Talk or Listen


Talk or Listen explores the rules that dictate how to have an effective conversation with someone else. Students will learn how to listen better and be respectful of the person or people they are talking with.

You will find several additional ideas and activities to incorporate into the lesson in the “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page. One idea is to start off the lesson with a game of Simon Says. Students learn to listen quietly and follow instructions. Or you can play the quiet game. The last student or team to make noise wins the game!

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What our Talk or Listen lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Talk or Listen teaches students about how to have a respectful conversation with people. Students will listen to each other, speak individually, and learn not to interrupt others. They will respond to comments by others in multiple exchanges. In addition, they will ask questions to clear up misunderstandings and confusion. This lesson is for students in 1st grade and 2nd grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand.

Options for Lesson

In the “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page, you will see some suggestions for additional activities or ideas to add to the lesson if you want to. For younger students, understanding the skill of listening in conversation can be challenging. However, with practice, students can make rules of conversation a habit and will learn to converse politely. One option for this lesson is to begin by playing Simon Says. Students learn to listen quietly and follow instructions. Or play the quiet game. The last child or team to make noise wins the game!

Teacher Notes

The paragraph on this page gives you a little more information on the lesson overall and describes what you may want to focus your teaching on. It explains that the lesson is presented in a story format, which will engage students in a fun way. The blank lines are available for you to write out any thoughts or ideas you have as you prepare.


The Talk or Listen lesson plan has two content pages. The bulk of the content is a story about a girl named Sara who likes to talk too much. Throughout the story, students will learn that talking can be a problem if they do it too much. There are rules when it comes to having a conversation with someone. People should aim to listen more often than they talk. And everyone should have a chance to say something. Dominating a conversation is not a friendly thing to do.

In the middle of the story, students will read an inset that asks them if they’ve ever been in a similar situation. Is there someone they know who talks as often as Sara? Have they ever gotten in trouble for talking at the wrong time? And finally, it asks students to analyze what the teacher meant when she said that people have two ears and one mouth for a reason.


The Talk or Listen lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will help students solidify their grasp of the material they learned throughout the lesson. You can refer to the classroom procedure guidelines to know when to hand out each worksheet.


Students will work with a partner for the activity. They will conduct an experiment in which they read a paragraph at the same time as their partner. This simulates what it feels like when someone talks over another person. Then, students will answer a few questions. At the end, they will switch paragraphs and read the passage like they are having a conversation with their partner. They must follow the rules of conversation that they learned in the content.


The practice worksheet consists of two pages, so students will choose which page to use. They will work with a partner again to complete the assignment. Using the paragraphs from the activity, students will write challenge or clarifying questions for each piece of evidence as to why red or blue is the best color. The worksheet provides an example question for the first line of the paragraph.


For the homework assignment, students will find someone to talk with. Together, they will choose a topic to discuss and practice the rules of talking. The conversation should last at least five minutes but can go on for longer. When they finish the discussion, students will rate how well they followed each rule by circling a number in the right column. Then the person they talked with will rate them using a different color.

Worksheet Answer Keys

There is an answer key for the practice worksheet at the end of the lesson plan document. Given the nature of the assignment, however, the answers are sample responses. Students’ responses will vary. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits this page. Otherwise, you can show students this page to give them an idea of how to write a clarifying or challenge question.

Additional information


1st Grade, 2nd Grade


Language Arts

State Educational Standards


Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.