Tech Tuesday: Make Simple Parallel Stories with Jamboard! - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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Tech Tuesday: Make Simple Parallel Stories with Jamboard!

by Sean Sweeney February 03, 2023 3 min read

Jamboard logofrom Google is a tool that was created “just in time” (in tech-talk) for the pandemic. Of course, these events thrust us into new ways of working with our students from a distance. Jamboard’s simple whiteboard features simplified remote, tech-based clinical interactions, such as solidifying ideas with pictures and making thinking visible with sticky notes.

Jamboard was released in 2017 as a business-brainstorming tool and had started to make its way into educational circles more widely when the unthinkable happened: schools and clinical settings needed to shut down. Throughout the pandemic, it was an invaluable tool, one which I wrote about here in conjunction with the use of MindWing’s Digital Icons. But like some emergency practices, it has continued to be extremely useful. See the linked post above for some nitty-gritty how-tos on using Jamboard. In this post we are going to focus on a specific application of creating parallel stories.

Story Making book coverThe practice of using picture books in speech-language and literacy interventions is well established, as it can provide a context for teaching narrative structure (with Story Grammar Marker® of course) and microstructure such as syntax and vocabulary targets. I was first introduced to the idea of parallel stories in Puera and Deboer’s Story Making: Using Predictable Literature to Develop Communication (grab a copy of this out-of-print gem while you can). In this book, the authors outline how “repeated line” books—useful for their story elements as well as targets such as plurals, tenses, or temporal and causal clauses—can be extended with the interactive creation of parallel stories. Students can make choices within your structured activity to create a “same but different” book that contains some of the same distilled targets, but perhaps in a different context. For example, Rod Campbell’s classic Dear Zoo can be translated into requests and descriptions of food in the mode of “Dear Restaurant.”

More Story Making coverWhile Puera and Doboer’s book (there’s a sequel, More Story Making, too!) is harder to find now, there are still plenty of supports for finding predictable literature: Check out this great list from AAC Interventions. My recent favorite in supporting graduate students implementing literature-based language interventions in the clinic has been this Epic! Books for Kids Collection from OMazing KidsBear Over the Mountain cover (accounts on Epic! are free educators). From this list, take for example Iza Trapani’s The Bear Went Over the Mountain, a sensory journey that was a nice fit for our client’s goals in expanding story elements and elaborated noun phrases. You could select any context for a parallel story, but we picked a supermarket:

Jamboard 1

Jamboard’s quick-and-easy features made it a snap to insert a girl character: Add image, search using Google Images, add PNG to your search term to get an image without a background for better blend in the scene. Use the background selection and search to make a background image, in this case a produce department, and write your parallel text with Sticky Notes. This process can be made more interactive by having the student describe items with elaborated noun phrases, e.g., shiny red peppers, and placing these on Stickies as well.

Copy your whole frame to change it up—your Sticky Notes will be editable—for another scene within the supermarket:

Jamboard 2

You can continue creating the book as you go! Note that you can use SGM® as a tool throughout the process to scaffold descriptions of settings, action sequences, or to play with potential problems!

Jamboard 3

Sean Sweeney
Sean Sweeney

Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Needham, MA, and as a clinical supervisor at Boston University. He consults to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie (, looks at technology “through a language lens.” Contact him at

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