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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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May 11, 2017

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The Hidden Meaning of Story Grammar Marker’s Icons

Maryellen Photo 1980sLast week, Maryellen Moreau, creator of Story Grammar Marker®, consulted with two special educators in southern Connecticut about a student with Autism. This particular child’s evaluation recommended Story Grammar Marker® as an intervention. The school hired Maryellen to work with this child’s teachers as well as larger groups of staff in the school to get everyone on board with the SGM® methodology. During our first session last week, one special educator looked up at Maryellen and with awe in her voice said, “This is just so amazing. It is so simple…yet so, so deep. I know I will be able to do so much with this – with so many different students. How did you EVER think of this?” The answer to that question is that it happened in the late 1980s while Maryellen, a speech language pathologist, was Curriculum Director at the Curtis Blake Day School in Springfield, MA (a private placement for children with dyslexia and language learning disabilities)...

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October 05, 2016

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More Connections of the SGM® to the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment)

Circle Arrows with SGM Icons

As noted in the previous blog about the DRA, there are many ways to assess the ability to retell a story. A rubric, such as that used on the DRA, is one of them. Other comprehension assessments tap the Wh Questions or general story rubrics to guide assessment. In my experience, there are students who can answer these questions but are not able to retell what they read. Although the causes may be different, the problem is similar, they are unable to express what was comprehended. There are others who are unable to answer questions unless there is focused scaffolding and then only minimal responses are noted. Still, there are others who are “word callers” and have mastered the decoding process but do not comprehend what they are reading. Finally, there are students with language problems who have working memory or word retrieval problems and have difficulty expressing what they comprehend...”

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September 30, 2016

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High Stakes Test Results: An Opportunity for Collaboration Using SGM

Teacher and Boy with SGM Braidy DollAfter receiving many positive comments regarding a recent post, Using Data Collection and Collaboration to Enhance Instruction, I wanted to share two other ideas that you may find helpful when first using the SGM® in your school. If you are not using the SGM® school-wide, then try working with a colleague as the SGM® is the perfect vehicle to establish collaboration and a common language around student comprehension questions and the thought processes involved in answering those questions...

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September 01, 2016

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Using Data Collection and Collaboration to Enhance Instruction

Marker with DescriptionsThe icons and maps of the Story Grammar Marker®, Braidy®, and ThemeMaker® make abstract concepts of text structure visible and concrete for students. The use of the developmental stages of narrative development (shown below) enables you to differentiate instruction within your classroom. In schools I have worked, one such way we implemented SGM® methodology to support instruction was to establish grade level group writing conferencing sessions three formal times a year...

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