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Editorial NRInglês

★One, two, three words

FOCUS Speaking and Listening; Fluency and spontaneity; Keeping a conversation going

LEVEL Elementary-Advanced

TIME 10 – 15 minutes

Materials and preparation: None, and there is no handout either.

In class

  1. Tell your students that they will be conversing in pairs, A and B, that A will begin a conversation
    by saying one word, B will reply by saying two words, A will respond by saying three words, B will
    reply by saying four words, and so on.
  2. On the board, write A: ‘Hello’, and ask students to tell you two words that someone could say
    in reply. Accept any reasonable suggestions such as, Hello, Marie; Sorry, what?; Lovely day!, and
    write them on the board too.
  3. Then write A: ‘…..’ on the board and elicit a response with three words. Again, accept any
    reasonable suggestions such as, How are you?; Want a coffee?; Yes, beautiful day.
  4. If your students are a little slow thinking up ideas, let them plan their upcoming conversation
    on paper in pairs. If they are usually spontaneous, let them start straightaway. The only rule is
    that they cannot start with the word Hello, because you’ve already started a dialogue that way.
    Encourage them to try to build towards a ten word response from B.


The activity can be made easier for lower level classes by asking them to go up to three (or four words) and then go back and start the sequence over again (with one word), and so on.


Setting an arbitrary constraint such as the number of words or the letter with which utterances must start or restricting the topic and the time, usually distracts students from worrying what to talk about and how to express their thoughts.


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