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April 03, 2012


Using SGM and Thememaker for Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a recent trend in educational design, and involves presenting students with real-world contextual tasks that relate to curriculum areas. PBL is a great approach for Speech-Language Pathologists and Special Educators to employ as our students benefit from having their learning relate to personally relevant and functional content. To learn more about PBL, watch this great video from Common Craft. One tool that has been integrated as a kind of PBL is the “Webquest,” a set of web pages that outline a task and provide web-based resources for its completion. Webquests are not new, and teachers have been developing them for some time. There is a particular Webquest that I wanted to share with you in this post, particularly because it is one you could use in classroom, small group, or even individual language therapy while integrating Story Grammar Marker® and Thememaker® tools in the process...

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February 13, 2012


This Vacation Week, Take the Kids to a New Setting: Disneyland!

Disneyland AppIn the Northeast at least, February means school vacation week, and who doesn’t like Disney? Disney’s parks are based on its countless characters and, of course, narratives, and the company recently released a FREE iPad app that allows children to explore Disneyland. Disneyland Explorer (iPad only) provides a touch-navigable visual environment allowing kids to visit a huge variety of themed settings (Adventureland, Critter Country, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, and so on, and that’s only in Disneyland proper) as they tap to reveal additional photos, videos and music. The app is naturally designed to lure tourists to Disney’s parks, but in the process it provides a primer in the element of Setting, providing a context for clinicians to develop students ability to describe locations, themes, and even genres...

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January 20, 2012


Simple Comics for More Advanced Language

At the elementary school level, we all can attest to seeing students who, narratively, get stuck at what we might call the “andthenandthenandthen” stage. The official name for this stage is the Action Sequence, and it is comprised of Characters, Settings, and a series of Actions with little variation in conjunction use. These students benefit from structures and contexts to move them into using to more complex story elements and cohesive ties such as when, because, and so. Mindwing’s narrative maps, particularly the Reactive Sequence and Abbreviated Episode Maps can provide that structure: (*Maps can be found in the Story Grammar Marker® Teachers’ Manual and the Talk to Write, Write to Learn™ Teachers’ Manual )...

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December 14, 2011


Story Mapping and Seasonal Cheer

The holiday season creates a lot of excitement for our students, no matter what holiday they celebrate! This mood can lead to a lot of language and, of course, the opportunity to develop narrative using Story Grammar Marker®. In this post, I’ll be mentioning a couple of resources you can use to acknowledge the season (in varying degrees of sectarianism) while reinforcing use of narrative elements and SGM® icons.

The first is a brief Pixar-like animated short I stumbled across in my blog-surfing routines; I am so glad I found it! As I described in a previous post, wordless videos can be an engaging way to have students “fill in” the language that is not used in the video...

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December 09, 2011


Maryellen Rooney Moreau Honored by Boise Peace Quilt Project

Making the world a better place for children. That’s what an Easthampton woman has done through her work in helping children solve problemsMaryellen Rooney Moreau is a speech and language pathologist. She was a professor at American International College and twenty years ago founded MindWing Concepts, a business that creates tools to help children communicate better to solve problems and resolve conflict. Maryellen says, “The tools that I’ve created over the past many years, 20 years, that I’ve been a speech and language pathologist for over 35 years, and the focus has always been to help children who maybe have ideas in their head, but can’t get the ideas out. So to foster that in areas of reading and writing, but especially in the area of social communication.”...

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November 10, 2011

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A Wonderful Wordless Video Series for Narrative Development

SLPs and teachers working in language intervention often turn to wordless picture books as a fun context to develop storytelling skills. Series such as Mercer Mayer’s “A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog...” tell stories through pictures and ask readers to tease out the story, inferring the important details and relying on characters’ facial expressions to glean important clues. Similarly popular are David Wiesner’s Tuesday and Sector 7, which depict narrative through fantastical illustrations, and Alexandra Day’s “Carl” series, in which a dog goes to great, un-dog-like lengths to care for his charge, a little girl named Madeleine. I have long been a fan of using such visual narrative materials with students, not only to develop storytelling skills...

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October 24, 2011


Using QR Codes for Spooky Narrative Development

Over on my blog SpeechTechie this month, I am discussing in a series of posts the incredibly useful technique of using QR codes in language interventions. QR codes, which look like this (at left) were born in the world of marketing (you may have seen them on ads about town) but are making their way into educational settings as an attention-grabbing tool. QR codes can be created very easily and printed, then scanned with free apps available for your smartphone or iPad. When scanned, the app will show text that you entered or a link to a website...

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