GROUP WRITING TASK: Fortunately – Unfortunately

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December 2020 – This is a simple group writing task I learnt from New Headway Pre-Intermediate some years ago. I find the exercise excellent to improvise a quick group-writing session about any topic even with lower level classes/students.


The task is simple:
– Give the students some empty sheets of paper and ask them to copy/write on it one clause which sets the context for the story. The clause doesn’t have to be complicated: I went shopping or I was looking forward to Christmas… You can write the possible beginnings onto the whiteboard. Consider what grammar you want to make your students use: the exercise is ideal to practise simple past, but also modal verbs (can) or future is possible.
– They need to continue it with one clause/sentence and then pass the story to the next student on their right/left who then adds another clause/sentence,
– however, every new line starts with ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’ (in turns).

You can set a time limit or a number of lines to complete.
In an online course individual course, you and your student can take turns adding more and more clauses/sentences to the story.

An example

I went shopping,
Unfortunately, my favourite shop was closed,
Fortunately, there was another fashion store just around the corner,
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a nice party dress in my size there,
Fortunately, I found a pair of elegant trousers and a lovely blouse,
Unfortunately, the shop didn’t have them in my favourite colour,
Fortunately, they were on sales,
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my credit card in my handbag,
Fortunately, I saw one of my friends walking by the store,
Unfortunately, she didn’t hear me calling her,
Fortunately, I had my mobile phone with me,
Unfortunately, she didn’t answer the phone but
Fortunately, I woke up from my dream.


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