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PeterPan

Narrative language in autism

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It seems like a big part of SKILL, and I assume they have seen good gains with working on it.

I think it would build into the scene description?  Edit — I mean for some things that are “describe a scene” they are ultimately wanting you to make up a story about the scene?

It is something that wasn’t really on my radar because it’s not something I directly care about, but if it might be associated with other gains I do want — I will do it.  

Or that is the plan 😉. My order has shipped now lol.  

Edit:  what I mean is, I assume they see a skill transfer, between making up stories, and personal narratives and story retells (which I do personally care about).  Which — it’s not something I would ever think of, but I can see how it could be good.  And I do assume they know more about it than I do 😉

Edited by Lecka

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For most of the lessons you're using a literature or picture+story model. Think about it, even in life you have a model. (something you did, something you saw, language you heard/said while doing that thing) So making up a story entirely from NOTHING would be the most abstract task. There are in-between ways like story dice or choice banks. And they ask for motor skills in the lesson my ds has. Like literally they say to have the students draw each component and to compel them to draw faster. 

So they can have their theories, but I have to live in reality. 

I think it could be a fun exercise, and I think it would be possible to do those 11-14 exercises as you cycle through over and over at each level. It could represent a level of mastery, in a way. It's just not something we've done yet.

I think what it would drive, if the student succeeds, is nailing the big picture flow. They'd have to own it and wrap their brains around the big picture to make that flow happen. You could short circuit it by doing Mad Lib style actual CO-tellings, haha. That would be funny. And even the idea of retelling your peer's story would be funny if done together.

I'll have to play with it. His sleep was whack last night and he was up till midnight. We're starting new workbooks, so I have a lot on the fire right now. I can chew over it a bit. It wouldn't be hard to do those lessons when we get there. I just have a post-it and was doing where we were, not looking forward.

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I think the purpose of the drawing is just for non-writers to be able to do something.  I would feel free to draw for my child if it was a frustration!  I think they just want to have something to provide a prompt.  

I have seen things like this where ------ the drawing is just how they can do things with kids who aren't writing yet.

I have also seen this with stickers, stamps, and those foam sticker things.  That is going to be limiting to what is available, but it's an option too, and in a way it is providing a choice bank (pick from these options, instead of make it up).  

I think -- think of it as being for kids as young as 5 and for use in 1st grade (at least for phase 1?  for part of it?  I don't know).  And so then I think it makes sense to fit it to those K/1st kinds of things.  

Just my thoughts!  

 

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My older son and daughter did things like this (maybe with this exact graphic organizer) in K and 1st and would just have pictures:  

http://mrsbyrdskinder.blogspot.com/2014/01/story-map-freebie.html

So I'm picturing something along these lines, where it's something for kids they don't expect to write, but then they can use the pictures to support their retell.  

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Oh — and for the parallel story development:

”in the parallel story development lessons, students are encouraged to create their own stories using the literature book as their framework.”  

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Which means if he's holding the structure in his head and remembering the components he's fine.

If I don't teach my dc where he is developmentally, I'm going to frustrate him. 

What I noticed today is his narrative is showing up really well in his play now. His behaviorist plays with him every session, and he's using the narrative language in his play to create involved stories. But again, I think things for say a level 3 or 4 narrative should be showing up in that play independently if he has mastered that level. 

Edited by PeterPan
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That sounds great!

I have looked at some more things, and I did see a graphic for Mindwings saying Levels 6 and 7 are “adolescent” and Level 5 is “upper elementary.”

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2 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I did see a graphic for Mindwings saying Levels 6 and 7 are “adolescent” and Level 5 is “upper elementary.”

Ooo, good find! Then if we (ds) get into level 5 really solidly in the next year or two, we're plenty on track. 

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So — I was trying with my son.... he was able to identify main characters (Shaggy and Scooby).  For what he could tell me about them, it was very hard.  I started “they are....” and he said “they are scaredy-cats.”  

So — it’s not a bad place to be, but I thought he would be able to say more for a description. 

I am trying to actually see what he can do so I can have an idea of progress when Mindwings comes and we can start using it.  

 

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Okay, better... he said Arnold (from Magic School Bus) always wishes he stayed home from school.  

I always think he could say things like “he is a boy, he is a student,” if he knew that’s what he could/should say.  But I will see what kind of character descriptions are going to be in the examples.  I’m not sure what they are looking for.  

