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Short description of activity:  Create a story sentence-by-sentence using information from the person before you and vocabulary words

Type of activity: Energizer, Content review

Minimum Time Needed for Activity: 15 Min

Grade Level: 1st – 12th

Subject Area: ELA


  • Vocabulary words on index cards or posted in a place where everyone can see.
    • For lower grades, use sight words or Top 150 written words list
  • Optional: Cards with images or drawings on them (clip art, Pictureka © , Apples to Apples ©  Picture Version, etc.)

Set up:

  1. If using vocabulary words on cards and/or picture cards, distribute to each student.


  1. Have students stand in a circle or semicircle. Teacher or volunteer student begins a story, one to two sentences, that incorporates at least one correctly-used vocabulary word (and image if using images). Sometimes using images helps a student with story creation.
  2. Next student continues the story in a logical sequence using their vocabulary word and/or image.
  3. Play continues until each student has used their word or until all words from the list of vocabulary words have been used.


  • Words and images can also be posted on a “word wall” so that students can choose as it is their turn.
    • Words/images can be moved once used so they are used. Decide together if they can be used again or if they are “one and done.”
  • Students may remain at their desks to make transition time shorter
  • Instead of images, have a bag of small objects or parts of objects to be incorporated into the story. 
  • Have students retell the plot of the book the class is reading or the lesson just taught using vocabulary words.
  • Visit for resources to generate downloadable tools.


ELA Standards > Speaking and Listening> Comprehension and Collaboration; Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

ELA Standards > Language>  Conventions of Standard English; Knowledge of Language; Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

ELA Standards > Standard 10: Range, Quality, & Complexity > Staying on Topic Within a Grade & Across Grades

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