Substitute teacher looking for quick, fun things to teach kids

Hello. I am a substitute teacher. Some days the teacher does not leave adequate lesson plans to fill the entire class period, so I have them memorize something, and they love it! Things I have done in the past (gleaned from my own ideas, Nelson Dellis’ book and others, and this forum):

  • Stephen Covey‘s seven habits- car memory palace
  • 10 highest mountain peaks- outdoor pool area memory palace
  • 10 most populous countries-body memory palace
  • Countries of the world

These are mainly geography related, but I would like To have something related to the other subjects I sub in, so am looking for ideas of things to memorize in middle school and high school English/language arts classes. Also, science…I can do the periodic table, but any other ideas are welcome!


English: Shakespeare play titles (in order written), classic novel titles and authors (in order written)

Science: internal human organs

Math: digits of pi (first 10-20 or so). For this, you could use a number shape system. Not that they couldn’t learn Dominic or Major system, but that’s a bit much to squeeze into a day’s lesson.

How to memorize passwords (use fake ones, obviously!)

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This is one that reaches childeren biology and cosmology.

My Velociraptor Ethereally Murdered Just Seven Unicorns Nearly Perfectly

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto

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typo: “reaches” is “teaches”

You might find some ideas in the #memory-challenges section.

Some quick ideas:


Great ideas. Thank you! I recognize your username as the person that had great ideas on memorizing the Canadian provinces and capitals. So thank you for those too!

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Hi Julie,
How do you mean by “car memory palace” ? How do you use it?

In Kevin Horsley’s book, unlimited memory, he used a car and it’s various interior and exterior places to Remember the seven habits. For example, for “be proactive,” you picture a bee swinging a golf club (a bee golf pro) at the front of the car on its grill. Next stop, the hood, then windshied, driver’s seat, passenger seat, etc. it’s just a memory palace that the kids are already very familiar with.


I remember it now actually. I’ve read the book a while ago, and it was on a page as an illustration with 7 areas of the car with lots of actions going on it. I thought it was a good idea. But I totally forgot about it until you just reminded me of it :slight_smile: And It’s just given me an idea for another small palace on the fly. Thanks!

As for an idea for teaching the kids some fun facts, I’d suggest you teach them The Presidents of the USA, and maybe as an addition The Kings & Queens Of Britain and England, perhaps then last 10 or so.