Energy is one of my favorite topics in therapy!
It’s a useful thing to think about for so many reasons. For example, many of my students have benefitted from visuals and tools for how to regulate when they have too much energy in their bodies and what they can do if they don’t have enough energy in their bodies.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know I love incorporating narratives and story into my therapy sessions. So when I had an epiphany that one way to think about story structure is the story’s energy, I was so excited and couldn’t wait to reframe this with a few students of mine.
When teaching story grammar and story elements, I describe certain elements as “path changers”, including lift-off, surprise, and problem. These elements add energy to a story, which is why I use a lightning bolt as a visual on each of them.
You can see a story path (aka story structure) that shows a lightning bolt and a surprise + liftoff to kick off this example story:
When teaching this to my students, I show them the visual above and explain the story path using energy.
I love showing the “oops” on the top while asking my students, “Have you ever made a mistake and felt sooo frustrated? Like you have a big burst of energy in your body that felt angry or upset?” Sometimes we even read books with characters that have big feelings or reactions to something and talk about how much energy they might be feeling at that moment. ? Spoiler alert: it’s usually a lot of energy.
Then, we talk about how the energy of a story goes on a roller-coaster ride filled with ups (with lots of energy) and downs (where the energy calms down) until the character is able to solve the problem. ?From there, the energy usually lowers until the story’s end or wrap-up, letting everyone catch their breath and ride that warm, fuzzy feeling of a well-told (or well-structured) story.
So, when we’re structuring our stories, remember that we’re sharing the highs and lows that reflect our feelings, thoughts, and energy levels.
And isn’t that one of the coolest things about our jobs as SLPs? That ALL of this is from the perspective of narratives and stories, but relates so closely to real life as well.
I hope this tiny tip is helpful to a student of yours! ❤️
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Searching for Home Story Unit
Searching for Home is an original wordless picture book created specifically with SLPs in mind! Easily target everything from character description to story comprehension, from core vocabulary to tier 2 vocabulary words, and from simple sentence formulation to sentence combining using JUST ONE BOOK!More Info