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MW will include pages for each thing. (character descriptions, settings, etc.) I put them into page protectors so it is easy to use them for prompts. I don't think a TON of description is necessarily needed from a boy, but I'd like to see (just my standard) that he CAN give one attribute for each of the star points and that in his every day use he can bring at least one relevant thing.

It's probably a mixture of everything (language, generalization, etc.). I wouldn't assume it won't go well. That's why you're getting explicit lessons for each piece, so you can step up what you're expecting. But you can see now why I thought it was foolhardy to try to go to the end goal. Like really, to me hit a level 1 narration, do it well, hit a 2, do it well, and so on. There's a lot of merging too. Like if someone has used V/V with him, you can bring that terminology over to give some coherence and consistency. 

It's all going to work out. I wouldn't consider it a bad sign that he couldn't do the task yet. Just means he's going to benefit from the materials. And, fwiw, this digging in is where MW is a LOT closer to what our kids need, oh my. It's definitely more in the trenches, what it really takes to get that language to come out.

I've been thinking that maybe I missed the boat and that the SLPs doing the writing class at the therapy place in town are using SKILL. I sort of naively assumed it was Braidy or something, but after pondering those lessons 11-14 more I'll bet SKILL is what they're using. They first ran it a year ago, during the summer, and after talking it over with the behaviorist we decided NOT to sign ds up. It was the right call, because we felt that his actual language deficits were holding him back more than narrative deficits. They weren't skillful (haha) enough to realize and be screening kids for that, so they were like oh yeah anyone. But I felt like no, you don't expect the output skill till you KNOW the language is in there so it CAN come out. That's why I'm a huge fan of models and the progymnasta and the SWB/WTM-type writing, because they're all about models and making sure the language is in there. It just makes sense to me. 

But as I thought about it, I realized maybe now ds COULD do that creative writing, which is kind of fun to ponder. I was thinking I need to beat the stick and get those lessons done. I think by not reading ahead I didn't realize where they were going. I interpreted it my way and fit it into my paradigm, but their ideas of where to head are kind of interesting too. And I think that's kind of a higher point to say ok, now do you have SO MUCH LANGUAGE in your head that you can pull it out and generate this stuff? 

But to say to go to that point without the language there, that doesn't make sense to me. I think that's what MW acknowledges. Marilyn definitely did when I talked with her by phone. So there may be a bit of a toggle where you pull up the language (getting it to generalize, getting it stronger, expanding it, whatever) and THEN expect the skills to come together. So yes, you're going to be wanting to see that language come together to what seems satisfactory to you so that he can DO the task. I imagine it will come together though. He has a lot of communicative intent and it seems like he will enjoy it. Ds doesn't. He has things he wants to talk about, but he doesn't really have a creative bent right now. He's kind of philosophical and professorial. I've viewed his narrative work as leaning more toward being able to explain something about history or something he learned or invented or saw, rather than so much creative. But who knows, lol. 

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He has done similar to V/V talking about the 5 senses.  But he did it with physical places and then recalling those places.  

So I think it’s going to be a challenge to go from there to describing something from a book.  

Yesterday he could say something with snow was cold, but there was also a picture.  He always, always does better with pictures and worse without.  

I am drawn to that about these programs, that they move from with supports to without supports, and I know he does well with that. 

I think the writing class sounds cool!  It’s worth asking. 

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I think my son may have never really done adjectives to describe a character.  I don’t know (can’t tell from samples) but if that is early then I think we will be spending a lot of time on it.

 

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1 hour ago, Lecka said:

He has done similar to V/V talking about the 5 senses.  But he did it with physical places and then recalling those places.  

They didn't extend it to literature? There are simplified words for V/V (found in Talkies) and the fuller list in V/V. You can see them on the desk strips Gander Publishing sells, so you don't need to buy the whole set to have that. There are also videos where you'll see kids doing this. It's not so radically different from what MW is doing with their star points. My ds responds well to having a lot of structure to get the attributes out, so we'll go through those V/V words, yes. 

Sorry, I'm trying to find that video I watched and am not finding it. What I'm seeing now is kids who don't have language deficits, who maybe just needed to pick up the clue phone. That wasn't where we started. We had to take that list of descriptor words and practice each one individually to build up to the idea of describing a picture with them.

Well foo, I can't find those desk strips now either! I'm not being very helpful here, lol. It was basic stuff like color, shape, size, count, movement, mood, etc. And you'll see how they fit with the 5 points of the star in the MW stuff. Doesn't really matter, at least for my ds. I'm just saying we had to work on that as a separate language issue to have the language to bring into MW. It's why I'm using Telepath now, to keep giving us practice in doing that. You can always improve and become more mature, so it's not like a fixed thing. I can't remember if *parts* are one of the prompts, but I always ask for that. 

