Choose Your Own Adventure: A Hypertext Writing Experience
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In this unit, students meet in literature circles to read an adventure story, and then combine both reading and writing skills to write an original “choose your own adventure” story. Students begin by reading one or more adventure stories and discussing elements unique to this type of story, such as the second-person point of view, as well as setting, character, plot, and conflict. Small groups begin by planning out the first section of the adventure story using graphic organizers. They then move into smaller groups for each split in the story's plot until finally the students are writing their own endings. Using Web-authoring software, groups will create their own Websites with the parts of the story hyperlinked to each other. Web pages may be uploaded to the Internet if school policy allows, or they can be saved on CDs and projected for class viewing
ReadWriteThink Webbing Tool: Students use this online tool to create a variety of free-form graphic organizers including cluster, hierarchy, and cause and effect webs. Completed webs can be printed.
From Theory to Practice
This lesson combines reading and writing in a collaborative, small-group learning experience. It utilizes technology, specifically Web page design, group and individual work, and student self-assessment. As Wilhem and Friedemann (1998) state, "[D]esigning hypermedia projects encourages students to name themselves as readers, writers, and learners and supports them in the achievement of better reading, idea development, sense of audience, classifying, organizing, collaborating, representing understandings, revising, and articulating and applying critical standards about the quality of their work" (15). Asking students to write collaboratively offers many benefits, among them, according to Helen Dale: "Co-authoring prompts students to write more recursively, in a process more like that of expert writers." (14)
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
Materials and Technology
- Access to an Internet-connected computer for each group
- Web-authoring software or Microsoft Word® or other word-processing software
- Access to a Website on which to upload Web pages, or CD burner and blank CDs, or floppy disks (if word processed)
- Copies of various Choose Your Own Adventure books (If books are not available, online versions of Choose Your Own Adventure story Websites are provided in the Resources section.)
Note that this site does have ads.
- Obtain access to computers and other software.
- Acquaint yourself with the method you choose for students to construct their Web pages, for example, Microsoft FrontPage®.
- Make copies of handouts and rubrics.
- Acquaint yourself with the format of Choose Your Own Adventure stories.
- Obtain copies of books or a way to give students access to the Web.
- Test the Webbing Tool student interactive on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.
- understand the structure of Choose Your Own Adventure stories.
- become familiar with the elements of fiction: setting, character, plot structure, conflict, and point of view.
- work in small groups to collaborate on writing their own adventure stories.
- understand writing in hypertext and publishing Websites.
- Begin by going over with students the elements of fiction: setting, character development, plot structure, conflict, and point of view.
- Show students an example of a Choose Your Own Adventure book or one of the Choose Your Own Adventure stories online; The Redwall Series is a good example.
- If time permits share another story with the class.
- With the whole class explore the elements of the Choose Your Own Adventure story, including the unique second-person point of view which makes the reader the main character in the story. Then go over the Choose Your Own Adventure instructions, giving a copy of the handout to each student.
- Divide students into small groups (ideally of four students each) and have them brainstorm ideas for their own Choose Your Own Adventure stories.
- The whole group will plot out the first section of the adventure using a Graphic Organizer.
- Based on the decisions you've made as you discussed the Graphic Organizer, use the Webbing Tool student interactive to create a customized outline of the choices for your story.
- The group should decide who will write each subsequent part of the adventure. They first divide into groups of two and then, finally, each student will write an individual ending to their adventures.
- The whole group writes the first part of the adventure. Students should write their adventures with a word processor so that they can be copied into a Web page.
- Groups of two then write the first two threads of the stories.
- Finally, each student writes an individual ending to the stories, resulting in groups constructing Choose your Own Adventure stories containing four possible adventures.
- Students peer edit and revise their stories.
- When groups have finished writing their stories, they will create a hyperlinked Website using a Web-authoring program, html code, or a word processor. Here are instructions for constructing a simple Website in FrontPage®. Students can review sample student-created pages at this CyberEnglish page.
- Each "choice" or thread the students wrote should be linked to the next choices/threads.
- Once groups have created the Website, they should publish it on a disk, burn it to a CD, or upload it to a Website.
Student Assessment / Reflections
Part of this lesson should be evaluated by the students. Using the student reflective assessment handout, have groups compile a reflective narrative tracing the steps they took in the process, what they had problems with, how they worked out their problems, and how they feel about their final project. Students could include individual assessments of their contributions to the group project.
Teachers may evaluate both the process and the final project by keeping anecdotal records of students' participation in the process. They may also wish to use the Web page rubric for group Website projects.