Keep the Conversation Going

The purpose of this activity is to allow students to say everything they know how to say about a topic. This activity allows students to practice conversational skills by providing strategies to make themselves understood and strategies for maintaining the conversation, including asking for clarification and asking follow-up questions. Students are encouraged to avoid long pauses and to keep talking until they have said everything they know how to say.

Download a Strategy Guide for this Activity

Instructions

  1. The teacher models the activity in front of the class. The teacher can pretend to be two different students, by saying one thing and then turning and responding to the first statement as if they are a different person. 

  2. The teacher divides the students into pairs, allowing for groups of three if necessary.

  3. The teacher gives students a topic of conversation or shows an image that serves as a topic of conversation.

  4. The teacher sets a timer for an appropriate amount of time and allows students to speak to one another uninterrupted until the timer goes off. The teacher tells students that if they finish their conversation before the timer goes off, they should start their conversation over again even if they are repeating what they said previously. 

  5. The teacher should use the same prompt and repeat the process having students work with a new partners. The goal is to reach the point where most students are comfortably able to speak for the specified amount of time without starting over. This would not necessarily happen in the same class period. 

Adaptation for Online/Distance Learning

  1. This is a synchronous activity.

  2. The teacher models the activity for the class. The teacher can pretend to be two different students, by saying one thing and then turning and responding to the first statement as if they are a different person. 

  3. The teacher gives students a topic of conversation or shows an image that serves as a topic of conversation. The teacher may want to ask the students to take a picture with a cell phone or a screenshot with a tablet or computer of the image in order to be able to reference it in breakout rooms. 

  4. The teacher tells students that if they finish their conversation before time in the breakout room ends they should start their conversation over again even if they are saying the same things.

  5. The teacher divides the students into pairs, allowing for groups of three if necessary, and sends each group into a breakout room.

  6. The teacher sets a breakout room timer for an appropriate amount of time and allows students to speak to one another uninterrupted until the timer goes off and the students are automatically recalled into the main classroom. The teacher may ask individual students to share some of what they said when paired. 

  7. The teacher should use the same prompt and repeat the process having students work with a new partners. The goal is to reach the point where most students are comfortably able to speak for the specified amount of time without starting over. This would not necessarily happen in the same class period. 

Differentiation

  1. Depending on the proficiency levels of the students in a class,  the teacher may group students intentionally in two different ways: 

    • group higher proficiency students together to challenge one another
    • establish mixed proficiency groups that are able to support and learn from one another
  2. For lower-level students, the teacher may provide sentence frames that support starting, maintaining, and ending conversations (see image for examples).

Sample Materials

Click a thumbnail to see a larger version.


Sample Sentence Frames

Videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDOd3CPL2Qc