Planning For It

Why Do This?

  • Remember Power helps students to remember directions, follow steps in the correct order, and keep track of multiple things at the same time. It helps students to plan and work towards goals over time. Remember Power also helps students (and adults) to multi-task and keep track of multiple goals, tasks, or items at once.


When You Might Use This Practice

  • Integrated into a daily or weekly schedule as a routine
  • During a designated SEL block of 10-15 minutes per day for Kernels practice or as time allows
  • During a morning meeting, a transition, after recess, or at the end of the day
  • Throughout the school year to create a supportive classroom community


Time Required

  • ≤ 15 minutes



  • Small objects to hide
  • Something to cover the objects (e.g., scarf)


Learning Objective

Students will:

  • Practice memory and attention


Additional Supports


SEL Competencies

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management

How To Do It

Reflection Before the Practice

  • How well do you remember the multiple things you need to do? What strategies and practices help you to develop your working memory (e.g, making a written list, repeating the information out loud)?
  • Take a few minutes to read the “Remember Power” practice before introducing the game.

Note: Click here to download and print a card version of this practice that can be added to the other Brain Games practices to make an easy-to-use hand-held collection. See the SEL Kernels pack for additional activities.


The Big Idea

This game is about keeping track of objects in your mind so that you can tell which one is missing.



  • Introduce Remember Power to students, if necessary.
  • Say the Big Idea (see above).
  • Assemble a group of 5 small objects that you can display on a surface (e.g., pen, button, coin, paperclip, rubberband, etc.). Find some way to cover all of the objects for the part of the game where you have to move one (e.g., large folder or scarf).
  • Make sure everyone can see the objects. Name all of the items along with students (make sure they know what each item is).
  • Take 15 seconds to Remember (rub your temples) the objects before one is removed.
  • Cover the objects and remove one without letting students see.
  • Ask, “Can you use your Remember Power to guess what’s missing?”

Must do

  • Must require students to remember and keep track of a growing list of information.

Can adapt

  • Number of/type of objects to hide.


  • To make the game easier, use fewer objects, larger objects, or more distinct objects that are easier to tell apart.
  • Make this game harder by removing more than one object at a time, adding more objects, or limiting the amount of study time.
  • For another challenge, ask students to close their eyes, and then move/remove a larger object in the classroom (e.g., something on the shelves or your desk). See if they can figure out what’s different now!
  • Have a small group of students line up in the front of the room and stand in certain poses. Ask the class to study them for 15 seconds, and then have them close their eyes. Have one student in the small group change their pose. Ask the class to open their eyes again and identify who is standing in a different pose.

After the activity, debrief

  • What Brain Power helped you while you were looking at the objects the first time? How did you remember? (E.g., I made mental images of the objects in my head. I repeated the names of the objects to myself, I listed them in alphabetical order.)
  • Is there any other time you need to remember a set of objects and figure out if something is missing? (E.g., to pack my bag in the morning to double-check I have everything I need before I leave school, to make sure I included all the right information in my assignment.)
  • For more debriefing questions, see Brain Games Practice.

Tips for success

  • As you’re playing, ask emergent bilingual learners to share the name of each item in their native language.



This practice is part of the SEL Kernels project developed by the EASEL Lab at Harvard University.

Reflection After the Practice

  • Do you notice students’ ability to remember improving?

The Research Behind It

Evidence That It Works

Children who are able to effectively manage their thinking, attention, and behavior are also more likely to have better grades and higher standardized test scores.


Why Does It Matter?

Children use cognitive regulation skills whenever faced with tasks that require concentration, planning, problem solving, coordination, conscious choices among alternatives, or overriding a strong internal or external desire—all key skills for behavioral and academic success.

These skills enable children to prioritize and sequence behavior (e.g., put their pants on before their shoes), inhibit dominant or familiar responses in favor of a more appropriate one (e.g., raise their hand rather than blurt out the answer), maintain task-relevant information in mind (e.g., remember the teacher’s request to wash hands and then put coats on before going outside), resist distractions, switch between task goals, use information to make decisions, and create abstract rules and handle novel situations.

“Memory is the treasure house of the mind wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved.”
–Thomas Fuller
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