Teaching SGM® Components — continued 2 - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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Teaching SGM® Components — continued 2

by Sheila Zagula September 23, 2015 4 min read

Back by popular demand: Use this new story to review the SGM components in a group or to sharpen student awareness of narrative structure.

  1. Read the story below to the child. (download printed version).
  2. Review the SGM® components on the SGM® Teacher Marker.
  3. Have the students draw or stamp the icons above the correct SGM® component. Note that the story is a complete episode, the first paragraph having the character, setting, initiating event, feeling and plan stated; the second paragraph containing all the planned attempts to carry out the plan; and the last paragraph having the direct consequence (tie-up) and resolution (feeling about how the story ended). We have found it helpful to go paragraph by paragraph. (See completed version)
  4. Using the Teacher Marker, model retelling the story to the children.
  5. After the activity is completed, have the student(s) work with a partner, Turn and Talk, and use his/her SGM® Student Marker to retell the story.
Samantha had been up since dawn. Her family had just moved to a new city and she was starting school today. Samantha had to admit to herself that she was nervous. Would she meet anyone that she could sit with at lunch? Would she like her teacher? Samantha took one more look at herself in the mirror and knew it was time to go. “Everything will be fine,” said her grandmother. “Don’t be worried.” Samantha took her backpack, waved goodbye, and left the house for what she hoped would be a good first day in her new school.

First, she walked to the bus stop and waited for the bus. Samantha looked and there was an empty seat near a girl about her age so she sat down. On the way to school, she talked with the girl and found out her name was Erica. Finally, the bus arrived at school.

Samantha met the principal who walked her to her new classroom. As she entered the door to her new classroom, her teacher, Mr. Bennet, smiled and shook her hand. “We have a seat all ready for you, Samantha!” Samantha couldn’t have been happier! There was Erica sitting right next to her new spot!

You may want to ask the following questions and use the SGM® Teacher Marker to “mark” the component(s) that answer these questions. This is also a great way to work with students who are having difficulty with the narrative structure.

  1. Who is the story about?
  2. Where and when does the story take place?
  3. What happened that started the story?
  4. Why was Samantha worried about going to her new school?
  5. How do you know Samantha was worried?
  6. What happened on the bus on the way to school?
  7. How did Samantha feel at the end of the story?

Note: Please remember, many students are able to answer Wh? such as the above, but are unable to put the same thoughts together to tell/retell/write the story to another. This is the unique role of the SGM® and Braidy, the StoryBraid®.

Extended Teaching Tips:

After the students draw or stamp the icons on the story words themselves, you may want to think aloud and add details regarding each of the SGM® components:

Character: Talk about the word “her” and the word “she” as pronouns or words for Samantha without using the name “Samantha.” Have the students plug in the name “Samantha” for each of the pronouns in the second sentence.

With older students note the third sentence and do the same. Ask the students how it “sounds” to them to use the name “Samantha” in place of the pronouns: Samantha had to admit to Samantha that Samantha was nervous.

In the two examples above, talk about the establishment of a referent. In other words, because the name “Samantha” was used at the beginning of the sentence, students are able to use herself (a reflexive pronoun) and she (a personal pronoun) to refer to the name Samantha.

Definitions: A reflexive pronoun is used when the subject of the verb is the same as the object of the verb: The cat washed itself while sitting in the sun.

Setting: The words just moved to a new city offer two opportunities:

Compare/Contrast the new with the former, if one knows these two settings. Discuss the concept of “moving to a new city.” Perhaps ask students to connect by offering personal experiences noted when moving to a new city/house/apartment, or even country.

Kick-Off: The initiating event stamped is “starting school today.” The start of school is something that causes most children, and their families, some angst. It would be great to point out that Samantha wasn’t merely going back to the same school as last year; she was starting a new school, in a new city.

The questions that Samantha asks herself add substance to the kick-off and connect it to the setting:

  • Would she meet anyone that she could sit with at lunch?
  • Would she like her teacher?

Lunch and teacher are part of the school setting/script. The bus ride, recess, dismissal, etc., are also part of the school routine. Thinking about the school script as “new” makes Samantha wonder about her day and worry.

Feeling: When it was time to go, her grandmother said “Don’t be worried.” Worried is a synonym for nervous. Scared is one of the six universal feelings of which worried and nervous are a part.

Note: For those of you who have used our tools before and know the narrative developmental sequence, recognize grandma’s words as a reaction to the look of worry/nervousness on Samantha’s face. Have the students role play this scenario. What is Samantha’s facial expression? What is the tone of voice that Grandma uses to calm Samantha. These are pragmatic elements.

Plan: Samantha left the house hoping to have a good day. This is the plan. Hope is a mental state word or thinking word.

Attempts: There are seven verbs stamped with temporal cohesive ties marking them:

  • Walked, waited, looked, sat down, talked, found out, arrived.

Direct Consequence and Resolution: Both are stamped in the third paragraph. The consequence was that it was starting to be a good day. The resolution (feeling about the consequence) was “Happiness.”

We might ask how Samantha’s feelings changed from the beginning to the end of the story:

  • Beginning: nervous, worried, scared
  • End: happy

Samantha got what she hoped she would: the day was a good one.

Sheila Zagula
Sheila Zagula

Sheila Zagula works with MindWing Concepts in product development, drawing on her expertise and talents as well as many years of implementing the Story Grammar Marker® and related materials. Her teaching career spans thirty-eight years, most recently as literacy coach in the Westfield Massachusetts Public School System. Sheila has experience as an early childhood educator, a teacher of children with special needs, and a collaborative instructor within an inclusion framework serving children in grades K-5.

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