Teaching ESL
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Fortunately/Unfortunately story activity - simple past
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Author:  mesmark [ Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Fortunately/Unfortunately story activity - simple past

emailed to me by Joanna:

Fortunately/unfortunately story – very good for practicing Past Simple with students who can already express their ideas.

First you can present a story as an example – eg. ‘Mary went for a walk. Unfortunately it started to rain. Fortunately she had an umbrella. Unfortunately the wind was so strong that the umbrella snapped in two. Fortunately she met her friend who had a huge umbrella. Unfortunately the friend was going in another direction ...... and so on.

Simply you suggest the topic:
‘Mary organized a birthday party’
‘John and Susan went on holiday’

whatever – and Ss in pairs or first teacher vs students make U/F story, one student is responsible for the Fortunately part, the other for the Unfortunately. In this activity the T doesn’t provide much, but usually Ss have great ideas prompted by U/F.


Giving questions to discuss in pairs is quite a common activity at higher levels, but if you don’t give them these questions photocopied but dictate instead, you can have at the same time a dictation practice and I believe Ss concentrate more on the Qs structure, and maybe start to remember that.

Different variations of this game for beginners appear on MES but I use it in the simplest form and find it very effective.

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