When you were in school, the teacher always had a funny mnemonic for the less-than (<) and greater-than (>) signs. One of my teachers did the "alligator" thing - the smaller alligator always eats the bigger alligator. I've also heard of the opposite: the bigger number always "shoots" the smaller one. I always had great difficulty remembering the mnemonics (meta-mnemonics, anyone?), and how exactly they worked. (Similar to other concepts that require, but shouldn't, my forethought: reading an analog clock, knowing the order of the months and alphabets, remembering holidays, how old I am, etc.)
About a year ago, I finally figured it out. It wasn't about alligators or righteous gunmen, it was all about encoding: less-than was literally
<, or the start of an element, and greater-than
>, the end of an element. It was so simple, so blantantly obvious, it borders on the power of an epiphany.
What interests me most, though, is hearing what mnemonic teachers are using nowadays. With kids always knowing more about computers than older folk, are HTML and similar markups prevalent enough to make this a more palatable comparison? Any one got kids?