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December 07, 2018

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New Year Lesson: Recalling 2018 & Planning 2019 with Story Grammar Marker!

New Years Resolution Worksheet imageActivities that allow us to reflect on the past are helpful in establishing habits of reviewing what we have done well, what we enjoyed, and what we would like to change. We have included some suggested activities that use the SGM icons to add to your toolbox. Ask students to recall one day from 2018 that they especially remember. Give the students an SGM Writing form or a Student Marker to plan their story. Give students time to fill in notes on the sheet and/or practice with the student marker and then, students could orally share their stories with one another...

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November 20, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: ASHA Beantown Wrap-Up, Part 1

Boston Skyline photoThis past week featured the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s annual national convention in our home state (and my home city of Boston)! MindWing presented and exhibited at the convention and I was proud to be part of two presentations that incorporated MindWing’s tools with context-setting resources including both technology and picture books. I was thrilled to present another edition of an oral seminar describing the helpful pairing of picture books and apps for contextualized language intervention. As this year’s ASHA theme focused on evolution and innovation within the field of speech-language pathology, this presentation centered around pairings that aligned with social studies and science topics (Boston also is a “Hub” of both disciplines). Some of the background within this presentation centered on why SLPs and literacy interventionists might seek to incorporate social studies and science topics in our work...

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October 24, 2018

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Room on the Broom! Halloween Book, Netflix Original & DIY Re-telling Wheel!

If you are looking for a lively read for Halloween, check out Room on the Broom, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Alex Scheffler. This book is presented in delightful rhyme, making it an ideal book for the younger set (Pre-K—Gr 2). It is a perfect selection to map out two Complete Episodes emphasizing a new Kick-Off. Below is the story mapped out from the witch’s perspective. Use Braidy the StoryBraid® or the Story Grammar Marker® to retell it to the students. At the end of this blog, we have also included a downloadable “Retelling Wheel” to be used by students to retell the story to one another...

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August 31, 2018

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Blending Narrative and Expository Text with “Alaska’s Three Bears”

Alaska's Three Bears book coverMaryellen recommended this book at a workshop I attended many years ago, and I found so many uses for it when our second, third, fourth, and fifth graders began to explore narrative and expository text structures. Using the picture book Alaska’s Three Bears shows the flexibility of the SGM® for both narrative and expository texts. She shared lessons and activities for use with grades K-5 and noted that this book could be used with a variety of grade levels (2-5) as it helped to support a number of her goals and objectives as a Language Arts Teacher. There is both a story and expository information presented. The book is one that can be used with a variety of goals/objectives in mind, during whole-group and/or small-group instruction, and with a wide span of grade levels...

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August 07, 2018

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Spiders! 5 Books, Resources and Activities

Large Spider imageAs so often happens when I see a certain book or project, it reminds me of particular lessons that I taught while teaching at the former Juniper Park School in Westfield, MA. A recent display of books on spiders at our local library did just that. Below are some ideas on spider-related books that you may want to try this summer or tuck them away in your files for future use. In addition to other resources, several of the selections below are Anansi trickster tales which were first told by the Ashanti people in Ghana. We begin our lesson suggestions with one of the Anansi stories adapted and retold by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Janet Stevens. These were always popular with second and third graders. I liked to use them to reinforce the SGM® complete and interactive episodes and character traits...

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April 20, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: Interpreting Research on Narratives and Autism

In this Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, we turn our attention more specifically on our students and clients with unique social learning and language characteristics. A recent (2017) study by Westerveld and Roberts, The Oral Narrative Comprehension and Production Abilities of Verbal Preschoolers on the Autism Spectrum, has a number of implications that I would like to interpret in the context of tools available for narrative intervention. The study involved assessment of preschoolers’ narratives (notably an uninvestigated area for preschool students with autism, according to the article) via presentation of a fictional narrative and administration of comprehension questions and a retelling task. A large grouping within the sample did not produce a retelling that could be analyzed, but the 19 that did were assessed for length, semantic diversity, grammatical complexity and accuracy, intelligibility, inclusion of critical events, and narrative stage. The article notes that most of the research on spontaneous language of preschoolers with autism has focused on free play, rather than the ability to pull language together into narratives...

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April 13, 2018

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Chameleons Are Cool! Listing, Describing & Art

Chameleons Are Cool! book coverWho doesn’t love chameleons? I remember when I saw this book in our school library many years ago! I couldn’t wait to use it with our second grade students featuring the SGM List Map and Descriptive Map. At the time, I travelled from class to class, K-2, and brought SGM Marker and Braidy the StoryBraid, narrative and expository elements, into the classrooms. This time around, I created an informational sheet for grade 2 from various sources to begin our lessons. Notice how the information could be easily entered on an SGM Descriptive Map using the categories Physical Appearance, Habitat, Food and Eating, Young, and Special Characteristics. We completed the project in three sessions...

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