their free time and gain a general idea of what they will be learning in the future. 

Concluding Thoughts

To do well in school and understand the work, many students rely on their memory. With that being said, certain sections of work are tough to memorize. For this reason, teachers should incorporate various methods to make their lessons easier to remember. 

They can do this by teaching the same work over and over again. Also, using visual images, videos, and PowerPoints is a great way to capture students’ attention.