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February 27, 2019

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Feelings Activities with Dr. Seuss “Cat in The Hat” and “Marco Comes Late”

Dr Seuss photoAs you know, March 2nd is the birthday of Dr. Seuss. He was born right around the corner from our MIndWing office here in Springfield, MA. Yesterday, I visited the Springfield Library to get a copy of The Cat and The Hat so I could share a lesson suggestion related to feelings. Along with that book, I found a copy of Horton and the Kwuggerbugs and Other Lost Stories. These stories were originally published in Redbook magazine between 1950-1955. Charles Cohen, a collector of all things Seuss, put together four of these selections in this book. Following The Cat and The Hat activity is an SGM analysis of one of those stories: “Marco Comes Late”...

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January 22, 2019

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Teaching Perspectives with “Grumpy Groundhog”

Grumpy Groundhog cover imageLast year, we got a lot of great feedback on our Groundhog Day blog, “6 Books and Activity for Groundhog Day.” Teachers seemed to especially like the last idea included in the blog, describing the groundhog’s burrow (from a List Map to a setting project, to sharing aloud). Check out last year’s blog if you haven’t seen it already! I came across another book presented in rhyme for Groundhog Day, Grumpy Groundhog written by Maureen Wright and illustrated by Amanda Haley. Below are a few ideas to use with this selection...

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January 11, 2019

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Teaching Aesop’s Fables and The Often Elusive “Lesson Learned” Using Story Grammar Marker

Aesop bust imageColleagues often ask how I would use the Story Grammar Marker® or Braidy the StoryBraid® with Aesop’s Fables. Fables are stories that teach a lesson and, because of that feature, are often part of academic curricula from grade 1 on. I decided to write a little bit about fables today because the lessons learned often relate to New Year’s Resolutions we all make! Most often fables involve animals as the characters but relate to human nature. Perspective taking, Theory of Mind and Lessons Learned are required to understand a fable. All of these are difficult for many students. The following shows the use of our Story Grammar Marker® icons to map “The Ants & The Grasshopper” fable for purposes of comprehension and expression. These icons—and our entire SGM® approach—will be 28 years old in 2019!...

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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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