For many of us we just throw things in the closet.  Some have a dirty clothes hamper, so things get thrown in there. Unattached males, sometimes just throw in the closet. There was an episode of Cosby whereas the son’s room was clean but when the closet door was opened; all kinds of things came pouring out, like a cornucopia.  The California closet concept is “a place for everything and everything in its place. See the picture above. If this California concept is employed then it becomes very easy to find what you are looking for.

Now let us apply teaching and learning to “California Closets.”

Have you heard these questions asked? “Do you remember where you were when President Kennedy was shot?” or “Do you remember where you were when “Dr. Martin Luther King was shot”. Or where were you when the planes crashed into the twin towers?  For most of all (I venture to guess all of us) we indeed do remember exactly where we were and what we were doing.

I believe in that the human brain records everything we try to teach. The problem is can we “recall” that information when that information is needed.  Metaphorically can we find the socks we just threw in the closet and clothes are all over the floor.

We remember some things while others we cannot recall. Why? The things we cannot remember are on the floor in your “brains closet” under tons of other “stuff”

So what is the action step?  How do we, “California Closet (a Verb)” our teaching and learning process.

Here are so of the techniques that I personally have used with great success;


I had milk crates of three colors. I flipped them over so as students could stand on them

The red one was symbolic of information that you MUST know of learn. So when I or a student stood on the red crate saying something that “something” was very important to remember. The yellow crate meant that what was taught or recited there was “nice to know”. The green crate was symbolic of information such that if you remembered that information it would mean money to you (one day).It seems simple. But it resulted in unbelievable positive results.

Visuals work. It you are teaching a concept you must find a visual that helps. The internet now makes that easy.  Log on to  click on images and search for anything you need.

Every teacher now needs a video camera. (or a smart phone with video capabilities). Imagine a student completing a presentation and the teacher saying that was so excellent, may I video tape to show it to my friends. Do you think the student would remember that forever? (Of course He or She would!)

Think about this. What event do you remember from high or middle school? Now ponder this. Why do you remember it?  Was there an emotional component? Did it make sad or happy?

I have invited visitors to my class and allow my students to shine doing that visitation. I have had former students tell that made a lifelong memory.

Be creative. Just lecturing is like throwing clothes in a closet on the closet floor. Do something different. Do something UNIQUE. This is like putting it in a California closet

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