Something Practical

David Wees tipped me off to something interesting two weeks ago and it’s been stewing in my mind ever since.

When I was a kid, I read this book whose title I have forgotten, about a football team on the verge of going to the playoffs.  It was a choose-your-own-adventure-story and, well, I read the thing at least twenty different times until I made it to the Super Bowl.  Needless to say, I was intrigued by David’s tweet due to some nostalgic longing for that football book, but also for some other reasons that my more mature, adult “teachery” side found worthy of investigation.

When you walk into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum you are given a small card that looks like this one.  Inside of it is a story that will be told throughout your visit to the museum.

David’s idea pushed me to think of this as a writing exercise for students of the Holocaust, a topic usually covered either via a reading of Night, or by a run through on their way to V-E Day in their US History II class.  Take these cards or create your own characters and run with it.  Create a story that forces readers to make choices, choices backed up by historical evidence and write the outcomes that many faced, and do it using a simple form to create and track the choices that your readers make.

What else can we do with these type stories?  I was thinking of capitalizing on some of our students interest in FanFiction and allowing them to create stories in this format based upon popular novels, or asking students to create a choose-your-own-adventure for a classic like TKAM.  What would have happened if…

I’d love to hear from others out there who are using tools in a capacity that they were not necessarily meant for, but are giving their students some outstanding opportunities.

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