Hi there! Sean Sweeney here—I am a Speech-Language Pathologist and Instructional Technology Specialist. I am really thrilled to be blogging for MindWing, and look forward to sharing and discussing lesson ideas with you! When I transitioned from a hospital setting into my first school-based position in 2000, I really had no idea what I was doing. My focus was limited to drill-and-practice card games and worksheets that had very limited connection to what my students were struggling with in the classroom. Realizing this, I thought back to my public school clinical placement in graduate school, where my wonderful supervisor, Fran Eldridge, had introduced me to Story Grammar Marker®. The AHA! realization that I should apply the SGM (and later, ThemeMaker) toward my students’ struggles with classroom content was a revelation, though in retrospect it was a great big DUH!
Fast forward to today...I have long had an interest in how technology can provide context within our interventions, much the same way a storybook can provide context. In this approach to intervention, MindWing's tools have served as essential structure to help my students break down language, (as used with a website that provides information, for example) or organize and produce language (when used in conjunction with a creative "Web 2.0" resource that allows students to save and publish work). To focus on this latter "bottom-up" strategy, I suggest you check out Kerpoof, one of my favorite resources for its versatility and ease of use.
Kerpoof* is a free, interactive website recently acquired by Disney and is basically an online version of Kidpix Studio. Kerpoof's interface allows you to choose a background, characters and other setting elements, and add word/thought balloons and caption boxes (sounding promising?). You can create, share, export or print the resulting pictures or multi-picture story sequences.
I am a big fan of how the MindWing “A Day in the Park” Student Activity Booklets allow you to review the SGM icons as students construct progressively more complex narrative. Books that correspond to narrative stages are a great way to provide our students the necessary further practice with learning and connecting the icons, but Kerpoof could be another excellent option. Students could be prompted to simply make a scene (Descriptive Sequence), focus on what characters are doing by adding action-oriented pictures or captions (Action Sequence) and so on, and practice using the corresponding SGM® maps to help them construct and orally formulate the stories they have created.
You can use Kerpoof casually or create a teacher login (recommended) at the Kerpoof Scholastics page. More next time on how to use Kerpoof to address more complex levels of narrative! Comments, questions or feedback are always welcome. For more ideas on integrating technology in your practice, please visit my own blog, Speechtechie!