ESL Cooperative Blog

Conversation Starters—Dale Fisher

Conversation Starters—Dale Fisher

About this time of year, we often feel that we could use some new ideas for our conversation classes. Here are four of them. The first, is a great idea I learned from my teaching partner, Cindy Hubert.

Adjective + Occupation Activity
Cindy handed out a set of cards with occupation titles such as:
policeman,
photographer,
rock star,
doctor,
or store owner.

Then she had a list of characteristics or adjectives, for example:
curious,
late,
nervous,
shy,
or creative.

If you have a larger class, make up more sets.
Then each learner told a story about himself utilizing the adjective:
e.g. how the photographer manages to run a photography business even though she is shy, or why the policeman became so nervous.
Then, in pairs, they solve a problem they have or a conflict that happened between the two. One of the pair could use his or her characteristic to help his or her partner.
For example, the late photographer might have angered the creative rock star, and they had to come to a solution.
Or, the shy doctor, has a problem finding a date so the curious store owner gives him or her some tips

Medical Problem Activity

This is cold and flu season and learners need a lot of information. I found good information online, but it was too dense for the learners to absorb. So I made up some true/ false question strips with important information such as:
“If a child has a fever, give them a cool bath or an alcohol rub.” (false)
“If a child has a cold, give them chicken soup” (true)
I made it into a team contest. At the end, I gave the learners the list of questions with the correct answers. (email me at dndfisher@telus.net if you want the list).
I also ran off a chart with the essential information about influenza and colds: www.health.alberta.ca/health-info/influenza-compare-symptoms.html

Feature Your Skills Activity

At the beginning of the year, I began a class by telling the learners about sailing. I had a picture of our sailboat, and explained how we sailed it, and my tasks as first mate. After that, we started each class with a learner explaining something he or she could do. We have had a great range of skills, from knitting to making Korean buns. When the learners had something concrete to show or demonstrate, they were not at all nervous. The food ones are especially enjoyable when they bring the class a sample! Hey, we ESL teachers are in it for the food!

Where Have You Been Activity

At the start of the second term, I told the class about what to see in Ontario, my former province. Fortunately, I had lots of pictures. Now, each learner will tell about what there is to see in their city or country. Last week, we learned what to see in Seoul.

If anyone has some other conversation ideas, send them along for us to share! dndfisher@telus.net

Posted in: Dale Fisher, ESL Classroom, ESL Tips

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