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December 10, 2019

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Tech Tuesday: ASHA Convention Wrap-up, Part 1

Braidy doll imageThis year brought those of the speech-language pathologist ilk to Orlando, which I have come to think of as the land of simulated Character and Setting. Inside the more sedate but still stimulating conference halls, MindWing’s tools were shared by a number of presenters including me! In Developing Expressive Language In Preschoolers: Strategies to Increase Utterance Length and Complexity (Mentis, Howland, Graham), the authors described their integration of Braidy the StoryBraid® into a language and literacy program for preschoolers, providing graduate student clinicians with wonderful experience in targeting language in the context of stories and play. The presenters recommended a number of books used within their program, moving from emphasis on simple to more complex story grammar and microstructure...

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September 27, 2019

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“Maui” of Disney’s Moana: Using Story Grammar Marker® with Legends

Hawaii sunset imageIn this blog post, we share with you a children’s book called Maui Hooks the Islands with a narrative analysis, a legend written in 1700 AD, a Disney Moana song, and lesson ideas that we showed at our workshop participants in Hawai'i. The first couple of weeks of September marked the third time that Maryellen and I have traveled to Hawai’i to provide professional development for Speech-Language Pathologists, pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade teachers and special educators in the Hawai'i State Department of Education. Through these experiences, we have grown to love the rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, water and sunsets, and especially, the people of Hawai'i. My 5-year-old daughter Casey has made each trip to Hawai’i with us, and the first time we came, she was enthralled with Disney’s Moana (hoping to meet her in person!). In order to kick off our workshops, we wanted to learn more about the Polynesian culture that this movie depicts...

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June 19, 2019

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Tech Tuesday/Summer Study Series: Fostering Rhetorical Competence in Expository Text Interventions

Key Words imageThis summer we are bringing back the “Summer Study Series!” This series of posts is providing summaries of recent research related to narrative and expository language and Story Grammar Marker®/ThemeMaker® in order to expand your toolkit and library of evidence-based practice information for September. So, to our study for the month! We invite you to Spain, this time, for some work clearly relevant in English as well, from García, Sánchez, Cain & Montoya (2019), published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences. Their “Cross-sectional study of the contribution of rhetorical competence to children's expository texts comprehension between third- and sixth-grade” looked at rhetorical competence (RC), or knowledge and understanding of certain text cues within expository texts and its interaction with reading comprehension...

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February 18, 2019

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Tech Tuesday: Supporting Narrative Development and Emotional Vocabulary

Ariel Davis NPR illustration

Illustration by Ariel Davis for NPR

I’m a big NPR person. It’s a great resource for listening, and for narrative! This past month I was intrigued by a feature on “EMOTIONAL GRANULARITY”—being able to name or describe your emotions more specifically. The author described an increase in stress in his life being alleviated by his working on “learning more emotion words and emotion concepts from one’s culture.” There was research to support his assertion that this self-identification was of help; according to Kashdan, Barrett, and McKnight (2015), “evidence suggests that interventions designed to improve emotion differentiation can both reduce psychological problems and increase various strands of well-being.” We can reframe this information in the light of what we might usually address as speech-language pathologists and literacy interventionists...

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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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July 20, 2017

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How To Use “Narwhal Makes A Sandwich” to Teach Story Structure & Information Text

Narwhal Makes a Sandwich Book CoverMaryellen recently received a very special package at her MindWing office in Springfield, MA. Inside was a lovely note along with a recently published children’s book, Narwhal Makes a SandwichThis book is written by Laura Addington, a Speech Language Pathologist, and Aryn Franklin, an Occupational Therapist, and illustrated by Tara Put, also a Speech Language Pathologist. As written in the note, they used the Story Grammar Marker® to scaffold their story! We thought you would enjoy this selection outlined as a Complete Episode...

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July 12, 2017

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Wind-Back Wednesday! Old School Story Grammar Marker® Mementos from the Early ’90s!

Maryellen with BannersToday we are winding back the clock to the early 1990s. While cleaning out her basement, Maryellen Rooney Moreau, creator of Story Grammar Marker®, found some really cool SGM® “mementos” from the early days of SGM® when she started this business in her basement. To the right is Maryellen (today) standing next to the first-ever banner that was made for trade shows and conferences that Maryellen attended when she first published Story Grammar Marker®. It is complete with vinyl lettering and fancy, colorful decals. To Maryellen’s far left is the life-size custom cut-out of Story Grammar Marker® from last year’s American Speech Language Hearing Association Convention. WOW! There is quite a difference...

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