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ESL forum > Games, activities and teaching ideas > SCAREDY CAT - A PICTURE STORY    



Scaredy Cat is a project by Heather Franzen. She writes:
"Scaredy Cat is my first picture book, part of a series of short stories that I call Stories Without Words. Readers are given the freedom to create their own narratives and interpretations."

It sure lends itself to a bunch of activities, including creative writing and roleplaying (see ideas here), but it inspired me to think of ideas to use it as a storytelling activity. Scaredy Cat is the longest picture story I �ve ever found on the internet, which is great because you can add a twist to your typical story telling activity by putting your students in groups and giving everyone a part of the story. Here �s how I would do it:
  1. First, each group could guess from their short sequence what the whole story could be about.
  2. Then, each group can send one or more "envoys" to other groups to gather more information about the rest of the story in order to work out the whole story. The envoys go back to their respective groups and tell them what they saw.
  3. Finally, each group writes down their version, the teacher reads them and in the next class, announces whose story was the most complete.
Alternatively, you can give every student a short sequence (two, three or four pictures - there �s 47 pictures in total). Then let the students mingle in the classroom and look at each other �s pictures. Once they are starting to get the gist of the story, they can start lining up next to each other so that the first student in the line has the opening pictures, and the last one has the last pictures of the story. Once lined up, starting with the first student everyone tells their part of the story based on their pictures, so the story will be retold in a whole class effort.

What would you use the pictures for?

Find the pictures on Heather �s website.

Bless up,


21 Sep 2013      

United Kingdom

Peter, this brilliant resource is a godsend! I have to give some whole school training on group work and here it is on a plate for me.

My main EAL class is very mixed, ranging from beginner to fairly advanced and I usually split them into three groups. I would ask the beginners to write down nouns - cat/bat/owl/moon/witch/night/ day..... etc. For one boy, I will make flashcards with the key words, so he can match them to the pictures. The intermediate group can write a sentence or a phrase for each picture in the present continuous, saying what is happening. The top group can set off writing up the story in the past tense. I will ask them to use time connectives - at first, after that, suddenly, slowly etc... and to include some speech. 

After this, as a whole group, we will prepare for a Hotseat activity. They can prepare questions individually, at their level,  and then we will choose a student to be the kitten, or the black cat etc and answer the questions. 

It �s a great heartwarming story and apposite, with Hallowe �en coming up. 
Thanks again,


22 Sep 2013     


It �s just beautiful and really useful!!! Thanks a lot !!

22 Sep 2013