Choose Your Own Adventure

James Taylor, Ian Stevenson, Isaac Roelfsema, and Ali Jumaah, Kanazawa Technical College

Quick Guide

  • Keywords: Project work, teamwork, technology, storytelling
  • Learner English level: Low intermediate and above
  • Learner maturity: High-school or university
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Activity time: Eight 50-minute lessons (varies depending on learners and institution)
  • Materials: Laptops, whiteboard, projector/TV/interactive whiteboard, worksheets

Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) stories are increasingly being used in language classrooms. Having students work together to create a story where the class participates in the retelling increases student interest and motivation. This project requires students to collaborate and use their imagination within a structure to create their own CYOA using presentation software such as PowerPoint (PPT).


Step 1: Watch the YouTube video (‘The Time Machine’).

Step 2: Teacher makes his/her own brief PPT story (see Appendix A for an example).

Step 3: Print Appendices B-F and photos of famous characters.


Step 1: Introduce the concept of CYOA stories. Distribute Appendix B and explain that you will watch a CYOA video and the class will map out the story together. Play the video, pausing regularly to discuss what happened. Students fill in the worksheet, and vote on each choice. Then ask students “who, what, when, where” and write their answers on the board. Show a brief teacher-made PPT story, and again have students vote and elicit the core details of that story (who, what, when, where, goal).

Step 2: Tell students that they will make a short CYOA story as a class. Distribute photos of famous characters and ask students to select the heroes and villains for their story. Have students first think of the core details, then they can add further details of the plot, choices, and consequences, which the teacher writes on the board. Retell the story as a class, generating answers from students.

Step 3: Distribute Appendix C. Explain that most stories have a goal, and have students complete Part 1. Students then form pairs and complete Part 2, brainstorming ideas for a CYOA story they will make in PPT.

Step 4: Distribute Appendix D. Students write a draft, with the teacher making comments and corrections. Then distribute Appendix E. Students plan their adventure in more detail; the teacher helps as necessary.

Step 5: Have the students bring laptops to class (or move to a computer room) in order to make the PPT, incorporating images or photos. Have students insert hyperlinks into their PPT to facilitate the presentation of the story. The teacher may need to demonstrate how to do this.

Step 6: Complete PPTs with text, images, and hyperlinks. The teacher gives feedback. Once complete, students practice reading their story, then record themselves and insert audio files into their PPT. The teacher may need to demonstrate how to do this.

Step 7: Share the adventures with the class on a big screen. While watching, students vote on each course of action and complete Appendix F. Grade students according to the conventions for CYOA stories (goal, good choice/bad choice) and their PPT (hyperlinks, audio, images).


Potential variations include focusing on a particular grammatical point, making video-based adventures, or a low-tech project. If more than one class is doing this project, teachers can show PPTs made by students from other classes.


Students were active and engaged while developing their stories. In an informal end-of-project survey 97% of students asked said they enjoyed the project.


Chadmattandrob. (2008). The Time Machine: A Chad, Matt & Rob Interactive Adventure. Retrieved from:


The appendices are available below: