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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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August 16, 2016

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Back to School Idea: Summer Memories

Activity BoardGetting students back in the swing of a new school year can be a challenge. Here is an idea to help make this transition easier. Ask the students what their favorite summer memory is… Have them think about where they were (Setting) and what they did there. To help facilitate the sharing of these ideas students may use the SGM® resources as shown below. Invite students to orally share these memories with the group. I used a removable adhesive tape so that I could display student work on the poster board as they orally shared memories. This lends itself especially well to teachers/interventionists/therapists who travel from class to class and who work with multiple grade levels...

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August 08, 2016

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SGM Summer Reading List: Part 3, Setting

Summer Reading ArtI hope you have been able to browse through our recent blogs: SGM Summer Reading List, Part 1 (Complete Episode) and Part 2 (Character). We have received several comments from people who thought both were so beneficial in demonstrating the depth of the Story Grammar Marker®. The SGM® is based upon research showing that strengthening oral narrative discourse skills improves comprehension and writing competency. Today’s blog features past selections with the focus on the SETTING...

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July 07, 2016

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Summer School Explorations with Google Earth

Google Earth ImageSetting is a key area of instruction for students on the autism spectrum not only because they tend not to observe the “expected behaviors” or script for a given setting, but also because they often leave out details about Setting when Star Icon Imagetelling stories to others, thus resulting in loss of a point of reference and confusion on the part of their listener. Students in social thinking/skills groups or individual treatment would therefore benefit from building descriptive skills through the use of the Setting Map contained in It’s All About the Story and other SGM resources. Once again, as visual and kinesethetic learners, working with resources they can see and manipulate assists in building these skills...

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