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


  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 2-3 minutes and allows students to speak to one another uninterrupted until the timer goes off. The teacher instructs students that if they finish their conversation before the timer goes off, they should start their conversation over again.

  5. The teacher can choose to either change topics, have students change partners, change both the topic and student pairs, or end the activity after only one round of conversation.


  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