Tech Tuesday: Stories of Turkey Day - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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Tech Tuesday: Stories of Turkey Day

by Sean Sweeney November 20, 2017 2 min read

Technology, 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 P is For Pilgrim book linkyou 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, and having students sketch elements described in the book on a huge piece of paper, or with the app Paper by 53 logoPaper by 53, an easy-to-use sketch journal. Many other books are available in the app, including Celebrating Thanksgiving (Gleisner), a visual overview of the holiday which provides a good opportunity to use Braidy the Storybraid® to recast the sequence of events around Thanksgiving.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Two tech resources will help you use this classic story for narrative intervention: the app based on the television special and YouTube. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving app logoA Charlie Brown Thanksgiving ($4.99) reviews the story with “living animation” and interactives such as a hidden leaf hunt. In interventions recently I have also used the following clip from the special as a means to incorporate the Critical Thinking Triangle® and to have students identify the Zones of Regulation in the characters (aligning well with the narrative element of Feelings/Response).

This portion of the story can be mapped using Critical Thinking Triangle® maps or Pic Collage (use the Web Search to find a Critical Thinking Triangle® visual) reflecting different perspectives such as those of Snoopy and Peppermint Patty (you could do Charlie Brown, too!):

Pic Collage sample 1

Pic Collage sample 2

You are A Historian picturePlimoth Plantation’s You Are the Historian: This robust interactive website (will not run on iPad, use a desktop, Chromebook or laptop) is intended to lead students toward investigating the first Thanksgiving through visuals, interactives and simple documents. In the process, many contexts are presented that could be mapped with MindWing’s Expository Maps.

For example, the Fact or Myth activity presents an interactive in which students can match captions to visuals; this would then be a good context to make a LIST of myths about the first Thanksgiving (narrative, metalinguistic and vocabulary tie-in: a myth is a story that is not true). The activity exploring Wampanoag life presents a SEQUENCE of elements related to the seasons of the year, and students can explore a colonial home and create a DESCRIPTION/SETTING map.

Plimoth Plantation sample

Holiday Dinner app on iTunesHoliday Dinner: The More Holiday Dinner ($1.99) app is a hit with all ages, as most kids love to talk about food and their own experiences with it. Use this visual support to tell your own stories about cooking successes and failures, and see what your students say in return! In addition, this app leads you toward choosing a LIST of food to serve, and, following a SEQUENCE of actions, to make items like turkey and stuffing.

Holiday Dinner sample picture

Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

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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