Slice of Life: Twining Play and Literacies Together

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Last year, I introduced a whole new genre of novels: the Make Your Own Ending (or Interactive Fiction) concept. I now have a box full of those books where you come to a page as the reader/character, are faced with a decision, make a choice, and move on through a certain branch of the story. The students LOVE these books and many have not ever encountered them before (which seems odd to me, but there was a time when the publishers stopped publishing, and that seems to now have been reversed).

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1187144/thumbs/o-CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE-MOVIES-facebook.jpgThe key is not just the reading, but the writing of these stories. Yesterday, I brought two of my classes into the freeware called Twine, which allows you to construct and build interactive fiction stories. They are now working on an archeological-themed project called “The Mystery of the Ruins” in which they will be writing and publishing their own stories.

Here is a story map from last year, in Twine (read the story, too):

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8380/8645332164_6ed9894e8a.jpgThere was so much laughter and discovery yesterday as I told them “to play” with the software and not worry about the project. Just go on and make something. Make a story, build branches and see what works and what doesn’t work. Ask questions.

We don’t do this enough — give time to play with technology — but it remains a very crucial element in my classroom, and now, as we gear our way forward later week to actually writing the real story, they will have some understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Twine. They will have some ownership of the process, and not be quite as hemmed in.

Or so I hope.

Peace (in the classroom),
Kevin

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12 Comments
  1. Twine?!?! I’m intrigued…I haven’t heard of this and now I’m looking forward to exploring with it. I loved those books when I was a kid. Where did you find all of your copies? Happy writing!

    • We had some extra book money last year, so I ordered about 40 copies of these books. You can find them anywhere now, as they have begun to update and republish them.

  2. Oh boy, I have to try this out! And I will you your words, which names what great learning should be all about:
    “Just go on and make something. Make a story, build branches and see what works and what doesn’t work. Ask questions.”
    On another note – I worked on those Choose Your Adventure books when I first started working in publishing…memories!

  3. What a great app. How do you keep finding this stuff! I can see why kids love this. It promotes such if, then thinking! What a great year end fun.

  4. Yet another tech toy I have to try. How DO you keep finding this stuff? (Is there a newsletter I should be subscribing to?)e

  5. I love this idea of “playing” with technology. I think we need to encourage “playing” with everything we are trying to learn at first. Often our students are so concerned with getting it right that they miss the possibiities. I am going to think more about get more “playing” with new ideas, strategies, and technoligies in classrooms. Thanks
    Clare

  6. I so agree with letting them ‘play’ with technology. We are working on informational writing (and integrating it into “Explorers”). Yesterday we spent our Social Studies time searching for and trying out ways to create text features. We have a Google Doc of the things they found with annotations of what they liked and why, as well as what they wish something could do. The tools they play with are the ones they will remember and use!

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