This is how I think of the basic (diatonic) modes, you may find it helpful. I group them by the quality of their third scale degrees and then take note of which scale degrees change to form the other modes. Like this:
Modes with a major third above the tonic (also they all have scale degrees of major second, perfect fifth, and major sixth.) The scale degrees which vary are the fourth and the seventh...
IONIAN : perfect fourth, major seventh
MIXOLYDIAN : perfect fourth, minor seventh (like ionian with a minor seventh)
LYDIAN : augmented fourth, major seventh (like ionian with an augmented fourth)
Modes with a minor third above the tonic (also they all have scale degrees of perfect fourth, perfect fifth, and minor seventh.) The scale degrees which vary are the second and sixth...
AEOLIAN : major second, minor sixth
DORIAN : major second, major sixth (like aeolian with a major sixth)
PHRYGIAN : minor second, minor sixth (like aeolian with a minor second)
Notice that all six of the above modes have a perfect fifth.
Locrian mode is then the odd one left out, but you can think of it as aeolian with a diminished fifth.
This arrangement let's you group modes by similarity and then see how a change of one note by half-step forms a different mode.
It should be noted that this imposes a strong major/minor sensibility on the modes that probably doesn't represent ancient music theory. Others could speak with authority on this. Please don't mistake my little shorthand method as ancient music theory. :-)