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June 09, 2015


Technology Tuesday: Vocabulary, Summer Programming, and Story Grammar Marker®!

World's Worst Pet Vocabulary photo1Some years ago as an SLP in the elementary school setting, I was informed by a colleague of Isabel Beck’s revolutionary approach to targeting vocabulary. In the book Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Development, co-written with Margaret McKeown and Linda Kucan, the authors describe a methodology for building vocabulary revolving around key principles...

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May 28, 2015


Looking at Expository Discourse Across the Grade Levels

In each of our summer studies posts, we have been looking at recent research articles that may inform your use of Mindwing’s narrative and expository tools as you ease into a new school year. This post will look at a study that examined the expository language of typically developing 5th-9th graders along with their performance on a language elicitation protocol. In this way, the article provided key information about assessment, but also has supportive points for the use of the language structures of ThemeMaker® both in assessment and intervention.

The Rules of the Game: Properties of a Database of Expository Language Samples (Heilmann and Malone, 2014) was written by two researchers working at the university and school district levels, respectively, in order to summarize their efforts at constructing a database to illuminate language skills for this older age group and serve as a clinical basis of comparison. The full article is available via ASHAWire (ASHA’s electronic publications portal) if you are a member.

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April 17, 2015


Part 3: Feelings, Perspective Taking, Theory of Mind, Empathy and Mr. Hatch!

Mr Hatch CoverOur last blog focused on Mr. Hatch’s feelings in response to three separate kick-offs Shoe from Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch.

We used the new Feelings/Kick-Off Map (below) and looked at the back of the Feelings mini-poster for an additional activity that would lend itself to a center activity. Our goal is to develop an understanding of the relationship between the kick-off and feelings of characters that ultimately leads to an awareness of the critical thinking triangle, which motivates the actions of characters. Today, we will expand on our feelings activities...

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March 16, 2015


Complete and Share SGM® Story Maps (Paperless!) with Google Drive

Google Screenshot 1The MindWing Narrative and Expository Maps are to me an invaluable part of the visual language tools within the Braidy the StoryBraid®, Story Grammar Marker®, and ThemeMaker® programs. Of course the SGM iPad App gives you one option to work with the icons in these programs digitally while scaffolding language development--but it’s not the only way!

Google Apps for Education is a resource that is now implemented in many public school districts, allowing for digital creation, storage, sharing, and collaboration on word processing and other types of documents. The power of Google Apps (a.k.a. “Drive” or “Docs” — they all pretty much mean the same thing) is that it gives you access to your files from any computer or device, and allows you to share important information between key staff members without handing off any paper! If your district has not implemented Google’s tools, you can also access all of them for free with a Google account (i.e. if you have a Gmail, you can just navigate to your Google Drive). Click on the “matrix” of squares in any Google account to navigate between apps, including Google Drive...

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February 20, 2015


Enjoy Using the Story Grammar Marker® Materials For Traditional and Graphical Stories

Our winter theme is expanding in literature as well as in real life here in New England. From blogs containing twelve episodes of Frozen to Owl Moon to the recent Blizzards of 2015, we have chosen two versions of the same story reflecting a winter theme.

The Snow Walker Book Cover

The Snow Walker
(On My Own History)

By Margaret K. Wetterer and Charles M. Wetterer (Authors)
Mary O'Keefe Young (Illustrator)
Carolrhoda Books (Lerner)
Minneapolis, MN: 1996
ISBN: 978-0876149591

Milton Daub Book Cover

The Snowshoeing Adventure of Milton Daub, Blizzard Trekker
(History's Kid Heroes)

By Margaret K. Wetterer and Charles M. Wetterer (Authors)
Emma Carlson Berne (Adapter), Zachary Trover (Illustrator)
Graphic Universe (Lerner)
Minneapolis, MN: 2010
ISBN: 978-0761361947


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February 03, 2015


Owl Moon: A Winter Adventure with Narrative and Expository Text

Owl Moon book CoverSnowy evenings often inspire poets, musicians and writers. One that I love is Robert Frost’s famous poem entitled Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. I have a beautiful copy of this poem with illustrations by Susan Jeffers. This poem happens to be an exemplar poem listed in Appendix 2 of the Common Core State Standards. The last page of the book has a note written by the illustrator about her mother, an artist, who would take her daughter for walks on snowy evenings: “My mother’s favorite thing to do was simply to walk outside and look. She was a painter and my first painting lessons came from her. They were really lessons in looking. She would ask me: What is the color of the tree shadow? Is it blue? Blue- green” Violet? She was teaching me to paint what I saw, not what I knew. What I knew would never be enough.” Color often is a clue to the author’s, poet’s or illustrator’s theme. Robert Frost’s poem, so beautifully illustrated in this version, reminded me of Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr, due to similarities of the winter night’ setting, the owls and the mention of colors...

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May 30, 2014


Wrapping Up Better Hearing and Speech Month with Sound and “Stories”

SGM iPad AppIn May, as we celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month, we look to promote awareness of communication in all its forms, which includes storytelling and discourse. As we close out the month, we wanted to suggest an app that promotes dialogue about communication (and provides a source of expository text), aligns with MindWing’s Thememaker Maps, and suggests a twist on using the SGM® iPad App!

The  San Francisco Exploratorium’s free Sound Uncovered app for iPad provides a wealth of information about hearing and sound...

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