A great activity for spontaneous interpersonal communication is a Timed-Think-Talk. Students are given a minute to write down thoughts and words about a topic on a sticky note. I provide them with sentence frames and vocabulary to get them started and then I remove the scaffolding and they talk with a partner for a minute about the topic.
I use the free onlinestopwatch.com or set the transition time on the slideshow to keep things moving along.
Don’t forget to add in the rejoinders to keep the conversation going. I tell students they have to talk for the whole minute, that’s only thirty seconds each, even if they just say random words or count after they exhaust the topic.
I use a structured interaction like Speed Dating, Inside-Outside Circles, or Stand up, Hand up, Pair, Share to match students, and change partners after a couple of topics.
Collect the sticky notes for a Gallery walk. After every two or three questions change partners and have students put their sticky notes on a piece of butcher paper under the appropriate topic. Students can then do a gallery walk to see other student’s opinions and levels of proficiency. Students can summarize class attitudes toward a particular topic.
Make your own Think and Talk slide or check out the ones I created in French called Pensez-Parlez and in Spanish called Pensar y Hablar. It’s about asking more open ended questions so kids have more opportunities to level up!