ATTN: This is meant to be used in conjunction with the accompanying worksheet located in my store (free).
In a structural therapy setting, the student/client will use pictures to identify and describe two plausible definitions of structurally ambiguous sentences in 80% of opportunities.
Branch: In a structured therapy setting, given a multiple meaning word activity, the student/client will use visual cues to decode two meanings of structurally ambiguous sentences with 80% accuracy, max cues.
Expansion: In a structured therapy setting, the student/client will use chunking techniques to determine two meanings for structurally ambiguous sentences with 80% accuracy.
2 sheets with 10 structurally ambiguous sentences, 2 pencils, data sheet, “Structural Ambiguity” Powerpoint presentation.
1.) Explain the concept to the student/client.
a. “Today we are talking about structural ambiguity. If something is ambiguous, what does that mean? Sometimes, this happens in single words, like the word “bat”. That could mean that there is a baseball bat or that there is an animal that is nocturnal and flies. In that situation, you’d have to use context to decode the meaning of the word. Sometimes, it’s an entire sentence that could mean something else. We still look at the context, but we look at other higher-level language concepts as well. This could include inflection, tone of voice, and your ability to read the situation.”
2.) Engage in a discussion about noun and verb phrases.
a. “Sentences are made up of units, and the way we break down those units gives the sentence meaning. For instance, the sentence “the boy found the puppy” can be broken down into two units. ‘The boy’ and ‘found the puppy’. ‘The boy’ tells us who is doing the action, and ‘found the puppy’ tells us what he did. Basically, you have your subject, and then little chunks of the sentence that tells you extra details about it.”
3.) Demonstrate how “the boy found the puppy” becomes a sentence tree.
4.) Explain how this integrates into sentences with structural ambiguity.
a. “With sentences with structural ambiguity, you can play around with the noun and verb phrases (or chunks of a sentence) in order to manipulate and change the meaning.”
5.) Demonstrate how to manipulate the structure of a sentence in order to change the meaning. Use the first item of the sentence list.
a. “Which one of these pictures means ‘she entered the room with cake.’ That’s right, they both do. Without even knowing it, you chunked together parts of that sentence in order to find two different meanings.
6.) Instruct the student/client on how to fill out the worksheet.
a.) "We will be using parenthesis and underlines in order to separate the sentence into units based on which situation they are representing."
7.) Proceed with the pictures on the Powerpoint.
8.) For each new sentence, prompt the student/client to paraphrase two interpretations of the sentence.
9.) If the student/client provides two accurate interpretations of the sentence, the clinician will provide verbal praise.
10.) If the student/client provides one or no logical interpretations of the sentence, the clinician will provide a series of cues (min: prompt to give one explanation; mod: prompt to look at the computer; max: scaffold extra information for the student/client to synthesize into a sentence).
11.) Once two interpretations have been established, the clinician will model how to use the worksheet in order to manipulate the meaning of the sentence.
12.) The activity will be completed when all the sentences have been completed, or 35 minutes.