You are here

One word story

Average: 3.8 (72 votes)

This is a simple activity where each student adds a word to create a group story. 

Jo Budden

Despite the simplicity, the activity can be really challenging and is more suitable for higher levels.


  • Students should be in a circle (if this isn't possible make it clear they know who they are going to follow on from).
  • The teacher can begin by saying the first word and each student adds the next word, without repeating what has come beforehand.
  • The stories can develop in any number of ways. Some groups may need the teacher to provide punctuation and decide that a sentence should end and a new one should begin. The great thing about this activity is that all students have to concentrate and listen carefully to their colleagues to be able to continue the story coherently.
  • Good starting words are suddenly or yesterday. Example:
  • Teacher – Yesterday
  • Student 1 – I
  • Student 2 – saw
  • Student 3 – a
  • Student 4 – strange
  • Student 5 – man
  • Student 6 – who
  • Student 7 – was
  • Student 8 – wearing
  • Student 9 – a
  • Student 10 – yellow
  • Student 11 – hat
  • Teacher – full stop, new sentence
  • Student 12 – He
  • Student 13 – was
  • Etc.

It is great for highlighting word collocations and practising word order. It also highlights problems students may have with tenses or prepositions for you to focus on in future classes.

Language level
Language Level: 
Pre-intermediate: A2