Monday, September 16, 2013

Story Grammar Marker {App Review & Giveaway}

SGM. Just another set of letters for the SLP toolbox! Story Grammar Marker is a MindWing Concepts  program for narratives. Developed by Maryellen Rooney Moreau M.Ed. CCC-SLP, Story Grammar Marker is a product for children in 3-5th grades for narrative development.

SGM is system I had heard about but never used. The MindWing Concepts folks asked me to review their app, so my first questions was... "Do I have to have the whole program or prior knowledge?" They indicated I would be able to use the app without any prior experience. So I started by heading over to the MindWing website and took a look at the evidence for the SGM system. I read over the program and got the big picture. Here is some info straight from the source: 
"The SGM® incorporates MindWing’s patented icons to give children a visual, kinesthetic tool for help with “WH” Story Grammar questions and common graphic organizers. The SGM® delves into the “why” question: motivations, feelings, plans – all necessary for the development of critical thinking skills. This colorful, hands-on tool enables children to externalize the macrostructure of the story so they can concentrate on literate language features (microstructure)."
 I thought it sounded like another great multi-sensory tool! So let's take a look at the app.

This is the home page. I started with the 'paper' icon so I could learn more about how to use the app. 

The app took me through this tutorial, which helped me not miss any features! 

The program moves through the different symbols used through out a narrative. 

It shows you how to find more visuals for your student in each portion of the app! 

I chose to read more information (similar to what is on the website) through the app. 

Above you can see the different developmental sequences for narratives used throughout the app. 

When you start your own story, you will see this page. 

You're given the option to password protect a story. This is great for keeping student information protected. 

I started by selecting the 'stages of story development' at the bottom of the page. If you click on one of these strands, those appropriate icons will be added to the page. 

As the icons are added to the left side of the page, you can begin to write or retell your story. 

When you select an icon, you are taken to a page to add story information. Here you choose from typing, drawing, adding images or photos. This part of the app was a little frustrating. Twice my student deleted her information because she hit the 'back' arrow instead of 'done.' I also couldn't find a way to add both images and text in the same page. My students needed both to recall all the parts of the story. 

As you click each part of the story there is a 'more info' button. This button shows a image that includes reminders for the student.  

Here is my 'hockey game' drawing for the first action in our story! 

Clearly I'm not an artist but the ability to draw makes the app engaging for my clients. 

So here was my story! About our family hockey game in Colorado a few years ago. I recorded the story using the 'record' button at the bottom of the page.

When the story replays it's done as though it's a news story. 

Save the story for later!

Here's the story list screen! 

Pros: The app fills the 'gap' for narrative development. I don't have any other apps for creating narratives skills. Those who already use the SGM program will be very excited to have another avenue for instruction. Using SGM for the very first time already increased my student's ability to include details and a cohesive sequence to their writing. Doing it on the iPad made it even more appealing! 

Cons: Since the app accompanies a whole program, I'm sure using the app independently doesn't give the user all the knowledge and skills that having the full SGM materials would create. I found that my students had difficulty adding their content when typing. They have to select 'done' on the keyboard and then 'done' on the side bar. Twice my student lost the paragraph she typed. 

MindWing is offering 3 free copies of the Story Grammar Marker App to Speech Room News readers! Enter on rafflecopter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: MindWing provided a copy of this app for review. The opinions are mine.