Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Tell a Tale

Linda Fasthoff


Students add a picture to the class story. Using the pictures as prompts, they retell the story in correct sequential order.


The student listens for specific information, including sequence of events.


-Cellophane tape
-A large variety and number of picture cards with a single object/action on each (ie: kite, balloon, monkey, key, child running). Picture cards may be purchased at office supply stores, school supply stores, discount variety stores or may be teacher made using pictures cut from magazines or clip art and mounted on construction paper. Laminate cards if possible to extend their life. (See Web links section for clip art sites.)
-Paper bag
-Student names on individual peices of paper to be drawn from bag.


1. Purchase or make individual picture cards depicting a single object/action (ie., kite, balloon, monkey, key, child running). If using clip art pictures, you will need to enlarge them prior to teaching this lesson. For clip art see Web links section.
2. Write all students names on individual strips of paper.
3. Prepare a space long enough to line up 10-12 picture cards in one row.
4. Cellophane tape


Note: Emphasize use of words” first,- “next,- and “then” liberally throughout story creation. Students may need to “help” each other as the story gets longer. To keep students interested when using activity as a whole class project, you may want to draw student names from a bag for each turn. Allow students to “help” each other as needed.

1. Ask the class, “Did you know that you are in a story?” Continue with: “Well, we are going to make a story with some of our classmates in it. Another day we will make another story and when we are finished everyone will be part of one of our stories. This is how we are going to make up our story.”

2. Turn cards face down loosely.

3. Reveal a card from the deck and name it (kite).

4. Tape the chosen card to the chalkboard or other prepared surface.

5. Model for students by selecting a card from the deck and using your own name in conjunction with the chosen picture. (For example: Ms. Fasthoff is flying a kite.”)

6. Draw a student’s name from the paper bag to determine which student will add the next piece to the story.

7. Say to the class, “The NEXT person to choose a card is _(name just drawn from bag)_.

8. The student picks a new card and names it (balloon). Tape this picture card to the right of the first picture card.

9. That student retells the teacher “story” and adds his/her “story piece” using his/her name. (“Ms. Fasthoff is flying a kite and next Jerrin found a balloon.”)

10. Another student (3rd) chooses a picture card and names it (car). Tape this picture card to the right of the second card.

11. That student retells the story from the beginning, adding his/her “story piece” using his/her name at the end. (“Ms. Fasthoff is flying a kite, next Jerrin found a balloon,-) Teacher adds “THEN” as model. Student repeats “then” and continues the story. (“then Alexus was in the car and asked her Mom to stop so she could play with them.”)

12. Continue in this manner the number of times you think your group can manage. You may want to begin with 10 to 12 cards and, as students become proficient, add more cards which lengthen the story.

13. As students become weary or time is running out, tell the class “This is the last name to be pulled today, and the LAST person is ______. You may need to prompt the last person to use the word last when adding his/her portion.


Assess students formatively by listening for correct sequence in retelling the story and listening for specific details while retelling the story. Positive and corrective feedback should be given by peers and/or the teacher. Listen for accuracy of the feedback offered by peers, formatively assessing student understanding. Make note of those students having difficulty applying the concepts. Further instruction for these students will be necessary.


As a follow-up activity, have students draw the picture they chose from the deck of picture cards and take their dictation (or have them write). Using student input, compile the pictures into a book dictated by the order in which the picture cards were drawn from the deck. Each page would contain the person’s name who drew the card and the object/action depicted. For instance, page two of the example above might read (depending on the developmental level of individual students and whether they dictate or do the writing themselves), “Jerrin, balloon”, to “Jerrin found a balloon.”

Modify for ESOL/ESL and ESE students by limiting the number of cards drawn from the deck shortening the length of the story.

Web Links

Clopart pictures may be used, but remember you will have to enlarge them prior to use.
Free Graphics

This site has over 10,000 free clip art images in over 300 categories, many of which are quite suitable for this activity.
Clip Art

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.