Creating Alternative Story Branches

Time, I realize, is running out but I am determined to do one last interesting writing activity with my sixth graders. Although I was off from school yesterday on some family errands, I had them writing a short story inspired by The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg.

Today, I am going to show them how to create “branches” for their stories — alternative narrative paths — and use our class wiki to create Make Your Own Adventure style stories in which the reader chooses which branch to take and follows the story. I don’t imagine the stories will get too complex, given the time frame, but I do want to show them some of the possibilities of using hyperlinks to your advantage when writing in an online space.

I did a sample story this morning based on the image called “Oscar and Alphonse,” if you are interested, and if any of the stories really rise to the surface as superior, I’ll share those out, too.

Using the wiki seems right for this, although I had to set up a visitor account for my students to use. While I have it set that anyone can edit a page on the wiki (which I will lock down later), only visitors with a wikispaces account can create a new page, which is how you create the story branches. So, it got a little more complicate than I had expected.

But not insurmountable, and once again, my own experimenting with the writing activity paid off, as it allowed me to do some troubleshooting as if I were writing like one of my students.

Peace (in the branches),

  1. Kevin,
    Great idea! Once again, it is great to see examples you have provided to share with your students. Hope your students enjoy their attempts at a choose-your-own adventure. Did you have the kids read already published examples of this type of story? If so what did you share with them?

    • Ideally, yes.
      With the time crunch, no.
      What we did was talk about their experiences with reading those kinds of stories and moved on from there.
      I am definitely shoe-horning this one in there and hoping it will stick with a few kids.

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