This past week featured the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s annual national convention in our home state (and my home city of Boston)! MindWing presented and exhibited at the convention and I was proud to be part of two presentations that incorporated MindWing’s tools with context-setting resources including both technology and picture books.
I was thrilled to present another edition of an oral seminar describing the helpful pairing of picture books and apps for contextualized language intervention. As this year’s ASHA theme focused on evolution and innovation within the field of speech-language pathology, this presentation centered around pairings that aligned with social studies and science topics (Boston also is a “Hub” of both disciplines).
Some of the background within this presentation centered on why SLPs and literacy interventionists might seek to incorporate social studies and science topics in our work:
Take the topic of earth and space science, in which the picture book Martian Rock (Shields/Nash) provides a great example of the power of story form. It can be mapped as a complete episode as follows:
This fun picture book serves to convey factual information about the solar system in a fun narrative package. Part of these presentations serves to advance the idea that apps or websites can be used as post-activities that extend the context of the book while providing additional language-learning opportunities (for example, using MindWing’s Thememaker® maps to break down the information conveyed in the app, or in a bottom-up fashion to plan and track choices within a creation).
In this regard, take a look at Solar Walk ($4.99 for iPad, the developer also offers some free versions of their apps). This Google-Earth-like app allows you to tap, pinch and zoom to explore the solar system, along with expository text to describe each structure.
For a different spin on a post-activity for Martian Rock, see SPACE by THIX ($2.99), which allows students to create their own solar system in a sandbox-like experience. Science concepts are embedded as students can choose to orbit different kinds of planets (e.g., gas giants) around various stars (e.g., yellow dwarf).
To apply the same principles to Social Studies, one of my favorite examples is Laurie Keller’s Scrambled States of America. In this hilarious narrative, bored Kansas and Nebraska (Characters), stuck in the middle of the country (Setting), decide to host a party at which all the states decide to change places (Kick-Off/Plan). In the process, facts about the states are embedded in their interactions. This book pairs well with apps like Geography Drive USA ($2.99 for iPad). Many of the questions posed by this quiz-based app can be answered if you play it over a USA map, as you explore setting by “driving” or “flying” from state to state.
Feel free to check out my full handout and see more ways you can target narrative and expository structure within science and social studies topics!