1 hour ago, Lecka said:

So I think it’s going to be a challenge to go from there to describing something from a book.  

Yesterday he could say something with snow was cold, but there was also a picture.  He always, always does better with pictures and worse without.  

Well the interesting thing will be to see if he has the mental imagery. Turned out my ds was visualizing just fine and literally was just missing the language. You can do some exercises where he describes an object he's thinking of so that you can see whether he can add details that he would have only if visualizing. As far as fading with visualization, what they do is make like a little magic show where we SEE the object then a box goes over it and we DON'T. It might not be a long stage or something that you want to buy a whole kit for, but it's easy enough to do that yourself. So you lay out a tray of objects and you do a magic show and have him describe them as they disappear. So describe it with the object in front, describe the object after it disappears, describe the object in the picture while seeing the picture, describe the object in the picture after the picture is removed, and finally describe an object in your mind without the picture prompt. And really just any random objects and pictures will do. You can use picture cards from games you have lying around. I got a little $3 type set from Walmart that had pictures of common objects, that kind of thing.

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1 minute ago, Lecka said:

I think my son may have never really done adjectives to describe a character.  I don’t know (can’t tell from samples) but if that is early then I think we will be spending a lot of time on it.

 

There's so much that can be done, so even if they did it some there could be building it to the level you want for him to be able to do what you'd like him to do with this program. That's why we've been so stalled out, because you can't GET OUT language that ISN'T IN THERE. And Marilyn of MW is gonna tell you the same thing, to take this little side lessons and develop that language.

Now I don't think it needs to be hyper-perfect or making him sound unnaturally descriptive for himself. But I figure if I haven't gone through the categories of description (via MW and those V/V words), then how does he select the aspects that interest him?? 

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If you need picture cards, you might hit dollar tree. And I wouldn't be afraid of using picture prompts. If your goal is the language, then giving him something to work with is good. If you decide he's not visualizing well and you want to work on that, sure that's fine too. I'm not sure it's a pat thing though. My ds was missing the language but was visualizing just fine. I think once you try with the prompts you'll know how well he's visualizing.

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I think at this point he is fine to use pictures in story books as picture prompts.  We’ll see.  

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Ok, so if you look at your downloads for MW/ASD, you're going to have some graphic organizer pages for character and setting. Basically the V/V words collapse into those. That's probably where I got parts from, because it was in the MW but not the V/V lists. So we practiced each area of description using V/V words and picture cards and games till he actually had the language. Then he could collapse them into the MW organizer very naturally. I *think* we even made that explicit at the beginning. Like MW chart says "physical appearance" and I went through the V/V words that would get him there. 

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Just now, Lecka said:

I think at this point he is fine to use pictures in story books as picture prompts.  We’ll see.  

Well if you're needing to drill/practice color/shape/size/movement, etc. 10 times in a row, that's where a little pile of picture cards can be handy. 

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1 minute ago, Lecka said:

He is good on that.  

I used cards with a picture on one side, the word on the other, so then we did it with words. (I'm thinking of a pear. Can you visualize the pear? What does your pear look like?) So you'd like him to have visual imagery from what you're reading him and then the picture is just to compare with his visual imagery. 

It's just all steps you work on. He's gonna be somewhere in there, lol. And I think you're right that no matter where he is he's going to go forward and be fine. Of all the levels, that level 1-2 stuff is so practical, carrying over to play, etc. So my ds will have a ton of army men and want so and so moved and needs to describe him carefully. The narrative language comes into play really naturally.

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Okay — he is good on physical appearance types of adjectives.  He could learn more vocabulary but he has the basic vocabulary.

But something like “bossy” he doesn’t know.  

He does say things like a certain character is a good/bad guy, and he has said things like a character is a bully.

But things like that he does not have a lot of vocabulary, and I think he is ready for some more that way.

But he may not be on that a while — I don’t know what they are looking for.  

He also...... there are things he can do when he is really concentrating, but I think he does need to work on it more to be able to use it more easily.  And it might be that there are things like that pretty early.

He has some good things but it’s not coming together for retells.  He has been working on retells and where he is right now — I do not think he has made progress for a little while.  It’s still good because he is still doing good things, even if the retell part is not great (because he is still reading or listening, he is still answering questions, and those are going better).  

I guess basically there is a gap between what he does well with reading or listening to, and answering questions about, and what he can retell. The retell is really lagging.

