The narrative skill of describing and sequencing actions that can occur within a particular place is so relevant to the classroom curriculum, most recently redefined with the arrival of the Common Core State Standards. The classroom itself is a place where children learn, play, read, write, draw, listen, laugh, and sometimes argue, not necessarily in that order! Nearly every academic topic could be framed as an action sequence, while many children requiring narrative language intervention can get stuck at the previous level of naming, the descriptive sequence. We can help scaffold them to the next level using Story Grammar Marker® and strategies from MindWing’s recent book, The “Core” of the Core: Using Story Grammar Marker® and Other MindWing Concepts Tools To Support Students in Meeting Grade-Level Common Core State Standards.
While there are many contexts in which we can develop action sequences, using photos, books, and play activities, among others, in this post we will take a look at a series of free apps that can be used to engage students in narrative language. In addition, this post provides access to a FREE sample of question prompts from The “Core” of the Core that can be used in conjunction with these action-packed apps!
Bamba! Apps has created a series of applications for iPad in which kids play in different settings, including a pizza parlor, burger joint and post office. Each app is structured so that kids can make choices as each action is performed, and since the apps are highly visual and language-neutral, they provide a great context for eliciting speaking and writing, specifically within an action sequence structure. Let’s take a look at Bamba Post Office (again, FREE), and the action sequence that it naturally constructs:
After first entering the post office, kids choose a package and place an item to mail in it:
Then they write a card, wrap the package and send it to a friend (including the possibility of accessing the camera to send it to someone really special):
Finally, they give it to the friend, who shouts YAY!
This is a great app to engage young students, and is also a good one to develop turn-taking skills when used with a group. I'd encourage you to check out the others in the series, including Bamba Pizza and Bamba Burger.
The Questions "Center" Activity Cards from The “Core” of the Core provide a structure for eliciting language in different ways before, during, and after using these apps. The questions align with standards in different strands, including Speaking and Listening:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.4 Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.6 Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 1 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)
A sample of the Activity Cards is embedded below, along with an introduction to the materials:
Introduction To Questions "Center" Activity
The questions refer to the developmental sequence of narrative and expository text which parallels the progression of the Common Core State Standards. The "core" of the Core is oral language development. All of MindWing's tools are rooted in oral language development at the Discourse language level, where sentences are organized to form a structure for communication. As such, our maps and hands-on tools serve to prepare the student for literacy demands in the language modalities of Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening and Language… along with gesturing and thinking skills. The questions in the boxes are for “Centers” or “Stations” and are designed to follow instruction/intervention. They collectively address and support specific standards and are to be used with the lesson, text or book currently being used in the classroom or in therapy. The complexity of the responses to these questions depends upon: