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February 21, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: Snow Stories

Picture of Woodland SnowfallJust about any topic can be a context to develop narrative and expository language with Story Grammar Marker®, Braidy the StoryBraid®, and Thememaker®’s narrative and informational language icons and maps.

Right about now, snow is big on everyone’s mind in the Northeast, having just endured a blizzard and with another snowy week on the way. So, though I don’t love it, snow can provide a good example of working within a theme and identifying and pairing activities to build narrative and other language skills while immersing students in a context...

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September 26, 2016

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Tech Tuesday: Build a Story with LEGO, Part 2

Smart Apps for Kids Website ListIn last month’s Tech Tuesday post, we discussed the potential of LEGO® products in interventions for social cognition and language development. The post focused on the uses of real, hands-on LEGOs for building stories, specifically, using baseplates to collaboratively build a Setting with minifigure characters, with blocks setting the stage for discussion of Actions, Kick-Offs, and Reactions. At the same time, multifunction LEGO blocks provide students with opportunities to apply the Social Thinking® concepts of “sharing imagination” and “adding thoughts” as they build together. In this post, let’s look at some (mostly) tech-based opportunities to capitalize on students’ interest in LEGO....

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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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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 21, 2016

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Tech Tuesday: Using the Pic Collage App with Complete Episode Narratives

For this month’s Tech Tuesday, I will be discussing the use of a phenomenal and versatile app, Pic Collage, which can be used to make storyboards for books that can be analyzed as Complete Episode Narratives with use of Story Grammar Marker®. Pic Collage has long been a favorite of mine, and I have written about it previously and presented with MindWing Concepts on its uses.  It seems that every time I sit down with a student, I find a new way to use this app! Pic Collage is a free app that is available for both iPad and Android devices...

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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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April 19, 2016

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Tech Tuesday: Tech Tie-Ins to Autism Awareness Month

Zones of Regulation: Exploring Emotions Screenshot

For this month’s Technology Tuesday, I wanted to spin off of the previous post and mention new resources relating to the themes of a few of these posts from the MindWing archives. So here is some commentary and additional tools relating to four of our back catalog of posts relating to language learning in the population of students with autism spectrum and related disorders. Aligning SGM® with The Zones of Regulation, and Tech-Tie-Ins! This post described the key connections between Story Grammar Marker® and Leah Kuypers’ wonderful and extremely useful Zones of Regulation curriculum. In the post, resources such as Pic Collage were mentioned for making visuals elaborating on emotional vocabulary associate with each Zone, and YouTube Kids for locating video scenes to assist students in identifying Zones and “Triggers” (essentially Kick-Offs) in others...

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