Tell me a scary story!

Here’s a low / no-prep class that I used with various ages and levels this last week  to get them in a Halloween mood…

I told them about my love of horror movies and told them we were going to watch the opening 10 minutes from one of my favourites (and a classic!)… The Night of the Living Dead.


I used the clip for a few different classes, so I decided to try out a few different activities before we watched.

  1. I explained what was going to happen, elicited lots of language which went on the board and in students’ notebooks. This meant that after we watched, they had some tools to retell the story to each other.
  2. I wrote a short text and read it to the students. I popped in some phrasal verbs like ‘get away’, ‘cry out’ and ‘go for’ (attack) which I thought students might find useful for stories in this genre.
  3. I showed some pictures from the clip and got students to predict what the might happen. I also added a few key words if the students were having trouble or feeling uninspired…



I drew a simple story arc on the board and explained a simple story structure…dramaticarc

We’re all familiar with this structure – it’s what nearly all classic stories are based on. I explained that exposition is simply characters and setting, then I let the students get to work composing their own stories in pairs or small groups.

I had some ideas scribbled down just in case students needed any help, but they got on with the job with very little help from me. This meant I could monitor and deal with emerging language, error correct and ask more detailed questions of fast finishers.

In the last stage of the class, students presented their stories to other pairs or groups. For homework I asked them to write up their stories with a plan make a photo storyboard of any that I get back. This should be a good opportunity to focus on accuracy.

Overall … a really productive, fun, creative, student-centred, low-prep class!


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