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June 10, 2016

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Organizing Your SGM Materials for the New School Year

Poster Board OrganizationAs another school year winds down, I am reminded of what I always loved about teaching: There was always another year to plan to engage children, change approaches, learn new techniques, and grow as a professional!

As you pack up supplies and begin a few weeks of rest, file this idea away with your materials to consider implementing next year. This picture is an idea that Natalia Kofman, a colleague of mine in Westfield, MA, used to organize her SGM® materials in her fourth grade classroom...

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June 07, 2016

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Recognizing Feelings: Recycle Your Iced Tea Containers for a Cool Summer Activity

Final Board and Green CanAs you sip your iced tea on a hot summer day over the next couple of months, think about saving your iced tea containers for this very cool lesson and activity. It focuses on explicitly teaching how to recognize feelings and emotions in literature and in life. The explicit teaching of recognizing feelings in literature and in our interactions with others is imperative in our schools and in life. The above standards and quotes emphasize the importance of our need to help students identify feelings, recognize them in others, and make the connection to critical thinking and inference via the Critical Thinking Triangle. The SGM iconic structure is a concrete way to develop this necessity...

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June 02, 2016

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Activity for a Field Trip: Big Red Barn

Big Red Barn Book CoverThis time of the school year always reminds me of the many field trips I chaperoned while teaching kindergarten. The Zoo in Forest Park, Springfield, MA, was always a favorite, with a train ride around the park as our closing activity. We were fortunate to also have a beautiful park close by to our school, Stanley Park in Westfield, MA; a popular mini-trip within walking distance. The activity I am sharing today is one of 70 mini-lessons presented in the Braidy the StoryBraid® manual that we used when preparing for a farm trip to The Gran-Val Scoop in Granville, MA. As the name implies, the children were able to have a special treat of dairy-farm-made ice cream! Also included is a follow-up activity that we did on our return and a suggested extension activity...

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May 20, 2016

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Magnetic Spinner Activity for Narrative & Expository Text Questions

The “Core” of The Core ManualIn today’s classrooms, students are being asked to comprehend more complex materials in earlier grades with a particular emphasis on expository texts. The blending of both narrative and expository texts in many reading selections make understanding these structures a cornerstone for student comprehension success. The iconic structure of the SGM® provides a concrete visual and tactile scaffold to teach these structures to children. The expository text structures “tie in” to the narrative sequence. The “Core” of the Core manual explains this connection in detail showing how each narrative stage facilitates thinking about information (expository) structures.

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May 17, 2016

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Tech Tuesday: Chapter Books and Stickwriting, a Complementary Visual Strategy

The SOS File Book CoverUsing chapter books, which provide richer and yet more difficult narratives older students must tackle, has been a focus of the MindWing Blog this school year. In several of my posts, I have discussed tech-related avenues to getting the context of chapter books your students may be reading in class (to serve as topics for narrative intervention activities with SGM®), as well as apps that can visually represent the Critical Thinking Triangle®, a great support to review the narrative gist of chapters within a book. In this post, we are going to take a look at a great chapter book to use along with SGM®, The SOS File by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffy, and Laurie Myers, along with a strategy that aligns with narrative intervention, Stickwriting, or representing narrative elements through quick sketches...

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May 06, 2016

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Collaboration in the Classroom with Story Grammar Marker® & Big Al

Big Al CoverBig Al and Shrimpy CoverBig Al, written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Yoshi, was always one of my key books when working collaboratively with teachers as we implemented the SGM in classroom settings. There was so much to do with this picture book including mapping the story out as a Complete Episode using the SGM® map, retelling the story with partners, doing a written retelling using the completed map, working on character description using the SGM® Character Map, sequencing of events in the story, and using sequence words for story cohesion. Students and teachers alike were delighted to learn that Clements and Yoshi had teamed up in 2002 for another book featuring Big Al…Big Al and Shrimpy. Both stories begin with the same wording which created a natural segue to compare/contrast activities...

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May 03, 2016

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Story Analysis: “Too Many Tamales”

Cinco de Mayo artThursday is the celebration of Cinco de Mayo, a day commemorating a military victory between Mexican and French forces in 1862, but is now a celebration of Mexican culture, food, and music. May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, which celebrates the contributions of speech/language pathologists world-wide striving to enhance the communication abilities of children and adults of all ages. In keeping with both of these celebrations, we decided to feature the picture book entitled, Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Illustrated by Ed Martinez, because of the festive nature of the book as well as the fact that it is a picture book written at the highest level of narrative development...

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