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


Submitted by Amir A. Ravayee on Sat, 11/22/2008 - 12:43


 Using this activity is very useful and students will learn better how to use the future "will" for several reasons:

1- We teach the grammar indirectly. Students are not very interested in grammar if you want to teach it directly.

2- Students will learn the real use of the future "will" not just its form.

3- The activity is really fun.

The only thing you must pay attention to is that the activity is good for adults. Teenagers don't take it for serous.

Amir Abbass Ravayee


I've tried it with 15 yearolds drawing the attention on LOVE, FAMILY facts and it really worked!!!! thanks a bunch. it is useful, effective and sts have fun while playing the game

It's quite important to take into account sts backgroung and topic-range the activity .

Submitted by oezlemt on Wed, 12/03/2008 - 12:58


I think this method is quite good because the pupils have to use the will future in a context where they need it.

I tried this method with 12 - 13- year olds and they really enjoyed this way  of practising a grammatical topic. We used to work more with our coursebook and it was a little bit boring but this method was really interesting for them and when I asked them to tell me what they learned about the will future they remembered this method some weeks later.

Thanks for sharing the idea with us!

Submitted by lizziegb on Thu, 12/11/2008 - 18:23


Ligia Elizabeth Garrido, Lima, Peru

This is a very funny way to use language and make a very memorable activity. Students have the opportunity to learn by doing and believe me, they are very creative about their predictions and all the class can laugh a lot during the activity.


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