Conversation classes can be a lot of fun to teach. Students have a great time and can even get loud and quite lively. Conversely, if students feel shy or uncertain, then you may end up with that painful silence wondering how to get the discussion going. In my experience, having lots of visuals and interactive tasks helps to get the conversation flowing. This activity sequence on travel and survival skills has always been successful in my classes.
These slides contain two sections that work well for two separate days of class. The first day focuses on travel vocabulary, modes of transportation, vacations, packing for travel, destinations, etc. The following image shows some sample slides from day 1. As you can see, the slides are very visual and use pictures to help reinforce vocabulary.
The second day focuses on survival skills. Survival vocabulary is presented, and then students work in groups on a survival activity where they create a list of 8 items to keep them alive for a year on a tropical island. They have to work together to discuss which items are most important to take. Some sentence stems are give to help them with this part of the discussion.
This activity is fun and generates a lot of talking. After students finish their lists, the class rates each groups’ list to determine which one will be best for survival. I do this by going through each item in each list and asking the class to rate it on a scale of 1-5. One being most least likely to help you stay alive and 5 being most useful for survival. The list with the highest totaled score is the winner. This part also creates a lot of discussion since students have to voice their opinion about what number each item should be. If there is a disagreement in the class, students will have to give reasons to support their idea. Below are a few slides from this section.
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