Nada Filipovic

is a teacher from Serbia and has worked with primary school children for many years. She participates in many seminars, and her great interests are classroom innovations and creative writing.


Getting pupils to do creative writing tasks is not always easy. This month Nada Filipovic, a teacher in Serbia, shares her ideas with us on how to do a collaborative story writing task in class. Find out more about get your upper primary pupils working together to write a story.

Oxford Recipe in printable, PDF format:


Writing a story can be a rather difficult task, so writing this type of story is challenging, motivating and exciting. Students will enjoy group work; they will be able to express themselves and also have fun.

This is a good way to revise the past simple and past continuous tenses. The exercise is excellent for large classes, and classrooms that are not equipped with computers or Internet connection.

Level: 3rd cycle Primary

Time: 20-30 min


– Learn and revise Past Simple and Past Continuous.

– Motivate students through dynamic and creative activities.

– Improve listening, writing and speaking skills.

– Encourage them to express themselves.


– Sheets of paper

– A board

– Pens, pencils


  • In former classes, practise the past simple/continuous tense, to be sure that they have acquired basic knowledge of the tenses.
  • Prepare sheets of paper equivalent to the number of groups in a class.
  • In advance, prepare past simple/continuous questions for the class story. The number of questions should be equivalent to the number of group members.

In class:

  • Divide the class into several groups of around 5-7 students.
  • Give each group a sheet of paper and tell them that they are going to write a story together.
  • Write a starting sentence on the board and tell them to write it down. That’s the very first sentence of the story (to set the scene e.g. It was late in the evening and it was snowing…)
  • Then, tell them that you will ask questions and each student should answer in only one sentence. When he/she finishes, he/she folds the sheet of paper and passes it to the next member of a group. So, they do not know what has been written.
  • Be creative when asking, you might mention some celebrities (e.g. what was Angelina Jolie doing that snowy night?) Be careful when using tenses and have your storyline idea already thought of.
  • When each member finishes writing, listen to a representative of each group who will unfold the paper and read the whole story. It’s often funny and they are eager to hear what they have created.


  • Exchange stories among groups. Correct their mistakes after you have read all the stories.
  • You can ask them to try to develop their stories at home or as speaking practice later on in the class.


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