This month I have prepared a short story that can be used with B2 level students.  It has a pre, while and post activity.  I hope you find it useful for your English classes.

PRE-ACTIVITY:  In pairs, ask the students to look at the picture below and describe to each other what the mannequins are wearing.  Tell the students they are going to read a story about these two mannequins.  Ask them what the story might be about.

                                                                       Illustration by Julia Godwin Coury


Ask the students to read the story individually and then do the matching exercise.  Go through the answers when everyone has finished.

THE SHOP WINDOW Two silent mannequins stood side by side showing off the latest fashion in a shop window. On the right, the model´s outfit consisted of a grey sleeveless cropped top and a knee-length flowery skirt. On the left, the mannequin wore a pink dress with a black ribbon around her waist. They had no expressions on their faces. It was 6pm when the staff locked up the shop. Suddenly, in the darkness of the winter night, the two mannequins came to life.  Eyes lit up on their faces, they moved their heads slightly from left to right and they began talking non-stop about their day through puckered lips that had mysteriously appeared.  It was as if a huge amount of words had been trapped inside them all day and they just had to release them.  ‘Did you see that well-dressed woman who came in this afternoon?’ the mannequin on the left remarked. ‘Yes, she spent so much money.  She must have bought at least 20 things!’ ‘If only my life were…’  The mannequin didn´t have time to finish her sentence as a loud noise made them jump out of their skin.  It sounded like glass shattering and a car screeching its brakes.   The two models heard men´s voices behind them. ‘Get the leather coats, mate.  They always sell well on the black market,’ one guy said.  ‘Come on, hurry up!  The cops will be here soon,’ another one commented. The dirty deed was over in 8 minutes.  The criminals left just as quick as they had arrived. The mannequins were in shock.  ‘My hands are shaking,’ one said in a trembling voice. ‘What shall we do?’ the other one said more pragmatically. The police were soon at the crime scene and alerted the shop owner promptly. ‘May we see your CCTV footage to uncover any clues?’, a police officer asked. ‘No need to! My mannequins saw everything.  Let´s ask them what happened!’ replied the owner.


Match the words from the story to the correct pictures.

A) A cropped top 1          
B)  A ribbon 2        
C)  Puckered lips 3        
D)  Glass shattering 4           
E)  Cops 5          
F)  Hands are shaking 6         

Answers:  A) 5; B) 1; C) 4; D) 6; E) 3; F) 2

POST ACTIVITY:  Ask the students how the story ends, i.e. when the shop owner says to the police officer ‘ask the mannequins what happened’.  Write a possible dialogue between the police officer and the two mannequins.  What do you they all said?

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