Fortunately Unfortunately

In the Fortunately Unfortunately ESL Activity, students create a story that alternates between positive and negative sentences.

Students for Fortunately Unfortunately ESL Activity:3+Time for Fortunately Unfortunately ESL Activity:5-10 mins
Resources for Fortunately Unfortunately ESL Activity:

If you have more than eight students, divide the class into groups of five to seven (try and make groups with an odd number of students if possible).

The students sit in a circle.

  1. One student starts a story by saying one sentence. E.g. Once upon a time, a man went to the zoo.
  2. The student to their left then adds another sentence to the story, starting with Fortunately… and describing something positive. E.g. Fortunately, he didn’t have to work.
  3. The next student to the left continues the story with a sentence, however this time with Unfortunately… and something negative. E.g. Unfortunately, he lost his wallet.
  4. The story continues clockwise in the same manner for as long as desired, with students alternating between positive and negative sentences.
Target Language

The Fortunately Unfortunately ESL activity is a short, simple activity to practise or review past tenses. Beginner and low intermediate students should just focus on using the past simple. Higher intermediate and advanced students should use a mix of narrative tenses.

The activity works particularly well as a warmer to refresh existing knowledge on these topics, before a class which extends study of the past tenses.

For a similar activity without the positive/negative elements, try Story Circle.

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