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July 11, 2014


Settings and the Five Senses

Valley of the Dolls Cover

The book that my friends and I are reading in July for our Book Club is the best seller Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. I am only a couple of chapters in, but the first few sentences in this book struck me, because this passage exemplifies the idea of authors’ ability to create “movies” in their readers’ minds.

"The temperature hit ninety degrees the day she arrived. New York was steaming — an angry concrete animal caught unawares in an unseasonable hot spell. But she didn't mind the heat or the littered midway called Times Square. She thought New York was the most exciting city in the world" (Susann, 1966). The author used many senses to describe the setting; how the heat felt, what she saw and heard and smelled. Susann also used figurative language and personification (“angry concrete animal”) to create a very vivid mental image of New York City...

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June 27, 2014


Perspective Taking in Literature

Maryellen Rooney Moreau presented last weekend at Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking Providers’ Conference in San Francisco. In 2003, Winner stated: “Perspective taking is needed for social interaction, academic success and personal problem-solving as an adult.” Social Thinking, the work of Winner, heavily focuses on perspective-taking. Maryellen’s presentation, meant to exemplify this statement, was called Let’s Think About It! Perspective-taking And The Thought Process Of Opinion/Argument Using The Story Grammar Marker®. In her presentation she covered the following topics:

  • Narrative development in relation to perspective taking
  • Speaking and listening Common Core State Standards and narrative development
  • The role of mental models and social emotions in perspective taking
  • The Situation Model and the Story Grammar Marker®
  • Critical thinking and its relation to perspective-taking and argument
  • The shift to Expository text structures in ELA due to the Common Core State Standards
  • Thinking about, planning and writing opinion & argument

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June 13, 2014


SGM® Summer Study Series

When asking a child how he or she feels or asking how they think a character feels, the answer is often happy, sad or mad. Occasionally you could get an answer like "scared." MindWing Concepts' manuals for Braidy the StoryBraid® as well as It's All About the Story portray the 6 universal feelings (right). We encourage children to use synonyms for these "feelings" words that also indicate the degrees and nuances of happiness, sadness or anger that they themselves or a character might be feeling. Below are lists of synonyms for the six universal feelings.

MindWing also created an 18"x24" Feelings poster and a Feelings mini poster to help to inspire the use of different emotion words for when children are telling or writing a story, to make the "feelings" more explicit. But, not all "feelings" are the same.

In an article called "Picturebooks and Emotional Literacy" in The Reading Teacher, the author explains that "although there are emotions for all shades and degrees of joys, sadness and anger, it is problematic to create a universal facial expression for envy or pride" (Nikolajeva, p.253). These emotions can be called social emotions. "Unlike basic [universal] emotions, social or higher cognitive emotions such as love, guilt, shame, pride, envy and jealousy are not innate, or least considerably less innate than basic emotions and may be culturally dependent" (Nilolajeva, p.252).

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May 30, 2014


Wrapping Up Better Hearing and Speech Month with Sound and “Stories”

SGM iPad AppIn May, as we celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month, we look to promote awareness of communication in all its forms, which includes storytelling and discourse. As we close out the month, we wanted to suggest an app that promotes dialogue about communication (and provides a source of expository text), aligns with MindWing’s Thememaker Maps, and suggests a twist on using the SGM® iPad App!

The  San Francisco Exploratorium’s free Sound Uncovered app for iPad provides a wealth of information about hearing and sound...

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April 25, 2014


“The Incredible Flexible You” and Braidy Make a Great Pair!

April is Autism Awareness Month, and here on the blog we wanted to showcase a connection between Mindwing’s tools and interventions that target social learning for children with autism!

Over the past year since its release, I have found The Incredible Flexible You™ Curriculum Set (Volume 1) by Ryan Hendrix, Kari Zweber Palmer, Nancy Tarshis and Michelle Garcia Winner and published via Social Thinking® to be an invaluable teaching tool! Targeted to early learners—preschool through 2nd grade, but adaptable to older students requiring basic social learning lessons—the curriculum set aims to develop key social cognitive concepts through stories and play. The five storybooks that come with Volume 1 set the context for many lessons and play activities as the main characters, Evan, Ellie, Jessie and Molly, learn and demonstrate the core concepts in the set...

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March 27, 2014


Maryellen Presenting at 7th Annual Social Thinking Providers’ Conference / FREE “The Worrywarts” lesson!

“Worrywarts Book CoverMaryellen Rooney Moreau is presenting again at the Social Thinking Providers’ Conference in South San Francisco on June 20! Having presented with Michelle Garcia Winner in her four initial Traveling Providers Conferences (Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis, 2013), we have been receiving much interest in our professional development opportunities and our many tools for narrative development and social communication. Narratives can be used to facilitate the building the gestalt or the “big picture.” Narrative ability is much more than a simple story retell. In fact, it is a window into oral language development, listening and reading comprehension, written expression and social communication through the communication of feelings and thoughts. Narrative development and its stages are present in language and cognitive research dating back to the late 1970s. Using our tools assists in informing instruction and designing intervention for students in general education, special education and students who are learning English as a second language...

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March 17, 2014


There is a new “character” at MindWing Concepts!

Casey and St. Patrick’s DayWe are thrilled to share that on February 17th, Maryellen Rooney Moreau welcomed her 4th grandchild into the world! Casey is Sheila Moreau's first child and Maryellen's 3rd granddaughter. This is the first picture of Casey that was taken.

She continues to be very alert and Maryellen is already studying her language development, noticing that Casey focuses her eyes on the “characters and settings” around her. Casey loves the sound of Nana’s voice (as do so many of Maryellen’s workshop participants)! Today, on March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, one of our favorite holidays, Casey is one month old!..

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