As a (mostly entirely) telepracticing Speech-Language Pathologist during these weird times, I have found fostering narrative language in my students to be an even more critical intervention area than before. From providing opportunities to help students escape into stories, to helping them share their thoughts and feelings on school and home, current events and relationships, the Story Grammar Marker® has been an essential tool in therapy. In this post, I will describe some tech-based applications of SGM® for you to consider during the pandemic.
Even with, and perhaps, because of the prevalence of remote learning, students are feeling isolated and likely having fewer opportunities to tell their stories and gain connections with others. In group therapy, we spend time letting conversation “breathe” and scaffolding connections. One way I have worked on this is to blend the new Conversation Paths product by Dr. Anna Vagin, CCC-SLP with Story Grammar Marker® Icons to tackle multiple narrative and social-cognitive goals. Conversation Paths is a pack of editable conversation-scaffolding visuals (PowerPoint) targeting the building blocks of conversation: “4 Starters” (initiation strategies), comments, questions, and others. These visuals are easily modifiable for different “paths,” use of building blocks and different types of conversations (e.g., a “show and tell”), and are useful in teletherapy through screen sharing or display in a classroom. In the image below, I have combined the 4 Starter block with SGM® icons to scaffold Six-Second-Stories™ (McElhinney) in the form of activities such as “High and Low” (tell about the high and low of your week). Typing on screen as students share and offer connections aids in processing, fosters interaction and reinforces conversational participation. I find my students ask for this activity if I ever omit it!
You can obtain this digital pack very inexpensively at Dr. Vagin’s website.
Using the SGM® iPad App provides social distancing and, within a sanitizable surface, takes potentially virus-spreading paper materials out of the equation. Spending time consulting with schools, I find that all are taking the logical step of trying to reduce or eliminate paper-passing. The SGM® iPad App is one digital tool that spurs engagement and visual support while mapping narrative and expository text of all genres. As you may know, the app contains the icon sets for all levels of the Developmental Sequence of Narrative, List, Sequence, and Descriptive expository maps, and the ability to create your own maps of any kind. Text, images, and drawings can be added as maps are created, and students (even at a distance) can then orally narrate from the map.
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A coworker once commented, “she’s JUST reading books with the kids.” GULP. This crushed me more than, “they JUST play games in speech.” Before I let the doubt sink in I reminded myself that I spent OVER A YEAR reading, conducting research, writing, and defending my graduate thesis. Oh, and it was titled: Language Production and Executive Functions in Preschool Children’s Narrative. So, do I think narrative production and literacy based treatment is important? You better believe it. I am a BIG fan of @storygrammarmarker Anyone else? 🙋🏼♀️ But here is the thing, with strict cleaning protocols and everyone wanting to touch my teacher braid, I’ve decided to stick with the SGM app. Here’s what I ❤️ about it: 1️⃣ using it in digital form means it’s a quick clean between students 2️⃣ you can choose which element you want to focus on 3️⃣ students can type, draw, take and add pictures 4️⃣ you can easily send the document to your email to forward to families and/or teachers Tell me... do you use SGM in your sessions? Do you have the app?
The SGM® iPad App is useful also in teletherapy sessions through iPad mirroring. Many therapists screenshare and offer remote control to students during sessions to add visual and interactive engagement. Although iPad apps—including the SGM® iPad App—cannot be controlled by students remotely, they still can be screenshared and their contexts are quite helpful for therapy activities.
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I love using the @storygrammarmarker SGM app during remote learning. I read the book to students and then screen share the app from my iPad. Students tell me all of the components of the story grammar, and love watching me add drawings. When we finish, students retell the story with the app as a visual prompt. Using this makes planning for therapy a breeze. #slplife #slpslovebooks #speechtherapyapps #speechlanguagepathologist #speechlanguagepathology #schoolslp #storygrammarmarker
There are several ways to mirror an iPad app during a teletherapy session (using Zoom, Google Meet, or other platforms).
On a Mac:
On a PC:
These steps are also shown in this video recorded in April, 2020.