The duration of the activity depends on the size of the class, but will take at least twenty minutes for an average size class.
Students form a 'storyline' chain where they pass and add part of a narrative to the next student in the class. In this way, the students construct a simple group narrative.
This activity can be approached in several ways.
- First you need to prepare a card or piece of paper for each student with a key word written on it.
- Explain the task to your students – they must remember the story which is told to them, relay it to the next student in the storyline and add a sentence or two to continue the narrative, including the key word you give them on a card or piece of paper.
- With small groups or slightly weaker groups, get the students to sit in a circle and do the activity in the classroom.
- With larger, stronger groups, ask one student to remain in the classroom and invite the others to wait outside until you ask them to re-enter the room. Now tell student A the beginning of the story and give them a keyword card. Invite student B into the room. Student A passes the story to student B with his/her addition to the narrative. Then invite student C into the room and ask A to wait outside.
- Give students help and encouragement where appropriate in order to keep the activity going and the story more-or-less on course.
- This is a communication-based activity so don't worry too much about grammatical accuracy.
- Explain to the final student that they must find a satisfactory end to the story.
- At the end of the exercise, ask the last student to tell the whole story to student A, then ask student A to tell the story to you.
- If you have access to a tape-recorder, record student A and then invite feedback from the whole group.
- When Peter finally reached the top of the mountain, he couldn't believe his eyes …
- Kate sat at her desk and turned on her computer. Then, something strange happened …
- It was a terrible night. Outside, there was a storm. It was nearly midnight when suddenly there was a loud knock at the door …
- Amanda stared at the man. It was him! It was definitely the man she had seen on TV …
- Ben was having the best day of his life. It began with a phone call after breakfast …
There are numerous ways of following or adding to this activity.
- With strong groups, go back through the group so that the story continues in reverse sequence, finally ending with student A.
- Alternatively, arrange the students into small groups and ask them to work together to write down the story in a way which is as grammatically accurate as possible.
- Alternatively, arrange your students into pairs or small groups, give them each a new keyword card and then tell them they have fifteen minutes or so to write a short story containing the key word. Get each pair to read their story to the class and then invite the class to guess what the key word was.