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Fortune teller

Average: 3.5 (112 votes)

This lesson, suitable for pre-intermediate students, follows on from presentation and controlled practice of the future 'will'.

Jo Adkin and Jeff Fowler

It is an extended role-play activity which is simple to set up and fun for the students.


You will need some strips of paper.


  • Draw a simple picture of a fortune teller. Elicit/pre-teach the following vocabulary: crystal ball, earring, fog/cloud, fortune teller, etc. Ask students what he or she does. What other things can they use to tell the future (cards, palm reading, tea leaves, etc.)? Have they ever been to a fortune teller?
  • Elicit what kind of topics you might ask a fortune teller about, e.g. work, school, love, family, money, health, etc. and write them on the board.
  • Elicit some specific questions that might be asked, e.g. Will I go to university? Where will I meet my future partner? How many children will I have? etc. At this level students will tend to ask yes/no questions (Will I ...?), so it is important to elicit open questions with where, what, when, who and which to provide more opportunity for freer speaking.
  • Give each student three strips of paper. On each paper get students to write one question to ask the fortune teller. Monitor to check that they are writing open questions and using the will form.
  • Elicit ideas of what fortune tellers say to customers when they arrive. Then pre-teach and drill the rhyme Cross my palm with silver and I'll tell you your future.
  • Demonstrate the activity with a strong student. Ensure that you give extended answers as the fortune teller or ask follow-up questions as the customer.
  • Split the class in two. Half are fortune tellers and half are customers. Fortune tellers sit around the room. Customers sit opposite a fortune teller and after the fortune teller says the rhyme, customers ask their three questions. Set a time limit of two or three minutes.
  • Then customers rotate to a new fortune teller. After customers have spoken to all fortune tellers, feedback on what futures people were told and ask who they thought was the best, most realistic or nicest fortune teller. Customers and fortune tellers swap roles and repeat. Feedback again.
Language level
Language Level: 
Pre-intermediate: A2