Shortcut

Shortcut by Donald Crews has always been one of my favorites to use in therapy. It's a personal narrative, so good for teaching story elements, with some suspense. This story has an important message about evaluating dangers- a family of kids had been told not to take the shortcut (railroad tracks) and is surprised by a freight train running off schedule. Suspense is built as the situation unfolds but the children escape safely- reporting at the end that they never talk about the event again, but also clearly have thought/felt about it because they never take the shortcut either (more landscape of consciousness).



Shortcut is also a good representation of black characters in a different time.

As I reported to the parents of group members this week, the book also points to a bigger picture/main idea relevant to our current time (here represented with Story Grammar Marker® icons, Note: Author has a contractual consultative relationship with Mindwing Concepts for provision of blog and presentation content, but receives not royalties should you buy their products).

Note: your use of story mapping need not always be super-pretty, this was in an email.

I found this book on YouTube and planned to turn off the sound and read it aloud. Working with a terrific graduate student in telepractice sessions, I prepped him to do the follow-up activity. I had always had my students make a map of the story, because the setting is so integral here. I sent my student a quick Jamboard sketch (remember, Jamboard available in your Google tools) of what his target might look like, guiding him that he could ask questions like: where did they start? where were they going? where did the road run? where did the tracks run (must make a "shortcut")? other setting elements so it could end up looking something like this?


As activities often show, the students had their own vision when engaging in collaborative drawing, and did more of a micro-setting look at the story. It ended up being more of a mood-board than our original vision. But especially now, it's important to let our students express themselves how they choose, and reinforce their cooperation, inclusion of narrative elements, sharing imagination and following a group plan (terms from Social Thinking®).