COVID19 Vaccine and ThemeMaker® - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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COVID19 Vaccine and ThemeMaker®

by Sheila Moreau February 23, 2021 4 min read

I wanted to know exactly HOW the COVID19 Vaccine worked and WHY you should join our ThemeMaker® Master Class

Learn how to use ThemeMaker® for teaching your students informational text by giving them the strategies, modeling, visual supports, and guided, step-by-step practice to handle the cognitive load and deconstruct the information necessary for reading informational texts, answering complex questions, and forming arguments.

Read below for an example of this learning process in my life. Imagine one of your students wanting to know this information and navigating this process. Would they have the tools they need to do it?

Purpose Hand iconMy parents got their second Pfizer COVID19 Vaccine* today. I was speaking with a friend about this new vaccine and discovered we had different understandings about how vaccines worked. I theorized that all vaccines made it impossible to contract a particular virus at all. My friend’s perspective was that even if a person was vaccinated, they could still contract the virus, but the vaccine protected the body from letting the virus cause serious health risk and death.

I was curious and decided to investigate this informational topic. I realized quickly that my prior knowledge, as well as my experience with ThemeMaker® and our informational text strategies, would help me to discover whose perspective on vaccines was more accurate (an argument/conclusion). I needed to answer some questions:

ThemeMaker Poster image
  • What, really, are vaccines? (description, list)
  • Why do they exist? (cause/effect, problem/solution)
  • How is one vaccine different than another? (compare/contrast)
  • How do they actually work? (sequence, cause/effect)

In our March 3-4 ThemeMaker® Master Class (Register Here) you will learn how our text structure strategy for informational text (ThemeMaker® [TM®]) uses the icons of the Story Grammar Marker®, aligns them with 7 expository text structures, and identifies relevant text features and cohesion words. I used TM® and the strategies below to break down the complex informational text on this topic.

Ultimately, I wanted to gain enough knowledge about this topic to effectively communicate a conclusion or an argument that would prove or disprove my theory of how vaccines worked. These strategies are:

  • activated my background knowledge
  • engaged in academic conversations
  • made connections among and within texts
  • found the main idea in texts
  • learned new, domain-specific vocabulary
  • generated inferences
  • monitored my comprehension with text structures
  • deepened my ability to communicate about the topic orally and in writing

Bead One imageFirst, I thought about vaccines with which I was familiar: flu, polio, MMR, chickenpox, and whooping cough (activating background knowledge). These are vaccines I have had or my seven-year-old has gotten (making connections to personal experiences). I spoke with my mother and she mentioned being six years old when the Polio outbreak was very frightening for parents in the 1950s because it affected thousands of children and often caused paralysis and even death. We discussed how she was the age then that my daughter is now during COVID19. When the Salk Vaccine was introduced, it was such a relief for her family and families everywhere. (making connections, an academic conversation).

Bead 2 imageThen, I googled “COVID VACCINES vs OTHER VACCINES” to see what results this might yield. There is a plethora of information about illnesses caused by bacterial and viral infections; from plagues, leprosy, and malaria, to small pox, influenza, and measles, to Spanish Flu, polio, and the Asian Flu to HIV, SARS and, of course, COVID19. I skimmed news articles, the CDC website, medical blogs, and some more technical medical journal articles for common information (making connections among texts AND finding the main idea). There was complex, domain specific vocabulary such as “spike protein,” “herd immunity,” and “mRNA” that were unfamiliar to me. I also read about “ribosomes” and “cytoplasm,” which brought me back to high school biology and the structure of a cell (making connections).

Bead 3 imageAfter that, I read lists of and descriptions of the 5 main vaccines that children are eligible to receive in the United States, and the illnesses (causes) that led to their discovery. I compared and contrasted the attributes of various vaccines. I learned about the sequence of steps a vaccine takes to ultimately protect the body. I studied the effects of the vaccine on the cells and on the body. I noted the multitude of problems throughout world history resulting from pandemics.

This information was organized in my head using TM® text structures as mental models (monitoring comprehension) which helped me to interpret and derive meaning about the content in relation to my theory of how vaccines work (problem/solution, argument).

Bead 4 imageNext, the World Health Organization states: Vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defenses—the immune system—to recognize and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target. After vaccination, if the body is later exposed to those disease-causing germs, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness.

The COVID19 vaccine works with a new “messenger” technology that teaches our cells how to make a component of the coronavirus, which then triggers our immune system to create antibodies to fight the REAL virus if our body ever encounters it in the future.

Bead 5 imageFinally, using all of the evidence in the texts, my background knowledge, my text structure strategies, and my academic conversations, I concluded that the argument could be made (by generating inferences) that my friend’s perspective was the more accurate theory. My theory was inaccurate. If exposed to COVID19 after being vaccinated, our body will destroy the virus before it makes us sick.

However, we must still wear masks and practice social distancing because scientists are still doing studies on transmission of COVID19 after being vaccinated. So far, results are promising that the vaccine reduces transmission in addition to preventing the illness. If you are interested in the research on this informational topic, watch the YouTube video, as well as these source links below.

Learn how to use ThemeMaker® in our Master Class on March 3-4, 2021 and give your students the tools they need to get through this learning process successfully by breaking down informational texts to build knowledge.


*This is not a statement on being pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine. It is a topic of interest in conversation that was relevant to informational text in real life.

Learn how to use ThemeMaker® in our Master Class on March 3-4, 2021 and give your students the tools they need to get through this learning process successfully by breaking down informational texts to build knowledge.


Sheila Moreau
Sheila Moreau

Sheila M. Moreau, M.Ed. is vice president at MindWing Concepts. Her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology is from St. Anselm College and Master’s of Education degree from Cambridge College. Sheila has twenty years of experience in marketing and sales in the telecommunications, commercial real estate, fundraising and educational publishing industries. Sheila co-authored The Essential SGM® with Maryellen Moreau, drawing upon her experience in her graduate studies. Sheila was on the Early Literacy Advisory Board of Cherish Every Child (Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation),; she sits on the Board of Directors for the International VolleyBall Hall of Fame and serves as Co-Chair of Marketing and Sponsorship for the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke, Inc.

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