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April 09, 2020

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April 9, 2020, Amid the COVID19 Pandemic, FB Live

Are You Ready to Play Outside book coverToday I want to show how authors always include information in their stories. We should look for it as we read. For instance, the information for the setting is a time and a place…BUT…what is happening at that time in that place is the important part for a story! The timing of a kick-off and how characters in the setting respond to the kick-off through feelings, thoughts, words and actions is finalized when the character makes a plan. How things turn out as a consequence depends on the actions (attempts) to carry out the plan and whether the plan is realized. I used the book, Are You Ready To Play Outside? by Mo Willems. This book is part of a series starring Gerald the Elephant and Piggy, the pig! I noted in my mini-lesson that you might want to look at this book for the concept that kick-offs (the rain) often occur gradually in many situations...

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December 04, 2019

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Let It Snow! Winter-Themed Lessons with Story Grammar Marker®

Casey and Maryellen snow photoHere in Western Massachusetts, we just had a Thanksgiving weekend storm that dropped 2 FEET of snow in our backyards! It reminded us to share with you links to our past blog posts that contain winter-themed lessons and downloads. Also, we included a comprehensive list of favorite winter-themed books. At left is Maryellen and granddaughter Casey (aged 5) with their snowman.

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November 13, 2019

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Setting & Sequencing with “The Firefighters’ Thanksgiving”

Firefighter’s ThanksgivingToday, I came across a book with a Thanksgiving theme that I would like to share with you. Also, at the end of this blog, you will find a list of additional resources for Thanksgiving that may be of interest to you. This book would be ideal to use with the setting icon as we follow the firefighters throughout their Thanksgiving Day. The book is presented in rhyme and the acrylic painting illustrations enhance the story of being thankful and joining together to show appreciation. After reading the selection, I reviewed the firefighters' day with my small group of students with my magnetic whiteboard and Story Grammar Marker Icon Magnets. I used the setting icon to emphasize that a setting is not only a place, but also time as well as the action icons for the sequence of events...

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August 21, 2019

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When No One There Is Like You: Exploring Feelings & “Belonging” with SGM

The Day You Begin cover imageThe Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez, is a beautiful, nonlinear story to share with children, especially at the beginning of the school year. It encourages children to think about their feelings when entering new situations and creates an opportunity for teachers to provide a discussion with and to show support of children in such situations. Before sharing the selection, take a look at the following links for background information. This book is actually a story of a girl named Angelina, included with examples and guiding suggestions for fitting in, with which all of us can identify. Included below is also a link to the illustrator’s website, Rafael Lopez, discussing the development of the artwork for this book, which older students would find interesting...

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July 25, 2019

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Character Development, Six-Second-Stories™ and Jojo Siwa

Casey to camp imageThis past week my 5-year-old daughter Casey went to camp. On the first day, I suggested that she wear a T-shirt that depicts something she likes (LOL: Dolls, Unicorns, JoJo Siwa, Mermaids, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc.) so that when she is meeting new friends, they can immediately know something she likes and ask her about it. She chose a T-shirt with a picture of “JoJo Siwa,” who is a young, popular performer. By wearing that, new friends will know a little about her as a “character” in a social setting. Upon arriving at camp, within 30 seconds, a Dad and daughter walked in and the Dad said, “You like Jojo Siwa? Avery and her mom saw Jojo Siwa in a concert this summer!”...

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July 15, 2019

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Tech Tuesday/Summer Study Series: Because and So Science

TinyBop screenshotFor July’s entry in the “Summer Study Series,” we’ll be looking at some cool connections to the science curriculum in addressing the macrostructure and microstructure of language. Our posts this summer are summarizing recent research related to narrative and expository language and Story Grammar Marker®/ThemeMaker® to give you some scientific thought for summer. To set the tone, there are some natural connections between the SGM® and ThemeMaker® methodologies and using science content with students. Narrative and expository elements give a framework for summarizing story and information, elaborating, focusing on main ideas and reducing the load on working memory by providing a scaffolded structure. The scientific method itself, moving from observation (Character/Setting), planning and hypothesizing, following experimental steps, and developing a conclusion, can be reframed using the Story Grammar Marker® as is demonstrated in the original SGM® manual...

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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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