This activity really makes writing in class fun. I have used this activity for years and it has always been a hit. It's good practice for writing creative stories using narrative tenses.

Author: 
Nicola Crowley

I have used this activity with children and adults from pre-intermediate level and up. At the end of this activity, students usually get a funny story written by at least 7 students or pairs of students from their class.

Preparation

  • Make copies of the fold-over worksheet or a blank page.
  • Prepare questions for the story (see procedure below).

Procedure

  • Tell the students that you they are going to write a story together. They can write in pairs or individually.
  • Give out the worksheet or a blank page. Make sure the students write their names on the top of the worksheet.
  • Tell the students what their story is going to be about and ask them a question. They have to write their answer on the worksheet. The questions should be who/what/when/where/how questions.
  • I usually use this activity when I cover the topic of aliens with a class, but you can use this activity for most topics. I tell the students that they have seen an alien and they are going to write a story about what happened. Then I read out (or if necessary write on the board) the first question:
When did you see the alien and where were you?
  • After the students have completed the answer for the first question they fold the worksheet over so that their answer cannot be seen and then they pass it to the student/s on their right. Then ask the second question and the procedure is repeated with the remaining questions. Here are the rest of the questions I usually ask:
Who were you with?
What were you doing?
What did the alien look like?
What did you do when you saw the alien?
What happened in the end?
  • The students shouldn't read what the previous student/s have written. This makes the end result even more amusing.
  • When the students have completed all the questions tell them to open out the worksheet and pass it to the person whose name is written on top.
  • Tell the students to read their stories. Usually they get a few laughs!
  • Ask a few students to read their stories to the class

Alternatives

This activity can be used for many other topics. Here are another few examples:

Meeting someone famous

  1. What famous person did you meet?
  2. Where did you meet them and who were you with?
  3. What was the famous person wearing and how did he/she look (e.g. glamorous/ taller than I thought/ not too beautiful)?
  4. What was he/she like? (e.g. friendly/ funny/ annoyed)
  5. What did you do when you saw the famous person?
  6. What happened next? ( e.g. He/she signed an autograph/walked away)

A great holiday

  1. Where and when did you go?
  2. Who did you go with?
  3. Describe the place you went to.
  4. What did you do there? (e.g. snowboarding, trekking, swimming, climbed Mt. Everest)
  5. What sights did you see? ( e.g. The Eiffel tower, the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China)
  6. What was the weather like?
  7. Did you have a good time?

Error correction

If you would like to correct some of the students writing errors take note of the most common errors and write their sentences (or change the sentence so that the student can't be identified) on the board for the students to correct. Alternatively, you could make a worksheet for the next class to correct these errors.

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Language level
Language Level: 
Pre-intermediate: A2

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