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July 23, 2020

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Tech Tuesday: Summer Study Series on an RCT of Narrative Intervention for Adolescents

Sumer Study Series imageWe look at an exciting piece of research from last summer (July/August 2019), Improving storytelling and vocabulary in secondary school students with language disorder: a randomized controlled trial* (full article available at link). In this article, Joffe, Rixton and Hulme describe a randomized controlled trial (RCT) involving both narrative and vocabulary intervention for secondary students in the UK. It is notable because RCTs in language intervention are relatively rare, and considered a high level of evidence. ASHA, on a scale of evidence quality, rates “well designed randomized controlled trials” as level 1b, 2nd on a 6-point scale of evidence; these are research studies in which intervention groups are compared to a control group in which no intervention was provided. Additionally, interventions for adolescents with persistent language problems are less researched, so this study is an important one!...

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May 06, 2020

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May 6, 2020: Thoughtful poetry for all times…

Brown Girl Dreaming book coverWoodson, J. (2014). Brown Girl Dreaming. NY: Putnam. This is a book of poetry centering on the author’s life experiences growing up in Ohio. She remembers life as a child and applies these memories to her future. There are two poems that I would like to cite: “every wish, one dream,” (pages 313–314) and “it’ll be scary sometimes,” (pages 13–14). The first selection is about Woodson’s dream of becoming a writer. As many writers have, she has read much and remembered the themes, lines of stories and poems, and their life lessons. As I read the passage to you, think about her expression of her life’s goal. The second poem is about a memory from early life stories about family experiences from past generations. Handout Available...

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May 05, 2020

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May 5, 2020: A book of short stories with serious messages through many voices

Seedfolks book cover

Fleischman, R. (2004). Seedfolks. NY: Harper Trophy. This is a collection of voices of people who, in one way or another, relate to a vacant lot in Cleveland, Ohio, during the 1930s. The vacant lot is full of smelly trash dumped there over a period of years. Gradually, people are drawn to the site to plant, see things grow and to socialize. All are people who have sustained great hardships in life. Each short chapter is a snippet of their experience, mostly as immigrants to our country. I’ve selected the character Leona as a focus for this lesson. Leona’s chapter begins with a memory of her grandmother. The memory centered on goldenrod tea with a nutmeg floating in it. Her grandmother drank it every day to ward off illness…and any doctor! There are several kick-offs that signal mini-episodes within this short story. Handout Available...

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May 01, 2020

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May 1, 2020: “And Then It Happened”—Books for Older Students

And Then It Happened book coverWade, M & L. (2006). And Then It Happened. Ontario, Canada: Books for Boys. This series of books was given to me when I was in Ontario, Canada, presenting about narrative development. I thought I would present one of these stories today since there is an opportunity to have a little fun with the content of these volumes. The short stories are written for boys (and girls) between grades 3 & 6. The website www.boysbookshelf.com provides a sample short story from each of the volumes as well as listings of all the Canadian school systems visited by Michael Wade, one of the authors. My favorite story is “The Giant Cupcakes.” I have used it as reader’s theater with props. It is lots of fun. There are several Kick-Offs throughout this short story. Handout Available...

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April 29, 2020

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April 29, 2020: Esperanza Rising’s Theme of Hope: A Book for Use with Older Students

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Today, I am continuing discussing the books that I recommended yesterday for students who are older and would like to read short stories, verse and novels. I cited eight titles and provided annotations for each. Each of the books focuses on the theme of resilience and with the ability to take perspective of self and others, students will be able to “see themselves through others’ experiences” and reflect on their lives in general. During the next several days, I will provide a glimpse into each book and refer to the Story Grammar Marker®. Today we will apply the Story Grammar Marker® to Esperanza Rising, chapter 1. I chose Esperanza Rising as the first in this series since Esperanza means “HOPE.” Hope is a vital character trait for us to focus on during these times. Through literature, students learn about themselves, through others’ experiences. They see resilience in action!

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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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March 19, 2019

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Tech Tuesday: The Story of an Argument and Perspective

No Argument imageNo need to break out the popcorn, we’re not talking about the argumentative kind of argument! I have been working with a high school student over the course of the past year who has particular difficulties in comprehension and discourse formulation. His school has quite a challenging program, and each session brings to the table a contextual assignment in which organizational strategies can be identified for him to apply. Fortunately, he is very engaged in the process and can always identify a task for which he needs help. This past week, he was working on constructing an outline for a debate argument, and I immediately thought of the Persuade organizer from MindWing’s Thememaker® tool for understanding and organizing expository language...

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