Back in October I attended the ITEC conference, and sat in on a session presented by Jonathan Wylie (@JonathanWylie) and Tony Amsler (@TonyAmsler) on “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories. Laura Seiser, the Northeast Hamilton 2nd grade teacher, was also at ITEC, and shared that her students had been reading this type of story.
After some conversation and planning between Laura and myself, we deployed the project with her 2nd grade class with a focus on holiday stories and the writing process. We met a total of 6 times (over the course of 3 weeks) that included the students – some of these were large group sessions where the two of us moved from group to group, other times they were small group sessions where the work became more of a “center” and students might work with me on their stories opposite their reading or spelling time with Laura.
1. Laura created student groups of 3-5 kids and gave an initial explanation of the concept before I arrived.
2. I came and helped explain to the students what we would be doing in the long term AND what we would be doing on Day 1.
3. We set off letting the students brainstorm! Most of the groups came up with ideas fairly quickly, and though many of them started as traditional holiday stories, most of them ended up taking on a life of their own as they came up with twists and turns for their readers to choose from.
4. The students continued brainstorming for two of our sessions – some branched out into drawing ideas while others began creating specific texts, and still others worked at trying to collaborate and adjust to a group dynamic by voting on ideas and trying to agree on the paths their stories would take.
5. Once the students had had time to put all their ideas on paper, we helped them map out what their story might look like and how the pieces would fit together.
6. With story maps in hand, the students and I set out on illustrating their stories using apps like Story Kit, Doodle Buddy, and StoryMaker. Students who hadn’t been as excited about the writing process took off in an attempt to tell their stories through illustrations. Many students found that it was much more difficult to draw with just their finger on the iPads! But they worked through it, split up the work, and shared the journey to a completely illustrated story. We created check lists and shared the work:
Some kids were able to create 5-6 pictures while others might have done 1-2, but just like during the writing process where they worked and decided together, and they played off the talents of their group members.
7. Next, we used Google Presentations to insert the students’ images and text. I worked on the hyperlinking outside of the classroom in the interest of time, but did make sure to demo it for each group later so that they saw just exactly how their story was put together.
8. Once their presentations were more or less put together the students worked with me to do final edits. They looked for broken links, gaps in the story, and checked to make sure their ideas were expressed the way they had intended. Sometimes this meant we had to add ideas or change things around.
9. When all the group members decided that they were happy with the way the story had turned out, we published them!
10. Finally, Mrs. Seiser had her students share their completed stories with the class – but we also shared it on Twitter, Facebook, in the class newsletter, and now here! One of the students, while working with his group, informed the others that they “need to do [their] best job because these could be famous!”
My Notes/Other Logistics:
This was the first major project like this I’ve gotten to participate in since leaving my own classroom. A huge thank you to Laura Seiser and the NEH 2nd grade for working hard to create such awesome stories!
Please think about leaving the kids a comment on their work – there is a link on the page above to a Google Doc where you can write them a note.
We made sharing their work easy by creating a bit.ly link for their work – bit.ly/neh2ndstories
Interested in trying something like this in your class, but have more questions? Send me a message!