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November 05, 2010

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Inference: Students Don’t Know What They Don’t Know!

Help them ask Who, What, When, Where & Why Using the Story Grammar Marker®

Children often “don’t know” what they “don’t know!” Using the Story Grammar Marker® manipulative, parents, teachers and specialists can give children the ability to ASK AND ANSWER “Wh” questions such as: Who, What, When, Where and Why. Development of these abilities improves children’s oral language, writing, critical thinking and comprehension. It also especially can help children in social situations and conversations.

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October 29, 2010

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Adult/Child Interaction

Maryellen is having a conversation with her granddaughter Lauren at the age of two. Notice how Maryellen used a cuddly toy cow to encourage Lauren to remember a visit to a farm. The two had experienced the event is real time. This interaction centers on the memory of the visit and is expressed as a personal narrative...

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October 25, 2010

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“Make It Better” through Storytelling

We Can Make It Better by Elizabeth DelsandroIt’s really exciting when a speech-language material is published that provides clinicians with a ready-to-go resource that jibes well with strategies we already have been teaching. Such is definitely the case with the excellent We Can Make it Better program recently released by Think Social Publishing and written by Speech-Language Pathologist Elizabeth Delsandro. We Can Make it Better is a set of 20+ stories in which social interactions go quite wrong due to “unexpected behaviors” by one of the characters. The materials and activities unfold in a very logical therapeutic structure that challenges students to “make it better” by deciding alternative actions for the characters...

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October 12, 2010

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Use Google Search Stories tool to develop narrative and expository language

Every year during the Superbowl, a few commercials stick out from the sea of repetitive beer, snack food, and summer blockbuster ads.  This past year, one of the best was Google’s Parisian Love ad, which told the story of an American’s romance with a French woman in a simple and brilliant way, as an unseen character “Googled” various search terms that reflected events in his life.  A follow-up ad about a girl switching schools, which I never saw aired, would be even more relatable for kids and is definitely a great model of a complete episode.

These commercials were so popular that Google created a wonderful tool that allows users to make their own Search Stories. Simply pick your search terms and the type of search you want shown in your movie (e.g. web, image, product, map, etc), select the music and upload to a YouTube account (if you have Gmail, you already have a YouTube account)...

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October 12, 2010

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Let the Setting Speak for Itself

Blabberize, a web app that allows you to add a talking “mouth” and recording for any picture, is a great tool for developing all kinds of organization and oral language skills. I recently used it with students in conjunction with a Setting Map from It’s All About the Story to develop descriptive skills and the concept of setting.  After having students pick a favorite setting, we located a visually supportive image of the place using Google Images.  Students completed a Setting Map and described key elements such as Location, Function/Use, Areas/Parts, etc.  We then downloaded the image, logged in to Blabberize, added a mouth and integrated the notes on the Setting Map into an oral description.  The example you can view here is one created with an individual student; you can always keep it shorter if you have a group!...

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September 27, 2010

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Setting Can be the Key to a Story

Shortcut by Donald Crews

My previous post discussed the narrative element of setting and the tendency of students on the autism spectrum (or with other language disorders) to leave out details about setting, causing listener confusion. One way to explore the importance of setting is to plan interventions using books with an integral setting- where the setting is key to the motivations of the characters and understanding of the plot.

One of my favorites in this vein is Donald Crews’ Shortcut, the story of a group of cousins who find themselves in unexpected danger after taking a shortcut home. Not only does the book serve as an excellent example of building suspense around a small moment in a personal narrative (great for students working on memoir), it also lends itself to being mapped both on a Setting Map and a literal, visual map to develop storytelling skills...

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September 10, 2010

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Exploring Settings with Google Earth

In this post, I will be continuing to describe resources to supplement the lessons in It’s All About the Story, and moving on to the element of Setting. Setting is a key area of instruction for students on the autism spectrum not only because they tend not to observe the “expected behaviors” or script for a given setting, but also because they often leave out details about setting when telling stories to others, thus resulting in loss of a point of reference and confusion on the part of their listener. Students in social thinking/skills groups or individual treatment would therefore benefit from building descriptive skills through the use of the Setting Map contained in It’s All About the Story and other SGM resources...

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