Guided writing: Writing a story on the OHP

This activity can be used with intermediate and upper-intermediate students and practises fluency as well as story-writing skills. It offers free practice of narrative tenses and sequential linking words, and helps foster cooperation and a sense of achievement as students work together to prepare and write their stories. It also solves the problem of giving up valuable class time to lengthy writing exercises and stops writing being such a lonely experience.

Alan Finch


Cut up an OHT into three strips for each group of 3-4 students.


Step 1

  • Tell your students they are going to write a story entitled ‘A Wonderful Day’ and that they are going to be the narrator in the story.
  • Draw 4 big circles on the board. In the first circle write ‘Who am I?’ and ask your students to decide on the main character of the story (You could use a picture to stimulate imagination):
    • How old am I?
    • What do I do?
    • What do I look like?
    • What am I like?
    • Who are my friends?
    • What family have I got?
    • What kind of relationship do I have with them?
    • What do I like doing?
    • Etc
  • Write up their ideas.

Step 2

  • In the second circle write ‘Morning’ and ask the students to decide what I did to make it such a wonderful day and write up their ideas.
  • Repeat the procedure for the third and fourth circles substituting ‘Morning’ for ‘Afternoon’ and ‘Evening’.

Step 3

  • Put the students into groups and tell them each group is going to write one part of the story: morning, afternoon or evening. Hand out a strip of OHT to each group as well as OHP pens. If you have a large class you could divide them in two and have them write two stories.

Step 4

  • Give the students about twenty minutes to discuss together and write their part of the story then collect the strips back and arrange them together on the OHP.
  • I find it helps if you read the text aloud and the students follow. Go over the text with the students and tell them what you think they did well.
  • If you want you can also analyse the texts for errors.


You can vary this theme to incorporate other ideas like ‘An Awful Day’ or ‘An Unexpected Day’ etc.

Language Level


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