This year brought those of the speech-language pathologist ilk to Orlando, which I have come to think of as the land of simulated Character and Setting. I thought of the role of narrative throughout the entire conference, especially when at the closing party I rode The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios. As we were jostled around on a cart in front of an IMAX screen, we experienced dual Kick-Offs: the family being chased through a theme park by old nemesis Sideshow Bob, eventually rescued by daughter Maggie who had been subject to her own Kick-Off of being irradiated to giant size!
Inside the more sedate but still stimulating conference halls, MindWing’s tools were shared by a number of presenters including me! In Developing Expressive Language In Preschoolers: Strategies to Increase Utterance Length and Complexity (Mentis, Howland, Graham), the authors described their integration of Braidy the StoryBraid® into a language and literacy program for preschoolers, providing graduate student clinicians with wonderful experience in targeting language in the context of stories and play. The presenters recommended a number of books used within their program, moving from emphasis on simple to more complex story grammar and microstructure.
The first day of the convention, I participated in a group presentation, Imagine Integration: Incorporating Evidence-Based Methodologies in Telepractice, linking the tech tools of telepractice to current evidence-based practices including narrative and expository intervention with Story Grammar Marker® and ThemeMaker®. As I joked at the presentation beginning, “I’m not a telepractice provider, but I play one on TV!” I have had a longstanding collaboration with co-presenters Amy Reid and Nathan Curtis of Waldo County General Hospital in Maine, who have developed a telepractice specialty. My specialty is instructional technology, useful in both telepractice and in-person therapies. For you, hopefully these examples will be useful in either type of therapy!
I presented a lesson sequence integrating the science topic of simple machines, meant to be an example of the myriad of topics that could be used to teach language underpinnings such as narrative and expository language structure, as well as microstructure elements of vocabulary and syntax. UGH by Arthur Yorinks and If I Built A Car by Van Dusen were picture books presented which could kick off the context of describing the function of machines and developing macrostructure. In the former, a young cave-boy responds to the invention of the wheel by inventing a bicycle, setting off a Cinderella-like chain of events in which the villagers strive to find the inventor of this new device.
Old favorite BrainPop Jr was discussed as a resource for presenting expository language about simple machines along with some suggested follow-up activities! Looking back to ideas shared on the blog “Because and So Science,” I also discussed research supporting the use of science contexts to develop causal clauses within science experiments. TinyBop’s Simple Machines (see the free manual for information on what the app does) provides an engaging way to set up “experiments” without the need for gathering many materials.
Co-presenter Amy Reid went on to describe the use of some terrific videos demonstrating narrative language structure. “Patchwork Pals” and “Animanimals” (also available on Amazon Prime Video) provide great contexts for story mapping, and allow for many practice opportunities within a series. One of Amy’s favorite visual strategies is combining Story Grammar Marker® icons with the Somebody-Wanted-But-So-At Last (MacOn, Bewell & Vogt, 1991, Beers, 2003) framework (for use with Animanimals–Sloth).
Hopefully these examples will assist you in your interventions. Stay tuned for a Part 2 of this wrap-up next month!