The CONVERSATION Study-Book

Available by order from Amazon, ¥2,500 (including tax), click here (delivery 2/3 days).

For elementary/pre-intermediate English language students, suitable for teenagers and adults.

For free sample unit (with answer) click below.

Sample of Unit 3     Answer key

Overview

Starting from basic greetings, each unit steadily progresses students’ conversational ability.

There are 14 units (12 regular and 2 review). One unit takes roughly about 75 to 100 minutes of class-time. Even though there is a great variety of communicative activities and tasks, each unit shares a similar pattern. Click below to find the answer key, photos, and links for each unit.

  1. Hi
  2. Do
  3. Like
  4. When
  5. It
  6. Did
  7. Review 1
  8. Now
  9. Soon
  10. Been
  11. Can
  12. Uh-huh
  13. Going to
  14. Review 2

On every page is a communicative activity, exercise, puzzle or quiz, so students are continually engaging and interacting with new language.

New language is introduced systematically, and is blended with recycled language and vocabulary, so it is recommended the units be taught in order.

This is a stand-alone study-book, combining both textbook and resource book. There is no teacher’s manual (a concise teacher’s guide is provided below), no supplementary workbook, no media, and no need for photocopying. Just walk into class, and start teaching.

Very little rubric is provided; most activities are self-explanatory, and students can quickly figure out what to do. This also helps keep activities flexible and versatile, enabling the teacher to add, subtract, adapt and expand, to suit the particular needs of each class. And it also results in much less clutter on each page, so students can concentrate on the activity in hand without having to wade through any extraneous prose. The teacher is in control of the textbook, not vice-versa.

 

Warm-up – A puzzle/exercise which gently draws students into the unit.

Conversation – A sample dialogue, with several alternatives, where students can practice and substitute their own information.

Exercise – A short written exercise, blending new and recycled language.

Information Gap – For pairs (Duo) or threesomes (Trio).

Puzzle/Quiz – A light-hearted task. (In some units this is replaced with a short writing activity)

Speaking Activity – A major whole-class speaking activity.

 

Answer Key, Photos and Links

Answer Key – Click the appropriate unit below to see the answer key for all activities (then hover and click to further isolate each set of answers).

Photos – In addition are a number of photos which can be used to further illustrate some of the locations and events referred to. Hover and click over a photo to get a larger version, which can easily be projected to a classroom screen, enabling students to gain a deeper insight, and perhaps prompting a little more classroom discussion.

Links – Lastly are some links to other websites which afford much greater detail of each celebration, both for students and teacher. Many links are for wikipedia pages and, whilst some wiki information needs to be treated with caution, it is a rich source of accessible data. Plus wikipedia has links to multiple languages which may well be of use to students. There are also some links to live webcams from around the world. These can add a ‘real-time flavor’ to the classroom.

  1. Hi
  2. Do
  3. Like
  4. When
  5. It
  6. Did
  7. Review 1
  8. Now
  9. Soon
  10. Been
  11. Can
  12. Uh-huh
  13. Going to
  14. Review 2

 

Teacher Guide

Warm-up – an exercise/puzzle which gently introduces the unit’s theme.

Having spent a few seconds considering the title to the unit, students need little instruction on how to complete the Warm-up activity. I find “Warm-up. (Just) do it!” is generally enough. Feedback can be carried out in a conventional manner, nominating random students, or by raised hands. But it can also be conducted by projecting the answer key to a classroom screen from this website. This can save quite a bit of time, as students focus on their individual answers, and frees up the teacher to monitor and offer targeted assistance and explanation.

Conversation – A sample dialogue, with several alternatives, where students can practice and substitute their own information.

The teacher can model the dialogue, and drill the students to help with pronunciation, intonation and rhythm. Students can then practice the dialogue in pairs, initially following the given dialogue, and subsequently substituting their own information where appropriate. If the students feel comfortable enough they may wish to challenge themselves by attempting the dialogue with one, or both, books closed.

Exercise – A short written exercise, blending new and recycled language.

This change in classroom tempo and mood affords students a tranquil period to ponder and reflect. At first students often seem reluctant to confer with each other, but I try to encourage collaboration; this is a practice activity, not a test. As with the Warm-up, feedback can be carried out in a conventional manner, nominating random students, or by raised hands, but it can also be conducted by projecting the answer key to a classroom screen from this website.

Variation – A short additional dialogue dovetailing with the preceding Conversation section.

This dialogue should also be modeled and drilled, and it affords a timely opportunity to re-practice the initial Conversation. Again, if students feel comfortable they can be encouraged to conduct the dialogue with books closed. Of course they cannot be expected to memorize the dialogue verbatim, an approximation in their own words is quite sufficient.

Duo/Trio Information Gap activity – This is a major activity of the unit, which provides additional speaking practice, while again blending new and recycled language.

My modus operandi is to have all the A students sitting together, and all the B students also sitting together, with a physical gap between each group (for a trio activity there will be 3 groups). If the groups are too large then they are sub-divided. The required questions are firstly prepared (these are very similar to questions from the preceding Exercise), in preparation for the spoken information gap activity.

Now it is time for each A student to pair up (randomly) with a B student (plus C for a trio, and D for a quartet), and to attempt the information gap activity to completion. After the first few units the students cotton on to the procedure, and group organization is easily managed.

One point: a standard information gap activity is for a pair of students, a duo. But a third student drastically alters the dynamic. With pairs A knows B has the all the answers, and B knows it too. However when the information is spread between three students, a trio, A doesn’t know whether B or C has the answer, and neither does B nor C. This element of doubt really spices up the activity.

Grammar – A short section focusing on the grammar point of the unit.

Following the efforts of the information gap, a quieter and slower tempo is set with this brief, written activity. It is also a time, at the teacher’s discretion, for some guided explanation of the grammar point of the unit.

Puzzle/Quiz – A light-hearted activity which has an oblique, and even quirky, association to the unit content.

This changes the mood of the class, and injects a little pace and humor. Again the rubric is short and simple (or non-existent), the students know what to do. I almost always have students in small groups for this activity (often the same group as the preceding information gap). Sometimes smartphones need to be prohibited. Then it’s a race between the groups.

Writing activity – Sometimes the puzzle is replaced with a short writing activity, which is needed for the subsequent speaking activity.

Speaking Activity – All units culminate in a major whole-class free-speaking activity.

This may be in the form of a whole-class mingle, though every two units there is a timed conversation: a Conversation Challenge, in which students attempt to keep their conversation alive for a certain period of time. The stimulation and reward from this challenge is an extremely effective motivator.

After the activity a record is kept by each student, charting their progress, with a small section for them to keep any memo, arising from the speaking activity, or indeed from any part of the entire unit. 

 

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