Friday, August 17, 2012

SGM Day Four: Story Grammar Marker and Writing

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Just one more work day, and we're off for the weekend!

Today, we're talking about transitioning to writing today.

I actually just took the Talk to Write, Write to Learn training under Mary Ellen Moreau, the creater of SGM, last Thursday. When I first started using SGM, I didn't even think about writing. Last year, however, I had several older (3rd-5th grade) students on my caseload who were struggling writers, and with FL Writes coming up, another SLP and I decided to take on the daunting task of teaching these kiddos how to write logical, sequenced, purposeful, grammatically-correct stories with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Boy, we didn't know what we were in for! One particular group of 5th grade boys had learned the SGM icons and could easily pick out each story element on their own orally. However, when asked to write a complete episode (including all of the story elements) on a topic of their choice, they flopped. We couldn't believe it when we read their stories: they had no purpose, one had no character, they had no conclusion, and don't even get me started on their grammar and spelling! We decided that they needed to see the process of pre-writing a draft, editing, and producing a final copy that they could be proud of. We had no idea it would take them 3 months to get there!

But through our patience, their hardwork, and bribing them with McDonalds, they finally got it done! (This is where the SGM icon stamp collection came in great, as well as the outline worksheets!) Following is one of the students' first draft, and after is his final draft. Notice that through the editing process, he was able to include all of the story elements (macrostructure), but look at how his microstructure improved as well!

First Draft:
One day I was walking my dog around my neighbor hood and then I seen a fireball. It was coming at me. My plan was I wanted to be safe and survive so I start to run but I trip. It was a disaster because the fireball was coming toward me again. I was scared. I was really scared. I started to run again but I start getting tried. I looked back to see if the fireball was coming toward me but finaly it stop coming toward me. I was so happy but when I looked behind me the fireball hit a persons house It was disaster because the person in side was had a injury. My plan was I called the hospitul to tell them that someone is injurred. When they got there they said he is injurred. They said if I would have called the, he could have died. They said he will be out in 3 weeks because he has a broken arm. I fult excited that he would be out in 3 weeks. Also I was excited that I help him also that he wasent fever injurred.  When I got home I told my parents that I help someone out by safeing them. I was also excited that the fireball stop coming towards me and that it was gone. That was the time a fireball came towards me and hit a house. 

Final Draft:

One day I was walking my dog around my neighborhood, and all of a sudden, I saw a gigantic fireball soaring through the sky. It was coming straight towards me! I knew I needed to get to safety in order to survive, so I started to run, but I tripped. It was a disaster because the fireball was very close. I was scared. I began to run again, but I started getting tired. I looked back to see if the fireball was still near, but finally it stopped. I was so happy until I realized that the fireball had hit a person’s house. It was terrible because the person inside was hurt. I knew they needed help, so I decided to call the hospital to tell them that someone was injured. When the paramedics got there, they said the man inside the house was very injured. They said if I hadn’t called them, he could have died. The paramedics thought he could be out of the hospital in three weeks because he had a broken arm. I felt surprised that he would be out in three weeks. I was excited that I had helped someone out and also that he wasn’t very injured. When I got home, I told my parents that I helped someone out by saving them. I was thankful that the fireball was gone and we were all safe once again. It was a day I’ll never forget!
Added bonus: Instead of just using SGM with my kids in therapy, I met with teachers from different grade levels and did a quick mini lesson for them. Then I went into their classroom during writing and modeled a lesson for the teachers and kids. The kids loved it, and the kids on my caseload loved being able to help teach their peers. SGM works great with ALL kids, not just kids who are language impaired!

One other note: SGM's Talk to Write, Write to Learn kit also comes with big board magnets and stamps, which I adore! They are super easy to use in multiple settings, and the students love them too! After the students complete their writing drafts, I have them use the stamps to stamp out each story element. If they can't find it to stamp, they know what's missing!

Tomorrow, I'll show you some ideas and activities I use when teaching Story Grammar Marker.


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