Storytelling + XXI century skills: a lesson plan

Activities based on the story "An Extraordinary Egg", by Leo Lionni

CEFR level: A1 – A2

Language aims:

  • Describing animals

  • Prepositions of place

  • CLIL with science

Activate students

To raise curiosity, bring in a "story box" containing pictures or objects relating to vocabulary in the story. Elicit and discuss vocabulary with students.

Tell the story

Telling the story is always better than reading. You can interact with students and make them an active part of the storytelling activity. Add elements they can touch and feel, to make the story more real.

After the story: work on lower order thinking skills (LOTS)

Check that students remember parts of the story by asking questions on who? where? when?.

Check that students understand the story by asking questions on why things are happening in the story.

After the story: work on higher order thinking skills (HOTS)

Create activities in which students have to apply the information from the story to a new context. For example, discuss what students would do if they lived by a pond? Would it matter if their new friend were a chicken or an alligator?

Ask students to analyse characters. For example, they can create a sequence of characters that appear in the story, in chronological order. Or you can use a Venn diagram to classify characters by families (reptiles, birds, etc.) and reflect on what they have in common/what's different.

Additional activities can include higher skills such as, for example, evaluate the story: students discuss which part of the story they liked/disliked most. If you teach younger students, you can ask them to draw the best moment of the story and then label their pictures.

Finally, students can create a variation of the story by imagining a different ending, or changing one or more characters in the story. Depending on the age of the students, they can even produce a final artefact in the shape of a comic book, illustrating the "new" story.


You don't necessarily have to work all the skills during the same lesson. Choose the ones that you think are more relevant but do not stop at LOTS only.


I recently had the opportunity to tell this story during a live Facebook event, organized by Trinity College London Italy. If you missed the event, you can listen to the story here.


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