Author: Deb Avery | Published on 1 September 2022


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

In my large class, it is difficult for everyone to participate in activities. I use drama techniques in groups to give everyone the chance to take part. Improvisation is one drama technique which improves the learners’ English.

Stage 1: Prepare

Select a story from the textbook, or use a well-known folk tale / fairy tale. The story should have at least four characters and a good storyline. 

Practise reading or telling the story.

Stage 2: Introduce

Read or tell the story to the class. If possible, the learners should read along.     

Ask: ‘What happened at the end of the story? What else could have happened?’

Brainstorm a few ideas for an alternative ending. For example: The hare beat the tortoise in the race. The tortoise was sad.

Stage 3: Discuss

Select one alternative ending for the story (or get the class to vote on which suggestion they liked best).  

Discuss whether the new ending was sad, happy, funny, clever, etc. 

Stage 4: Work in groups

Divide learners into groups of four or five.

Say: ‘In your group, brainstorm and then write a different end for the story. Think about whether you want it to be happy, sad, funny etc. Give everybody a character. Change your ideas into dialogue. One of you can be the narrator, but make sure everyone says something.’

Tell the groups they have 20-25 minutes to complete the activity and be ready to perform.

Circulate and help where necessary. Remind the learners how much time is left at various points. Remember that the main purpose of the activity is to practise language, not to perform a play.

Stage 5: Perform

Each group performs their short play for the rest of the class.

Say: ‘Did you enjoy changing the story? Well done on your work.’

If learners have access to a mobile phone, allow groups to film their work. They can then play the video to others. With younger learners, select a well-known story and spend more time brainstorming alternative endings. You may need to assign one of the ideas to each group as younger learners may not have the imagination to change the story. 


Circulate: Move around the classroom to check what learners are doing, and if they need any help. 

Brainstorm: To suggest ideas quickly, before then considering them more carefully.

Fairy tale: a traditional children’s story in which magic things happen

Drama techniques: Drama techniques include voice, body, movement, and use of space.

Folk tale: an old traditional story

Improvisation: a performance of a play or a piece of music in which the performer invents words or musical notes that they have not learned or prepared before

Narrator: someone who tells the story in a novel or film

See also