Creating a Chain Story

Students can collaborate to create a story asynchronously by passing the story back and forth across several sessions. Each student begins a story, and then sends it to the partner for continuation. This back-and-forth story swap can occur once or as many times as assigned.
Stories can be co-authored that feature particular aspects of culture (fairy tales, fables, ghost stories, etc.) or that feature particular aspects of language (vocabulary, genre transformations, etc.).

A useful platform for this activity is the website &quot Storybird&quot at The teacher can set up accounts for students, or they can create their own accounts. Students use the vast database of artwork to illustrate their stories, and they can easily invite partners to contribute to the story from within the platform.
Another possible technology that could be used include Google Docs slideshow presentations that support static image and text.

Institution reporting the task:

University of Padova

Language of task instructions:


Target Group:

Foreign languages



References and acknowledgements:

Southern Methodist University


Collaborative tasks

Estimated Duration:

3 sessions




task design
teacher training
collaborative reading and storytelling



Language Configurations:


Language(s) that the task can be used in:


Dominant language production:

Writing/reading asynchronous

Target Competences:

Intercultural skills

Specific pedagogical objectives:

Development of students interest in cultural similarities and differences

Suggested Communication Tools:

Collaborative tools

Suggested Resources:


Storybird is a collaborative story-writing website. You can find a short tutorial on how to use Storybird at this link:

Once you see how Storybird works, create a user account (it&#39 s free) and choose your artwork theme to get started. After you&#39 ve begun your story and started to build a story line (perhaps 5 or 6 slides), invite your partner to be a co-author with you.
You can choose from the following ideas to get started:

  • ​Retell a popular fairy tale from your culture using Storybird
  • Choose a learning objective (such as vocabulary) and use Storybird in a way that would help improve learners’ vocabulary
  • Choose a theme to write about (themes can be related to hobbies, culture, holidays, teaching, etc.)
  • Use Storybird to help give people insight to your school culture (a day in the life of a teacher story, etc.)

Meanwhile, your partner will be starting on a story on her or his end, so be on the lookout for a invitation to finish or continue that story, too!

Learner Texts:


Document related to the task:


Criteria for Completion:

Students must begin a story, share it, receive a story, and complete it.

Students must invite their collaborator to discuss the stories they created in a separate forum (blog, email, Moodle, etc.)

Students must submit a 1-page reflection to their instructor that summarizes a) what they learned about their partner s culture and b) how they might use Storybird for other language and culture activities.

Comments and suggestions:



Paige Ware