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August 07, 2018

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Spiders! 5 Books, Resources and Activities

Large Spider imageAs so often happens when I see a certain book or project, it reminds me of particular lessons that I taught while teaching at the former Juniper Park School in Westfield, MA. A recent display of books on spiders at our local library did just that. Below are some ideas on spider-related books that you may want to try this summer or tuck them away in your files for future use. In addition to other resources, several of the selections below are Anansi trickster tales which were first told by the Ashanti people in Ghana. We begin our lesson suggestions with one of the Anansi stories adapted and retold by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Janet Stevens. These were always popular with second and third graders. I liked to use them to reinforce the SGM® complete and interactive episodes and character traits...

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July 03, 2018

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Two Summer Books (and More) with Feelings!

Heart icon graphicAs a former teacher of 38 years, I know summer is a time for educators to catch some much-needed R&R with family and friends. It is also a time to reflect on the past school year; what we thought went well and what changes we can make in the upcoming school year to improve student learning. I am always on the lookout for new books/materials to add to my lessons and recently came across two books that may interest you...

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November 20, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: Stories of Turkey Day

P is For Pilgrim book linkTechnology, as always, can help us bring contexts to the table, including the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Here is an updated list of tech-based visuals and interactives that can be used to elicit narrative and expository language using Story Grammar Marker®, ThemeMaker, MindWing’s narrative and expository maps, magnets, and the SGM® iPad App (still on sale through November for $14.99 in celebration of ASHA Convention). Epic! Books for Kids: This terrific resource offering free educator accounts and a huge variety of e-books (readable on iPad, web or Apple TV), offers some great contexts when you search for “Thanksgiving.” Among these are P is for Pilgrim: A Thanksgiving Alphabet (Crane/Urban), an alphabet book for all ages. Consider using this book to explore two different settings: past and present...

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October 24, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: Spooky Stories, Revisited with Kick-Offs!

Toontastic LogoThe Toontastic app has long been a good companion for interventions with Story Grammar Marker®. The original app, released in the early 2010s, was designed with scaffolding in mind, as a “patch,” so to speak, on the problem of decreased play time and increased expectations for students to “write stories” as they reached first grade. Toontastic has undergone some changes after being purchased by Google a few years ago, and is now available as a free “Toontastic 3D” version for both iPad and Android...

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June 27, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: This summer, play “Duck Duck Moose” to consider narrative and expository language-building opportunities

Duck Duck Moose LogoOne helpful strategy in locating apps useful in language intervention is to know and follow (via their Facebook page, Twitter or Website) the developers. We have previously mentioned developers such as Sago Mini, Toca Boca, Social Skill Builder, and LEGO®KHAN ACADEMY, the Edtech force known most for distribution of expository video related to curriculum, recently bought the development company Duck Duck Moose, and their terrific apps continue to be offered free of charge. In this post I’ll talk about a few of them, along with great opportunities to use them as a context or context-builder alongside MindWing’s tools for narrative and expository language development...

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May 23, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: 4 (and More) Ways To Tell the Story Digitally

Laptop picture iPad picture Google Docs icons

Last month I visited the MindWing Concepts offices to lead a small group workshop on integrating tech tools with Story Grammar Marker® and Thememaker®. One of the biggest topics of interest involved ways to use MindWing’s story and expository maps on laptops, iPads and even within Google Apps, and we spent a chunk of time exploring these possibilities. We thought that this topic could use an update on the blog, so here we go! First of all, some rationale. Why might you want to work with these tools digitally (meaning the files—PDFs—provided with your purchase of any MindWing manual, either via CD-ROM in previous years, or more recently, via a free download code within the manual)? A few reasons:...

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April 25, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: More on Social Detective work from Social Thinking® and Social Skill Builder

Autism Awareness RibbonIn April, Autism Awareness and Acceptance month, we have a specific focus on the population of students with autism spectrum disorders, awareness of their strengths and challenges, as well as strategies to help them be successful. This diagnosis often accompanies difficulties in social attention and situational awareness, as well as the ability to use narrative language to describe situations. And what is a situation? Essentially it comprises people (Characters) in a place and time (Setting) when events typical to the situation or unexpected for the situation (Kick-Off) occur. Besides the clear tie-in with Story Grammar Marker® in this regard, also see the work of SLPs Sarah Ward and Kristen Jacobsen on the Space, Time, Objects, and People (STOP and Think) model of situational awareness...

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