The idea behind Choose Your Own Adventure Stories is very simple: pupils start writing a story, then present options to their readers after the first sentence or paragraph. So when a reader makes a choice they then start to determine how the story proceeds. And each new choices presents a further step in the story, and further choices – and so the adventure really does become the reader’s own.
For the pupil writing the story the narrative can start out in quite a basic form. But each small step determining options at every turn can mean more and more complex decision-making processes as the story grows. So the involvement of the pupil in planning the writing grows as the pupil is drawn into the process themselves.
ActiveLit is a version of Text Adventures being developed specifically aimed at use in education establishments. The premise is the same with both tools (which are free) that users create a story (which can have images and video as well as text) with options for readers to choose the direction in which they wish to go at chosen points in the story. Text Adventures Quest tool is available either as downloadable software or as an online tool. Users can create a variety of game formats for their interactive stories. ActiveLit will be a school-friendly version of Text Adventures in that teachers can create areas only open to their class for their story creations. And teachers can choose which game elements can be used for specific situations appropriate to particular age groups they may be teaching.
Click here to view a video explaining how the full open text adventures site works:
inklewriter – this free online tool lets your pupils write branching stories with their choices of direction for their readers at any point they select in the story. Inklewriter comes with a built-in tutorial which guides the pupils through creating their own branching story in an interactive way. In addition there is an on-screen step-by-step guide. Inklewriter keeps track of which paths pupils have finished, and which still need to be written. There’s no set-up, no programming, no drawing diagrams required. Pupils just start writing and they can see where it takes them – with the facility to go back at any time and make changes. Once written, the stories can be shared with an audience by sharing the direct online link to your story – perhaps on a class blog or school website, or simply by sharing by email between a small group of pupils. There is a section for teachers which describes how the tool might be used to provide a platform for creative writing by pupils and to encourage logical thinking, as well as suggestions for class registrations, and there are examples online on the inklewriter site to help provide the inspiration to get started.
The-best-places-to-read-write-choose-your-own-adventure-stories/ by Larry Ferlazzo is a comprehensive collection of links to examples of Create Your Own Adventure stories created using a multitude of tools and by all ages and stages. Click here for Larry’s post “More Online Adventure Stories” for additional resources to the first blog post.
Larry’s site also provides links to a host of freely available tools, resources, guides and teaching material for teachers looking to have their pupils create their own Make Your Own Adventure stories. There is something here for all ages and stages. And the variety of available tools means that there will be some which are already familiar to teachers and their pupils, so that the time can be more productively used on the creativity of the story, rather than on the mechanics of learning how an unfamiliar tool works.
HR Office Scenario – just an example of a branching Powerpoint as a series of choices of a user, to provide an example idea as a starting point for a different kind of “choose your own adventure” use of Powerpoint or other tool in the context of making choices in relation to situations which may have real application rather than simply fictional.
How to create a Choose-your-own-adventure story using Microsoft Forms – this provides a step by step guide to using Microsoft Forms (one of the tools provided as part of Microsoft office 365 for Education, to which all Scottish schools using Glow have access), including a planner chart, template and examples
Pick a Path stories created by pupils using Google Docs online presentation tool, from Room 3 at Auroa School.
So if you’ve used Powerpoint before, then here you’ll find links to examples of Make your own adventure stories using Powerpoint, along with teacher lesson plans and guides to how to do this. Or if you have used wikis, or blogs, or websites, or any one of a host of online tools – here you will find examples and guides to their use in the context of Make Your Own Adventure stories.
Pick a Path Stories in OneNote – this video lets you hear a learner in New Zealand talking through the pick-a-path story he created in OneNote along with the world he created in Minecraft which combined to help visualise the journey, and inspire the writing. This is detailed in more depth in a blogpost on the Microsoft Office Education blog as well as on the school’s own blog
Choose Your Own Adventure story writing incorporates aspects of games-based learning, with which many pupils will be familiar, in that the reader or “player” in the story determines the course of action of their story or game.
Of course there is nothing to stop it being done on paper – though technology means that for those who want the extra features (such as being able to add audio narration or sound effects, along with animated images) will also gain from the facility for wider sharing, and consequent feedback from wider audience – all adding to the reasons why teachers have found pupils enthusiastically producing more complex and more extended writing.
So what will you do now?