Interactive Writing

So the schedule for our programs is such that we sometimes end up having a class day after students have taken all of their final exams. As you might imagine, the dear dedicated students that normally populate my enchanted kingdom of learning and love are replaced by bored clock-watchers. Understandable, but regrettable. And if I just let them watch a movie, I kinda feel like I’m not really doing my job. I blame Robin Williams for my overdeveloped sense of responsibility toward my students, but it’s too late to change now.

So I’ve been looking for ways to entertain them while also educating them.

  • Exquisite Corpse often works but I do get students who refuse to do any writing of any kind because, “Writing is not fun. That’s not a game,” as one of them put it once.
  • Three Headed Expert went okay once, but I think it needs a very particular group of students for it to work. It does seriously build grammar awareness though, if done right! I don’t dare try Three Headed Broadway Star (Damn I miss the British Whose Line Is it Anyway?s).
  • I do rather like the idea of doing writing games with them though. So I was really happy to discover Twine, a program that lets students write their own interactive fiction (otherwise known as Choose Your Own Adventure) stories. It looks really cool  and the process of figuring out how it works is an exercise in English all by itself! And of course, they can also read other people’s stories.

However, we don’t have computers in my classroom, so I wonder if there’s an easy low tech way to do a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure in a class. I know that there is a low-tech way to do it, with that paper stuff and one of those pen things, but is there an easy way to introduce it to students and have them write a short one in 50 minutes?

Anyone have any other low-tech fun writing or reading games? Or Improv games that have gone really well?

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for the link to Twine.


EDIT: This Read-Write-Think lesson looks pretty good to me. Without the online bit.

EDIT: More toys on how to do collaborative authoring in the classroom

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