Lesson idea: retelling a story in groups

Here’s a great group task for retelling a story. I came across it during the British Council summer school here in Bangkok. My teen group were doing activities based on the movie ‘Jumanji’, but this can work for any movie, fairytale, etc.

First, summarise your story in 100 words or so. You could use an existing plot summary from IMDB or even Wikipedia, and just cut it down as needed.

Once you’ve got the text, write it out into a table so that each word is in one of 4 columns, Here’s an example for the first sentence:

In 1869, two boys bury a mysterious and magical game – Jumanji.


1869 two boys
bury a mysterious and
magical game Jumanji


Here’s the important part. Jumble each line of the text up so the words are in a different order. Then number each line to help learners keep track of where they are. Here’s the handout I gave them:


(c) British Council

Now get the students to work in groups of 4. Give each student one column each from the table. They shouldn’t show their words to each other. Each student then reads their first word:

‘two’, ‘boys’, ‘1869’, ‘In’

They work together to decide on the correct word order. Sometimes, they will need to move onto the next line to help them expand the context a bit. When they think the order is correct they can write the words down, and they will gradually construct the text.

Alternatively, rather than writing the story down they can try and remember it then reconstruct it after (speaking), or they can redo the task at a faster pace.

I’d never come across this activity before. I thought it was brilliant! The students loved it – cheers to whoever wrote it!

feature image taken from hypefreshmag.com

Categories: Lesson Ideas, other

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person


  1. LESSON IDEA: RETELLING A STORY IN GROUPS | Little delicate world
  3. Lesson idea: retelling a story in groups — elt planning – Teacher Zara Blog

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