Here’s a speaking activity (with writing, reading, and listening components) to use during the eighth grade Speaking Plus 2 telephone conversation.
Purpose: to get students speaking in class, using the relevant grammar points
Secondary purpose: practice reading, writing, listening and speakiing
Prep: Print out enough worksheets (remember to use the hole punch if they keep them in a folder) and bring “phones” if you want to use props
PDF: May I speak to
PPTX: May I speak to
Execution: After reading the textbook dialogue, practicing vocabulary and working on comprehension and grammar with the JTE, hand out this worksheet to each student.
Have students individually fill in:
1) their name (Hello, this is _________ )
2) an activity they are going to do. Stress that they must put an activity and a place: I’m going to school to play basketball, I’m going to watch a movie at Aeon, I’m going to play games at Yuta’s house, otherwise they will write something not fun or sensible, like “I’m going to sleep, why don’t you come?”
3) an excuse for why they can’t come. “I’m sorry, I can’t. I have to ________________.” One word answers here, like study, are okay, but try to push them to add an object like “study English.” The more complex sentences they can practice with, the better.
Walk around the room to help and check answers. Now place the students in groups of three and have them speak the dialogue as #1, #2 and #3. Have the JTE help you watch each group, maybe giving them a stamp or follow-up worksheet when they finish. For some reason, all the students had a really hard time saying and understanding the phrase “Maybe some other time,” so please drill this phrase before starting the activity.
Have the JTE translate it so they understand, and demonstrate pronunciation so they can repeat. I think the combination of sounds must be very difficult (sum uther) so teach them it’s okay to blend into one (sumuther). I find that even writing these things in that kind of phonetic script helps them disregard the unimportant characters (e) and understand that the “o” in this case is making a “u” sound. Also, the “er” in other is challenging, so remind them of the sound in words they already know, like “her,” “were,” and “sure.”
A final thought: Coupled with the grammar and textbook reading, this activity can take the whole period. If you are using it for review only, plan on 20 to 25 minutes. Ideally, it would be way more fun if they had a couple of fake “phones” to use. If you are brave and want to give them a couple cell phones, maybe have one good group come to the front and perform with the teachers’ phones. Or make some out of cardboard…