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October 27, 2015


Early Elementary Idea to Reinforce Character, Feelings, List and Sequence

Waber Book CoverChildren’s book author and Illustrator, Bernard Waber created many books for children including the Lyle the Crocodile series and Ira Sleeps Over. Another book, You Look Ridiculous Said the Rhinoceros to the Hippopotamus, is an old favorite that lends itself very well to introducing/reinforcing the SGM®/Braidy® List Map.

In this story, the hippopotamus is told by a series of other jungle animals that she looks ridiculous. Each animal then tells the hippopotamus that she needs features that he/she possess (examples include the leopard telling the hippo she needs spots and the giraffe telling the hippo she needs a long neck)...

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October 21, 2015


Mondays with Maryellen

Maryellen Presenting Hi Everyone! I’m sorry this post is a couple of days late – “Mondays with Maryellen” is on Wednesday this week ☺. We just returned from a whirlwind series of workshops in both San Antonio, Texas and Billings, Montana. We had great audiences, fabulous times with colleagues, and of course the San Antonio RiverWalk, the Alamo and the Big Sky Sunsets were marvelous to visit. Sheila’s 20-month-old daughter Casey and our friend Mary accompanied us on this trip — we’ve included some photos!

San Antonio was 95 degrees – wow! Billings was comfortable in the 70s. However, when we returned to Massachusetts, it was to a 19-degree morning! Alas, Fall, the prelude to snow in New England!

The trip to Billings and the return to the 19-degree morning prompt me to relate a new invitation we’ve received: A visit to Alaska upon the invitation of AKSHA—Alaska Speech Language and Hearing Association 2016 Convention next October...

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October 13, 2015


Adobe Voice gives “Voice” to Narrative or Expository Language

AdobeVoice2It’s Technology Tuesday, and this month we will cover a simple, free tool to practice combining visuals and oral narration to produce an engaging video! A main goal of using MindWing’s Story Grammar Marker® and ThemeMaker® tools is to provide structure for oral discourse. Narrative or expository maps provide a “plan” for the elements of discourse, along with key words to help students connect their thoughts when formulating a story or explanation. In this way, a culminating activity of using any language map can involve asking students to “connect the dots” in formulating a complete story or using expository language. Adobe Voice, a free, easy-to-use app, provides a fast and motivating way to do this!...

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October 08, 2015


Expository “My Research” Cut–and-Fold Booklet

The Core of the Core ManualThe “Core” of The Core manual contains many hands-on materials for student use. One of my favorites is the Expository “My Research” Cut–and-Fold Booklet. I have used this in many settings and grade levels, including centers and with intervention groups. Instructions are included in the manual.

Sea Turtles by Gail Gibbons is one book that works very well with this activity since it includes all expository text structures. As an added resource, Maryellen recently did a section of a webinar on the topic of sea turtles that you might be interested in viewing. (Click here to view Sea Turtles expository analysis excerpt.)...

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October 05, 2015


Writing: Expository/Informational Descriptive Map to Paragraphs

Koalas by Caroline ArnoldKoala by ZoobooksToday, we will look at some writing samples using the topic of Koalas and ideas to scaffold the process from using the Character Descriptive Map to paragraphs. As stated previously, any book/resource that you use may be adapted to these activities.

We used several resources including:

We followed the same procedure as in the Armadillo and Cheetah lessons: reading short segments, making a list of facts, and placing each fact in the correct category (physical appearance, habitat, food and eating, young, special characteristics)...

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September 03, 2015


Exploring Expository Continued: Descriptive Map Activity

We are often asked which books/materials to use with the SGM® and ThemeMaker® maps. Although there are many suggestions given in our manuals, the answer is: any selection that you are using will work! The strength of the SGM/ThemeMaker lies in the fact that it is a flexible approach that adds needed scaffolding to make text, whether narrative or expository, assessable to all students.

A recent post, Exploring Expository Text Using the SGM Descriptive Map (August 12, 2015), focused on transitioning from the Narrative Character Map to the Expository Character Descriptive Map.

It’s an Armadillo! written by Bianca Lavies was the text chosen for that first post. Today, we present an extension of this Descriptive Map activity with the topic of cheetahs, which we have presented whole group in grades 2-4. You may modify to meet your needs...

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August 12, 2015

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Exploring Expository Texts Using the SGM Descriptive Map

Student Character MapStudent Descriptive Character MapSeveral lessons on characters and settings have been presented in past blog entries. Increasingly, children are asked to take informational selections and summarize what they have learned. There is a great need to help students find ways to organize and express expository texts. We have found it helpful to take the time to transition from the use of the Character Map—that the children are already familiar with—to the Descriptive Expository Map. Begin by showing your students the Character Map and the Descriptive Map.

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