Authors: Chinyere Chuku, Kikelomo Adeniyi and Helen Kada Mathias (Nigeria) | Published on 1 July 2022


In Africa, stories are a great way to teach and learn. Stories can be one way to lighten language teaching and learning. Grammar is at the centre of language learning, yet it is generally seen as one of the more difficult language areas both to learn and teach. Stories can be used to make learning grammar more interesting and engaging. With this activity, learners can practise grammar without the usual pressure associated with it.

Lesson Focus: The Simple Sentence/Clause


  • to improve learners’ ability to construct simple sentences
  • to encourage creative thinking and writing
  • to develop sequencing skills

Level: Junior secondary 

Resources needed: pen, paper, flashcards, board, marker

Time: 40-45 minutes

Learners will be able to:

  • recognise and construct simple sentences
  • demonstrate the use of simple sentences
  • choose the right sequencing for creating a story
  • learn how to link sentences to develop a story
  • learn how to collaborate


Step 1

Introduce and explain simple clause structure 

A simple clause is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate.

Subject = Who/what does something in a sentence

Predicate = What the subject does in a sentence 

Step 2

Write examples on the board:

John (Subject) is my best friend (Predicate)

Mary (Subject) cooked dinner (Predicate)

We (Subject) drove the car to Lagos (Predicate)

Step 3

Explain the procedure to learners.

  • Put learners in groups of 4-6 (depending on class size)
  • Tell each group to select a leader to write down the story as it develops. 
  • Inform the groups that the group leaders will read out their story at the end of the exercise.

Step 4

  • Give each group a sentence to begin and allow them 10 minutes to develop their story.

 E.g “He staggered and fainted……….”

“ Didn’t the caption read, the Lord’s restaurant?” 

  • Inform the learners that they are to supply only simple/single sentences to make up the story    

      and give them the number of simple sentences to generate for their story. 

Step 5

  • Go round and monitor the groups while they practise to ensure that they are on task. Give suggestions and corrections if required. 
  • Encourage group members to participate

Step 6

  • Check the time and tell learners when to begin to harmonise and edit their story.
  • When a group completes their story, the group leader should be ready to read it out.
  • Give feedback on the activity.


  • This activity can be used to teach descriptive or narrative essays (Learners can rewrite the story with new sentences and an alternative ending).
  • The stories can be used for further practice in listening, speaking, reading and word formation.
  • Can be used to teach tenses, especially the simple past.
  • Could be used for practice of peer feedback.
  • This can be used effectively in online teaching. Teacher divides the class into groups of four or six. Each group is placed in a breakout room on Zoom or in a broadcast group on WhatsApp and given their story prompts. The story generated is sent to the main group through text or voice note.

Further Teaching

Learners can be asked to turn the story into a short play.  


Collaborate: Work together

Construct: Build

Recognize: Identify

Demonstrate: Show

Sequencing: Step-by-step arrangement

Procedure: Way of doing something.

Generate: Produce

Descriptive: Painting a picture in words of someone or something 

Narrative: Telling a story

Harmonise: bring together

See also