Chain story telling

In this speaking activity the students tell personal stories which are prompted by pictures.

Arizio Moreira

The activity is performed as a mingle.

  • Cut up cards of different objects, activities, animals, etc. selected randomly.
  • Place the cards scattered on the floor in the middle of the classroom.
  • Tell the students to pick up a card from the floor which they think makes them remember one of the following:
    (a) a memorable event in their lives
    (b) a positive or negative past or recent experience or
    (c) a story about a friend/family member/acquaintance/etc that they would like to share with others.
  • Tell the students that they must find another in the class and tell them what the picture makes them remember and listen to the other person’s story too.
  • Each student must tell their story for about one to two minutes only.
  • Students then must exchange pictures and find another student to talk to.
  • Emphasise that they must ask the name of the person they were talking to before they move on to talk to another one.
  • Students must then talk to another student and tell him/her the story of the person they last talked to.
  • Students swap pictures again and move on to talk to someone reporting the story they’ve just listened to.
  • Round the activity off by asking individual students to report to the class the interesting things they’ve learned about other people in class.
Language Level


Submitted by Michele Rankin on Sun, 07/26/2009 - 11:35


It was lovely to be reimnded of a simple activity. I shall use it in teachers induction week as a warmer.

Thank you.

Submitted by Sabapathi on Wed, 07/29/2009 - 03:01


The idea behind this activity is lovely. Simple and effctive. I will try this and also see ways to use it in various other topics.  

Submitted by alex nggebu on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 15:08


Great idea, students will find it easier to tell their own story if they have some pictures. Thanks I'll try it out.

Submitted by chandran.s.nair on Fri, 08/07/2009 - 15:14


Simple, practical, and interesting. Not confined to class rooms alone. A worth while entertainment for all and in all gatherings. Thanks.

Submitted by amal1 on Mon, 10/12/2009 - 18:55


the idea is simple and easy to follow.  I'll try it in my classes and expect ps. will like it


Submitted by Gulshan Huseynli on Tue, 05/03/2011 - 17:30


Good Idea.

I  have tried simple version in my class. it is good to practice past tense. Begin  telling a story. This can be the fist few lines of a story from the coursebook or improvised, or you can invite a student to start. Then going round the class, each student has to add another brief "installment" to the story.

Variation: before you start, ask each student to choose a word. It can be an item of vocabulary recently learnt, a verb in the past tense, or freely chosen. Then each "instalment" has to include the word the student has chosen. Teachers can also  choose the words beforhand and write them on a piece of paper and distribute them among students. Students can contrbute to the story volunteeringly or you can nominate them beforhand. Students like it a lot.  

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