Activity
Community building activities, Ongoing engagement

Personalised Conversation Cards

Scott Bowyer

Scott Bowyer

This activity can be used in any course for getting students to talk to each other. It can also be adopted for foreign language courses to support practicing speaking and listening skills.

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ACTIVITY PURPOSE

This activity is great for building community and discussing course content in a structured way.

USEFUL FOR

It can be used in any course for strengthening the bonds between students and reflecting on and discussing course content. It can also be used in foreign language courses for developing speaking and listening skills, as well as interacting appropriately in the target language. 

PREPARATION

All courses: Decide on a suitable prompt for your class. Consider how you would like to wrap up the discussion activity. For example, you could ask your students to summarise their conversation in one sentence on the back of the card.

Foreign language courses: Create an example conversation card. (See the example card below from an English language class).   

INSTRUCTIONS

  •  Provide your students guidance and a prompt.  
  • Give students time to reflect and write down their ideas in note form on the conversation card (index card or piece of paper).
  • Send students to breakout rooms in pairs. Give them five minutes to discuss their ideas with a partner.
  • Send students to a second breakout room with a new partner for five minutes.
  • Repeat one more time so that each student has a third partner.
  • Wrap up in a way that is appropriate for the course you are teaching. For example, by using the back of the card for a reflection task and asking your students to write down common points and differences discussed with a partner on the back of the card. Another idea is to ask students to write down how their thinking/understanding of a topic has evolved after discussing the prompt with several partners. In a foreign language class, students might reflect on what they did well during the conversation, what their partners did well, and what they want to do better the next time. Another way to wrap up might be to debrief as a full class using the video conference chat.

DURATION

25+ minutes

ADAPTATIONS AND EXAMPLES

In a face-to-face setting, bring blank note cards to class and pass them out to your students. Have them stand up and choose partners they might not normally work with. Encourage them to continue standing during their discussions. Note: Getting students to move is a brain-friendly way of doing this activity. Give pairs the freedom to get off topic after they have discussed the prompt. For example, as part of your instructions, you can say, “Done early? Chill and chat.” 
 
Foreign language classes: Ask students to record their conversations and upload them to the learning management system so that you can monitor their work and/or give them language feedback later. Students can also use their recordings to listen to themselves and complete a self-assessment task. 

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

Online synchronous session: breakout rooms.
Face-to-face: none.

USEFUL RESOURCES

Click here to view a sample lesson plan (English As A Foreign Language class) and sample conversation cards from teacher and students.

ABOUT

  • Educator prep: None
  • Student prep: None
  • Synchronous
  • Breakout rooms, Paper / pens
  • Duration: 5-30 mins

This activity is one of a series of activities from Equity Unbound, focused on equitable online community building. 

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