His reading fluency has improved and I think if he can read something pretty fluently and answer questions about it, but then his retell is not good, then that is out of balance.  

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He has done describing objects that way.   I’m not saying he’s awesome but to say the group, color, size, texture ——— I don’t know if that’s exactly what he has worked on but he’s done things like that.

But he might only know 4 words for texture (flat, smooth, bumpy, rough).  

I don’t know the details — but just to say — he has done things along those lines.

 

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8 minutes ago, Lecka said:

His reading fluency has improved and I think if he can read something pretty fluently and answer questions about it, but then his retell is not good, then that is out of balance.  

Ok, this is just me, but I would not expect him to read and retell initially. I would drop that down so that *you* read it and you do the retelling together. You read it with the picture book and you go through the steps and build the retelling together. Really high support. To retell something he read, that's really down the road. He's putting so much energy into the reading, there's zilcho left to narrate from.

That's also why the story models SKILL is using are so stupid streamlined. You have to pull it back and focus on what you're targeting, then bring it back into a more complicated setting. You saw how short the models were I'm using. Starting with fables is pretty normal for any kid. You can find illustrated fables or draw little pictures for each stage. But they're SHORT, meaning there's not a lot to get lost in. Like I think one we did was only 7-ish sentences total as a model, just basically one paragraph and a dab. That way they don't have to select from actions, etc. to determine what is most important. Everything that is in the story then becomes one of the points, gets told, boom done.

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8 minutes ago, Lecka said:

He has done describing objects that way.   I’m not saying he’s awesome but to say the group, color, size, texture ——— I don’t know if that’s exactly what he has worked on but he’s done things like that.

But he might only know 4 words for texture (flat, smooth, bumpy, rough).  

I don’t know the details — but just to say — he has done things along those lines.

 

Oh I'm sure!! And I think you're going to use your judgment on what his narratives could/should sound like and where to put your efforts. It sounds like he has enough vocabulary that he could be moving forward with something. It's going to come together I think.

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It’s not that I want him to retell what he is reading, it’s more that it’s obviously a gap now, because his reading and his answering comprehension questions go together, and then his retelling is much worse.  

But I want to work on it however it’s recommended with Mindwings.  

It’s more that I thought maybe some things would come together once he could read better, and now he is reading better, and he’s not.

I also think he’s reading well enough for now to pause on that.  

 

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I think he is motivated too because he does like to talk about movies and tv shows.  

I am thinking we may do more with movies and tv shows at a certain point (for additional practice) because he likes to tell people about them.

I could see working on a movie or tv show with him, and then seeing him go on his own and say part of it to his dad or siblings.  He does things like that sometimes and it’s like — a way he moves from supported to not-supported, but with saying the same things. 

He will be happy he can say it and then want to go and say it to someone, basically. 

There are some things like that now where he can answer questions but then he can’t say very much independently.  But then for some things he can say more independently, for sure, but it would be hard for him to tell someone about a tv show.  

My daughter will tell him about tv episodes sometimes, it is something they like to do in the car.  

It is so one-sided right now, I would love for him to be able to tell her about a tv episode.  

My daughter is very verbal.... she started reading Warrior cats books over Thanksgiving break, and she is on her 12th book in the series, and she has read other books in the meantime, and reads other books at school.  She is one of those kids who can talk and talk and talk.  

Edited by Lecka
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3 hours ago, Lecka said:

It’s not that I want him to retell what he is reading, it’s more that it’s obviously a gap now, because his reading and his answering comprehension questions go together, and then his retelling is much worse.  

But I want to work on it however it’s recommended with Mindwings.  

It’s more that I thought maybe some things would come together once he could read better, and now he is reading better, and he’s not.

I also think he’s reading well enough for now to pause on that.  

 

It's an interesting thing to think through. Just me, I probably would *not* pause the reading, only because it's a long slog that gets him a lot of other gains. He's getting vocabulary, leisure, spelling, and then spelling gives him more leisure because he can do word searches, do apps with friends, etc. So it's a really, really big win to keep going forward.

I think the narrative is going to be a slog too, but is it holding back his social right now? I just know that being able to read and do some spelling is good for ds socially. Like he'll go to the Y and do word search apps or books with an elderly lady there. There is reading for playing apps and games kids play like Zelda or whatever he might want to play. 

