Monday, 13 June 2011

Choose Your Own Adventure Project - Day 1

Did you ever read Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were younger? If you did, then you probably remember marking pages with your fingers "just in case" If your childhood was lacking this fun, the basic idea is this: Imagine a story that allows you to make choices about the path the characters take. Some stories have 25 possible endings (or even more!), but most of the endings are not good for your character :-). You make choices flipping to different pages in the book and read the next part of the adventure. Continue until you reach one of the endings. I loved these when I was younger and my son really enjoys them now.

Then I remembered seeing a YouTube video called "The Time Machine" and decided to try something similar (on a much smaller scale) with my Power Speaking Students. This posting is just for the first day of the project.

Material and Equipment
1. Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) novels ( 1 book per pair of students)
2. Mark one spot in one of the novels where there is a life-or-death decision
3. Dictionaries (most of my students use electronic dictionaries)
4. Sticky notes for quick bookmarks
5. Computer lab access to view "The Time Machine"

The Process
1. Begin by talking about how we make SO many choices all the time, every day and most of the time they aren't important enough to think about carefully.

2. On the board I began by writing "My alarm went off at 6:15 this morning" and draw 2 lines out from it to start making an upside-down tree shape. I asked my students to tell me one thing I might have done (eg: "You got up") and wrote "I got up" on the board under one of the lines. Then I asked them for another possibility (eg: "You hit snooze") and wrote "I kept sleeping" under the other line. I went back to the first path, "I got up" and repeated the process by eliciting 2 more options under it. Then I did the same for the "I kept sleeping" path. This means I had 4 options now, 2 from the "I got up" side, and 2 from the "I kept sleeping" side.

3. You could continue doing this, but we decided to put some different endings to our 4 options and stop there. One ending can be the best, one was good, one was bad and one was terrible. The "best" and the "good" endings finished the "I got up" path. The "bad" and the "terrible" endings finished the "I kept sleeping" path. The "best" ending involved me getting a promotion (don't I wish it was that easy ) while the "terrible" ending had my boss beat me up !

4. Now I showed the students the novels and we discussed if any of them had ever seen or read something like them before (all but one of my students said "no" to both questions). I explained how these novels were also about choices (like we had explored on the board, but more interesting ) and that I had an example for them (I shared the life-or-death option in one story and the class had to vote on which path we should take. The majority chose incorrectly and so we all died . There was much sadness.

I put students into pairs and had one partner randomly choose a novel. I told students to take turns reading their novel aloud with their partner (great opportunities here for error correction and vocab building!) and to decide together which choices to make. I gave them approx. 20 minutes to do this. We stopped and bookmarked where they were at (they put their names on the sticky notes and put the notes in their books).

5. Now I told them I wanted to show them something EXTREMELY cool in the lab. I explained that some very creative guys had created a CYOA video adventure and that they were going to have a chance to explore it in the lab. For each choice, these guys made different videos and connected them together! It's so neat!

Note to my school Admin people: This would have been even cooler if our blasted lab had cooperated . Our school has a garage sale of crappy old PCs and they were sooooo slow loading the YouTube videos that my students quickly became frustrated and bored!
We had a "plan B" with an alternate site for them to go to while they were waiting, but c'mon! REALLY? This is the tech level we all have to suffer with? Talk about killing the buzz! It's EMBARRASSING !

The Sharing
This will come later...for now, we're at the "plotting and scheming" stage

As usual, any thoughts or comments are welcome. Thanks!

- Posted from my iPad

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