Author: Zeny Zerfu (Ethiopia) | Uploaded on 1 July 2022


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

Using story is a fun way for learners to practise the target language. It helps learners to relate meaning to their everyday reality. 

Stage 1: Prepare 

Choose a category of words you want your learners to practise from the story using TPR, e.g. work, rest, fed-up, lie down, sick, tired, happy, slaughter. Ask your learners to listen to the words and respond physically by doing the action. 

Stage 2: Before the Story

Tell learners the story is about an ox and a donkey.

Give learners 5 minutes to ask you some questions before you tell them the story.

Example: Are the animals good friends? Where do they live?

Don’t tell the learners the major events in the story.


Guess what the story is about.

Now use my answers to your questions to tell the story.

Give learners a few minutes to think about the story.

Teacher: Now let’s listen to the story. (Change your voice from character to character.)  

Stage 3: During the story

Teacher: Think if the story is similar to the one you made up, or different.

Stage 4: After the Story

Teacher: Was it similar to the class story or different? In what ways?

Learners: Take turns to answer.

Teacher: Do you know any similar stories? 

Does the story remind you of anything in real life? Share your ideas in your groups.

Role Play

Put the learners in groups of three.

Teacher: Take roles: the ox, the donkey and a farmer, and ask the others questions about what they did in the story or what they plan to do next.

Stage 5: Variations

  • Have learners summarise the story, in pairs or groups 
  • Put learners in pairs. Pairs choose other animals for the same story, and act it out.
  • Have learners continue the story from where it stopped – they can write or speak.
  • Learners can write a letter to the character they like or don’t like. 

Make sure when your learners take turns, they practise asking and answering as the ox and the donkey.

The story


The ox went to the donkey and said, “I’m fed up. I work. I never have any rest. What shall I do?” 

The donkey said, “Well, tomorrow, do this. Lie down on your back, pretend you are sick and your stomach is bloated, saying, ‘Uh! Uh!’” 

So the ox did this, and the next day the farmer came and said, “Oh, my ox is sick, let the donkey take the plough.”

So the donkey took the ox’s job, and was very tired. 

The ox came to him again, expecting more advice. He rested beside the donkey and said, “It was such a lovely day yesterday. I will rest today and I won’t go to work tomorrow, either. Tell me how I can persuade the farmer.” 

The donkey said, “Oh, do you think so? I heard you will be slaughtered if you don’t work.” 

So the ox decided to go to work the next day. 


Category: A group of words (or things) that share similar features

TPR: Total Physical Response – activities where learners respond with physical actions or by moving, instead of speaking

Summarise: Retell in a very short form

See also