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Telling True Stories

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Telling true stories is a basic English usage task that we use on a daily basis. Unfortunately, students sometimes get caught up in trying too hard to speak English 'correctly' and can get lost. This at the cost of the story becoming difficult to understand or even incoherent. This lesson plan is aimed at helping students give structure to their relating of true stories.

Aim: Learning the basic structure and expressions used when telling true stories

Activity: Listening to a story, text arrangement, questionnaire, structure study and final story telling segment

Level: Intermediate - Upper Intermediate

Outline:

  • Tell the class a true story about some experience that has happened to you. Make sure to follow the story telling structure outline used during the lesson:
    • Introduction: Introduce the story by telling what kind of story it is
    • Beginning: How the story started
    • The Story: The main events related in order
    • The End: What has changed or how things are now
    • Moral: Final comments or moral conclusions about the story
  • Follow up your story with some basic comprehension questions.
  • Ask the students to put the reading comprehension into the correct order.
  • Have students underline key vocabulary that introduce and relate the sequence of events.
  • Discuss this vocabulary as a class.
  • Ask students to fill out the questionnaire. You can also do this activity as a pair work exercise with students asking each other the questions.
  • Ask students to review the story telling structure. Point out how your story and the reading comprehension follow the structure layout.
  • Ask students to use the information from the questionnaire to write their own true story.
  • Have students get into pairs and read each other the story. Ask students to pay careful attention to the story as they will need to relate the story to another partner.
  • Ask students to find another partner and relate the story that they have just been told to the new partner.
  • For Homework: Ask students to plan and write another true story of about 100 words.

Answer the following questions:

  • Think of a story that has happened to you or a friend of yours that is remarkable. What happened?
  • Was this a happy or sad story? Why?
  • What were the main events of the story? In what order did they happen?
  • How have things changed because of this story? What are things like now?
  • What lessons did you learn from the story?

Look at how we tell stories in English.

  • Introduction: Introduce the story by telling what kind of story it is
  • Beginning: How the story started
  • The Story: The main events related in order
  • The End: What has changed or how things are now
  • Moral: Final comments or moral conclusions about the story

True Stories

1

It concerns my best friend at college who became a famous rock and roller after he had failed completely at trying to become a stock broker on Wall Street.

2

I guess this all just shows how you can never stop believing in yourself, even if everyone around you thinks you are crazy!

3

This is a great story about a guy who everyone said was a loser.

4

First of all, Jack immediately went to New York after he had graduated. He then got a job as a stock broker in a small trading company. After a few months, and a lot of lost money, he decided to bet his future on a new Internet company by convincing his clients that it was a fantastic investment.

5

In the end, he decided to start playing his guitar again in a nightclub with a group of friends. Well, they were discovered and signed a contract with a major recording company three months later! The rest is history and Jack is currently enjoying a wonderful career as a rock and roll star.

6

Unfortunately, that was in April of 2001 - right at the moment of the Internet bust! Needless to say, the company went bankrupt and all his clients were furious with him! He eventually was fired and found himself in New York City without a job.

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