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Wacky stories – Comminucative ESL Game to practise vocabulary and tenses.

Wacky Stories
Aim: To practice vocabulary, all 12 tenses and conditional sentences (adjustable). To practice storytelling techniques (building suspense, flash-backs, flash-forwards, etc.)
Interaction: Groups of three or four
Exercise type: Speaking, storytelling
Time: 15 minutes
Language: Depends on the level of Students
Level: A2 – C2
Materials: 1 set, cut up per group (the set can include as many cards as you decide and may vary depending on the level of the students).
Procedure: In this activity the students make a chain story, using the words and images on the cards, as well as the tenses or grammar structures indicated on them. With a little imagination and sense of humor from your students this game can get hilarious. If you want to emphasize the use of tenses and grammar structures, there is an extra tense component on each card, this component instructs the students not only to use a noun, a verb or an adjective on the card but to construct the sentence in a certain tense. This can bring into the story flash-backs and flash-forwards (so you may need to pre-teach these storytelling techniques first).

  1. At the beginning of the game each of the students has 6 cards. The rest of the cards are placed on a desk in a pile face down.
  2. The students have a couple of seconds to look at their cards. To determine the order in which the students will play the game, they will draw from a bag that contains pieces of paper with numbers on them (see the chart below), the student who draws number 1 from the bag, goes first. Alternatively, they can play a hand game of rock-paper-scissors or roll a dice or toss a coin.
  3. The fist student starts telling an imaginary story using the vocabulary on the cards that s/he has and also putting the sentences in the tense indicated on these cards. Every time the student uses a word or an image on the card, s/he places the card face up in front of her/him and on a piece of paper writes down the points earned for playing each card. If the student manages to use the word on the card, the student earns one point, for using the indicated grammar structure, the student gets additional 2 points. Each student can play as many cards as they can in each turn, but they cannot be speaking for more than 2 minutes in one turn.
  4. The student who goes next has to continue the story that the first student started but use the words that s/he has on her/his cards.
  5. The third student continues the story.
  6. When the students are out of cards, then at the next turn each of them can pick up three cards from the pile. If they cannot continue the story, they miss their turn. If a student picks up three cards, but can play only one or two, the student gets to keep the unused cards and can play them at the next turn.  
  7. The game ends when there are no more cards left in a pile or when the time set for the activity is over.
  8. Each of the students counts the points on the cards they have played   during the game. The student with the top score wins.

The printable handout can be downloaded here >> Wacky Stories – Comminucative ESL Game
The game is also available for download on slideshare:

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