The Conditional Story Chain ESL activity is a version of the Story Chain activity especially designed for practising the first or second conditional.
Each student will need a piece of paper, which will be passed around the room. Define an order/direction in which the students are to pass their papers.
Students will write sentences in either the first or second conditional. However, this sentence must continue from the previous sentence; i.e. the previous result must form the condition. Subsequent students repeat this process to create a story, for example (in the second conditional):
– If I won the lottery, I would go to Hawaii.
– If I went to Hawaii, I would learn to surf.
– If I learned to surf, I would be good at it.
– If I were good at surfing, I would win a competition.
– If I won a competition, I would become famous..
- All the students have one minute to write an initial conditional sentence.
- They then pass their paper to the next student, who has one minute to write another linked conditional sentence that continues the story.
- When finished, each student folds their paper so only one sentence is visible.
- The students pass the papers again, and the process of writing, folding and passing is repeated as many times as desired.
- At the end, students unfold the story they currently have so they can read it all. Ask them to check for any mistakes or corrections they think are necessary (this can also be done with a partner).
- Finally, they read the story aloud to the class or a small group, depending on the size of the class (encourage peer error correction at this point too).
The Conditional Story Chain ESL activity can be used to practise either the first conditional or the second conditional. Due to the repetitive nature of the activity, it works best with intermediate classes who have learned the grammar recently. Seeing the conditional form written down and converting the clauses themselves really helps familiarise students with the grammar structure.
For a similar activity which students can do once they are a little more confident with the grammar, see Conditional Story Circle.
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