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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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July 31, 2017

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Do-It-Yourself Ringed Cards for Teaching Beginning, Middle, End & Story Development

Ringed Icon CardsRecently, I saw a clever sound blending idea on Pinterest using rings and small cards. It reminded me of our very popular blog using popsicle sticks to teach story elements using the Story Grammar Marker®. With these thoughts in mind, here are two ideas that are simple to make and easy to transport from one site to another making them ideal for teachers/interventionists/therapists who move from class to class...

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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 07, 2016

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Series of Lessons with The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen BooksOne of my favorite series of lessons which I taught at the former Juniper Park School in Westfield, Massachusetts, involved the folktale The Little Red Hen. I used three versions of this folktale; one retold by Paul Galdone, one by Margot Zemach and the third by Alan Garner. The use of these books supports the six CCSS standards listed in this blog...

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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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August 23, 2016

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Tech Tuesday: Build a Story with LEGO

LEGO Baseplate

For many years, I had viewed my students’ interest in LEGO® products as having some potential for instruction in social skills and language development. I mean, anything that spurs that much engagement from children can be leveraged for learning, right? However, I struggled around how to structure the use of actual LEGO blocks to create a situation where students were practicing language and social interaction together rather than just doing their own thing. The solution came with a realization that LEGO can be used to have students build and interact around one scene or story, and the essential piece, literally and figuratively, is as simple as a baseplate...

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August 18, 2016

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Write a Response!

Whiteboard WritingWriting a question or statement on a whiteboard and having students respond during the school day is becoming increasingly popular. It can be used as way to check in with students about a current topic and initiate discussion. Shown is one way to bring in the SGM® icons. Put this board in view after lunch on the first day of school. You may also post the SGM® Feelings PosterAsk the students to write one word to describe how they were feeling before coming to school and one to describe how they currently are feeling...

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