I think too that even just the most basic level of blossoming narrative gets him a long way. To even up the reading and narrating, I don't know. My dd was a stellar reader, like with crazy high ACT scores, and her narrations were SO, SO, SO hard. I structured 30 ways to Sunday, but reality is they were hard. And someone later told her she should have been diagnosed with an SLD in writing. They are slower to do that in ASD, sure, but still there can be this issue where he might be able to read and enjoy and use what he's reading in life (to play a game, to text someone, whatever) but still find it hard to narrate.

So I think I personally would be cool with someone narrating below what they read, because reading is more essential. I think they can be at different places. 

But that's just my opinion because I worked REALLY HARD with dd and it was still so hard. I'm not going to tell myself that if I tried harder everything would line up. They really might. But I think pausing if you need time to get ANY progress, I get that. But they might not be equal. Maybe on some random kid, but I would keep the reading moving forward, just my two cents. Unless you hit a point where he's not comprehending because the narrative language deficits are holding back his reading, then you have an issue. We hit that with ds, but we had a much bigger gap. And you might be feeling that too, like the gap is affecting comprehension. But still, I personally would keep working on reading.

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3 hours ago, Lecka said:

I could see working on a movie or tv show with him,

Sure would be handy if some movies you could introduce him to have the Golden Book style thin story books. There are books like that for a lot of movies. That way he could narrate from something shorter, the language in his head from the book. Like read the book, talk about it, watch the movie, go back to the book and narrate using the pictures and icons, etc.

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For pausing reading — he’s going to read every day from a tub of readers I have, but not try to read anything harder or work on harder phonics.  I’m going to wait to do the next level of AAR.  But he will still be reading.  I would like to get to 20 minutes a day of him reading at home.  We do get to that some days but a lot of days it’s more 10 minutes. 

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I have a little update because I have gotten my Mindwings materials!

I am having a busy week though and don’t have time to do much.

But my overall impression — a lot of it is things where — you look through and see different options, and then you are doing something, and you think “oh I could use that one thing with this.”

Which — it does say, but I hadn’t quite realized it.

So I think there’s going to be some time where I am looking through the books, and then slowly realizing how I could fit some things in to things I am already doing.  

I have realized a few things that will work well, but I think this is going to be something where 6 months from now I will flip through and see something new.  

But overall I see several things right now, that I think are really going to be helpful for me to go along with our reading time.  I need the scaffolding!!!!!!!!

The couple of things I am looking at, I know that I haven’t been very successful with my own attempts at scaffolding and I think these will help!

But it may be a week before I can start anything.

 

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Yup, you'll make more connections as you wrap around it. The MW stuff is not scripted, so it takes more work to decide how you're going to apply it. 

2 hours ago, Lecka said:

to go along with our reading time.  I need the scaffolding!!!!!!!!

Definitely it's giving you that!

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I am having some good successs even though I still feel like I am not using the materials to their full advantage.  

Partly because our printer is such a hassle to deal with — I talked to my husband and he thinks it will be easier to print at the library, and I haven’t done that yet.  Maybe next week?  I have other things on my to-do list for this week so it’s not going to be this week 😉

Anyway — my son is working on reading stories from AAR level 2 book 2 right now, and he did a good retell today of “Pumpkin and the Kitten.”  He needed prompting (I prompted with questions and with use of words like “because...” and “then....”) but honestly he did very well.  

I got a good idea from one of the Mindwings blogs where they provided transition words as cues.... 

Anyway — I think it has gone a long way to just decide it’s time to have a goal for re-tells, and try to do it.  I have been putting it off a long time really, going with asking wh questions and modeling, but it is a good time for it now.  

I just need to add in the actual supports I want to use!!!!!!!! 

But — I do think we’re getting there.  I think it’s one of those things where I need to just start somewhere that works, and then I can keep going, even if I am not presenting great lessons like I would be doing ideally.  I think we can just get into a groove and I can add things in as we go.  

Edited by Lecka
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2 hours ago, Lecka said:

then I can keep going, even if I am not presenting great lessons like I would be doing ideally.

He probably doesn't need lessons, just application. It's probably stuff he's already been exposed to in school and just needs practice to become proficient doing. You can focus on the stages if you want and get a stage proficient and then add the next thing. Like with the idea of a "problem" or a "plan" my ds was TOTALLY CLUELESS at first. So we've spent a lot of time just letting that come up over and over naturally in our read alouds, in our talking about life. Now today I prompted gently for a retell that included the problem and plan and attempts, and he was like oh duh, totally obvious.

I think there's a lot that comes with repeated exposure rather than one magical lesson. What you're doing sounds fine to me.

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I jumped in and introduced the SGM manipulative with “Pumpkin and the Kitten.”  Off to a good start!

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