A 4 Word Story

Level: Elementary +

Aim: to revise vocabulary or grammar; to practice word order; to practice fluency

Time: 15 minutes or more

Language skills: speaking, writing, reading, listening

Types of learners: auditory, visual

Material: an A5 blank piece of paper for each group

Classroom management: group work



  1. Divide the class into groups of four or five.
  2. Give each group an A5 blank piece of paper.
  3. Tell the groups to elect the student who will start the activity.
  4. This student writes down an English word that first comes into his/her mind when you say ‘start’ (it is not association on the verb ‘start’, but any English word he/she can think of at that moment).
  5. The student sitting to his left side writes the next word which comes into his/her mind, but which starts with the last letter of the previous word (e.g. raceelephant).
  6. When each student has written a word, they prepare to tell a short story containing words from the list. Every student in the group must say at least one sentence.



  1. Depending on the level of knowledge of the class, you can have students write a story or use the words from the list in their story in alphabetical or some other exact order.
  2. You can give points (e.g. one point for every word). Students’ attention is at a high level here, because they all have different words, thus different stories. What’s more, advanced students tend to make their stories funny, so you can all have a good laugh!
  3. When the group tells their story, other students try to guess what were the four initial words.



Students can revise some grammar points by using specific elements in their stories (e.g. use two comparative forms, one past simple and one question tag).

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