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April 20, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: Interpreting Research on Narratives and Autism

In this Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, we turn our attention more specifically on our students and clients with unique social learning and language characteristics. A recent (2017) study by Westerveld and Roberts, The Oral Narrative Comprehension and Production Abilities of Verbal Preschoolers on the Autism Spectrum, has a number of implications that I would like to interpret in the context of tools available for narrative intervention. The study involved assessment of preschoolers’ narratives (notably an uninvestigated area for preschool students with autism, according to the article) via presentation of a fictional narrative and administration of comprehension questions and a retelling task. A large grouping within the sample did not produce a retelling that could be analyzed, but the 19 that did were assessed for length, semantic diversity, grammatical complexity and accuracy, intelligibility, inclusion of critical events, and narrative stage. The article notes that most of the research on spontaneous language of preschoolers with autism has focused on free play, rather than the ability to pull language together into narratives...

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February 12, 2018

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Clifford’s Valentine’s Day Character Activity

Clifford’s ValentinesClifford’s First Valentine‘s Day coverNorman Bridwell’s Clifford books are, of course, very popular with preschool and early elementary school-aged students. If you’re looking for a quick activity to reinforce the Character icon for Valentine’s Day for the younger set, pick up a copy of Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day or Clifford’s Valentines.

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November 28, 2017

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An Eric Carle Book Lesson on Character & Setting

Do You Want to Be My Friend? booksIf you are looking for a quick lesson to review the Character and Setting icons with preschool and K students, check out the two versions of Do You Want To Be My Friend? by Eric Carle. In both versions, a mouse runs to many animals in search of a friend, asking, “Do you want to be my friend?” At the end of the story, he accomplishes his goal with an added surprise! For each animal the mouse asks, we are given a clue of seeing the animal’s tail and then the page turns to show the entire animal. The miniature version has text which follows the same format throughout…The mouse asks each animal, “Do you want to be my friend?”...

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July 25, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: Beach Stories!

Father-Daughter at Beach photo

Kids love talking about the beach, and so many Kick-Offs can happen in a beach setting! While not everyone is close to a coastal beach, trips to beaches or pools with family are a hallmark of summer, and can be a great context for narrative work during summer sessions or upon return in the fall. Here are a number of technology resources that can serve as contexts and scaffolding for this summer topic. The Toca Life apps, featured here on the MindWing Blog previously, are excellent contexts for any level of narrative development. Toca Life: Vacation features a number of Settings from which you can develop descriptive elaboration: a beach (naturally), airport, and hotel. Toca Life: Town contains several homes...

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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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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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June 27, 2016

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Elephants Get the Hiccups?! Fun Lesson Teaching Kick-Offs and Compare/Contrast

Clifford's Hiccups Book CoverHiccups for Elephant Book Cover

Recently, I came across two books at my local library that both had the same Kick-Off: Hiccups for Elephant by James Preller and Clifford’s Hiccups adapted by Suzanne Weyn. In each, the main Character in the story has the hiccups. Maryellen Moreau has completed a workshop activity using the Preller book shown below. In the Hiccups for Elephant book, the hiccups that the elephant has is an Initiating Event (Kick-Off) for the animals in the forest who do not like being awakened by the hiccups, and each have a remedy to offer. The elephant, himself, is not seeking a remedy...

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