Story Mapping and Seasonal Cheer - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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Story Mapping and Seasonal Cheer

by Sean Sweeney December 14, 2011 2 min read 2 Comments

The holiday season creates a lot of excitement for our students, no matter what holiday they celebrate! This mood can lead to a lot of language and, of course, the opportunity to develop narrative using Story Grammar Marker®. In this post, I’ll be mentioning a couple of resources you can use to acknowledge the season (in varying degrees of sectarianism) while reinforcing use of narrative elements and SGM® icons.

The first is a brief Pixar-like animated short I stumbled across in my blog-surfing routines; I am so glad I found it! As I described in a previous post, (“A Wonderful Wordless Video Series for Narrative Development”) wordless videos can be an engaging way to have students “fill in” the language that is not used in the video, while also identifying emotions signaled by nonverbal cues. Check out Impossible Present, a great complete episode narrative to map, especially with elementary aged students who can handle the “unexpected behaviors” (Social Thinking®) and the brief flash of kid-buttocks! It’s all good when a laser is involved, right?

Impossible Present from Royale on Vimeo.

This story can be mapped as follows or using an earlier developmental level of narrative (e.g. a simple action sequence or reaction sequence):

The video also presents a great opportunity to talk about expected reactions (modeling the icons used in a narrative reaction sequence) to receiving or, in this case, finding a gift, and perhaps place them on an Incredible 5-Point scale:

5 - Extremely Negative Reaction (saying something rude about the gift)
4 - Mildly Negative Reaction (e.g. “I already have one of these,” making “a face”)
3 - Neutral Reaction (saying nothing)
2 - Positive Reaction (smiling, saying “Thanks! I can use this to...)
1 - Enthusiastic Reaction (“WOW!”)

For other holiday fun, check out the iPad/iPhone/iPod app ClickySticky Christmas Sticker Book ($1.99), which allows you to create all sorts of picture scenes with students, including the following:

  • a decorated living room (think SGM® or Braidy® Setting Map...)
  • outdoor winter activity scenes with simple animations (SGM® or Braidy® Action Sequence map, anyone?)
  • a customized snowman, Santa, or elves (what Characters to describe using SGM® or Braidy® Character Maps!)
ClickySticky Christmas Sticker Book Sample

Tap and Drag to assemble characters, then tap the Play button for subtle animations that will prompt action words...

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Sean Sweeney
Sean Sweeney

Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Needham, MA, and as a clinical supervisor at Boston University. He consults to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie (, looks at technology “through a language lens.” Contact him at

2 Responses

Sean Sweeney
Sean Sweeney

November 29, 2016

Thanks for the feedback, Lori- please see latest blog post for a great resource on finding videos, Anna Vagin’s books and mailing list. I also love the Simon’s Cat series.

lori middel
lori middel

November 29, 2016

I love the idea of wordless cartoons. The facial expressions, body language and responses are spot on for reading social cues and cause and effect. However, for some of my already children that have violent thoughts I’m not sure this would be my pick. Have you come across any other such wordless cartoons? Thanks for all that you do!

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