Creating a framework for writing

This is a creative-writing exercise in which the teacher moulds the story but allows plenty of scope for the students' creative expression.

Jeff Fowler


  • The students work in pairs or groups of three. The teacher dictates a part of a story and then gives instructions on how the students should continue the next part of the story in their pairs. (This usually involves adding description or dialogue.)
  • Once the students have added a part to the story, the teacher once again dictates the next part and asks them once again to add more.
  • This process can continue for 5 or 6 paragraphs or until the students lose concentration.


You can use this procedure with any short story, but it works best when you dictate the movement of events and your students add description or dialogue. Students do generally like to decide on the end of the story themselves, so if you sense they are getting tired, just tell them to finish the story.

Follow-up activities

  • If you have access to computers, get the students to transfer their stories onto disks. This can also be set for homework. The teacher can then edit the stories and correct the mistakes.
  • In a subsequent class all the stories are read by all the students. Each group will also receive their original story to compare their version with the teacher's version. All the stories should be displayed on a classroom poster.
  • The students record their stories onto audio cassettes. Allow the students time to practise their parts and to use sound effects. The students then all listen to all the stories. To focus your students' attention during the listening activity you can ask them to write a few comprehension check questions for their stories.
Language Level

Research and insight

We have hundreds of case studies, research papers, publications and resource books written by researchers and experts in ELT from around the world. 

See our publications, research and insight

Sign up to our newsletters for teachers and teacher educators

We will process your data to send you our newsletter and updates based on your consent. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every email. Read our privacy policy for more information.