One word stories

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

Jo Budden

Despite the simplicity it can be really challenging and I would only use it with 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.
  • Good starting words are 'Suddenly' or 'Yesterday' to force the story into the past tense. 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.
  • The stories can develop in any number of ways. Some groups may need the teacher to provide punctuation and decide that the 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.


  • 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.
Language Level


Submitted by Dipper on Wed, 10/12/2022 - 15:50

I really liked activity you offered and the way you explained rules. It was easy and meaningful. I agree that this activity will definitely help teachers to understand their student's weakness. Moreover the thing I like in this activity is that teacher can practice grammar tenses. I consider this activity as very helpful and creative way to practise new grammar topics with students. Thank you a lot for a new idea.

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