#122 Good Fortune Cookies

Published on November 4, 2007

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=> Quick Fortune Writing Activity
=> Funny Fortune Cookie Contest – and a poem?
=> Three Quotations About Fortunes – gap-fill
=> In the Next Issues


Fortune cookies are those things that you get at Chinese restaurants after your meal, and usually along with your bill. You won’t find them in China though. Fortune cookies were invented in California.

You won’t find them in China though. Fortune cookies were invented in California.

They sometimes will prognosticate. That is, they will predict will happen to you in the future. “You will go on a journey.” “You will find 50 cents on the ground.” “You will fall in love.”

Quick Fortune Writing Activity

Ask students in pairs to write some fortune-cookie-like predictions. Brainstorm a few possibilities on the board first. Don’t be afraid of making these examples more specific than the very general fortunes above.

For instance, “Someone will give you a flower on the street.” “You will fall in love with a puppy.” “You will eat some pretty marvelous Italian food.” “A squirrel will laugh at you.”

Put students in pairs, and ask each pair to write several fortunes on separate pieces of paper. After this, fold up the fortunes, gather them into a hat or box. Then each student will choose two or three fortunes (depending on how many the class has written) at the end of class and take them home.

It’s good to do this activity before a weekend or holiday. That way, when you come back, you can ask students to repeat their fortunes and to see if they came true, or anything remotely similar happened.

Well, actually…

It might be a good time to introduce the phrase, “Well, actually…” As in… “Well, actually, I did SEE a squirrel. He didn’t laugh at me. But he seemed to be in a good mood.” Or “Actually, someone did give me a flower. It wasn’t a stranger though. It was my father. Saturday was my birthday.”

Funny Fortune Cookie Contest — and a Poem?

You might also have a contest to see who can write the wildest, funniest, most impossible fortunes: “You will not talk on your mobile phone today.” “A ballet dancer will make fun of your Adam’s Apple.”

After pairs of students compose these, ask students them to write them on the board. Next, vote for the top six or eight. Put these together and you’ll have a kind of strange poem about the future.

Three Quotations about Fortunes — gap-fill

Below are three quotations on the subject of fortune.

But 12 nouns have been removed. Return them, please, to their proper places…

cases / door / dragon / friend / heart / joys / life / man / others / penny / pleasure / saloon

1. “Fortune knocks at every man’s (1) __________ once in a life but in a good many (2) __________ the (3) __________ is in a neighboring (4) __________ and does not hear her.” –Mark Twain.

2. “One of the sanest, surest, and most generous (5) __________ of (6) __________ comes from being happy over the good fortune of (7) __________.” –Robert A. Heinlein.

3. “To attract good fortune, spend a new (8) __________ on an old (9) __________, share an old (10) __________ with a new friend and lift up the (11) __________ of a true friend by writing his name on the wings of a (12)__________.” Proverb.


(1) door (2) cases (3) man (4) saloon
(5) joys (6) life (7) others (8) penny
(9) friend (10) pleasure (11) heart (12) dragon

In the Next Issues

Tapering Dialogues (by Mario Rino Rinvolucri)
The Paper Game (by Dana Yastremskaya)

copyright 2007 Kevin McCaughey and I.M. Poosheesty

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