Talk Your Head Off... and Write, Too!

Brana Rish West

Talk Your Head Off... and Write, Too!

By Brana Rish West
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Brana Rish West
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No repetitive drills and rote exercises here, just targeted questions on high-interest topics such as love, prejudice, stress, superstitions, and family that are used as conversational tools. The process is simply, yet effective, and the classroom content is always original and relevant because students use their own life experiences to answer the questions.

  • Student surveys and small group participation enable all students to feel comfortable conversing with each other - encouraging them to express their views verbally and in writing.
  • Lessons progress in complexity of topic, vocabulary (pertinent to each theme), and grammatical focus.
Table of contents


Introduce yourself

Ask questions to become acquainted with people

Fill out an ID card


Favorite Things

            Ask and answer questions about

            favorite things, likes and dislikes


Diet and Exercise

            Discuss foods and food groups

            Create an exercise routine

            Ask and answer questions about eating habits and exercise

            Plan a menu


Transportation Systems

            Talk about types of transportation

            Discuss different countries’ transportation

            Invent a mod of transportation



            Discuss kinds of animals people have as pets

            Ask and answer questions on pet ownership

Compare different cultures’ ideas about pets


Job Interviews

Ask and answer questions about jobs and interviews

Practice interviewing skills

Fill out a job application


The Best of Everything

Describe people

Express preferences

Write and share important life experiences



Identify family members

Describe and discuss you relationships with them


Gender Roles

Read an essay

Discuss gender roles

Write an opinion essay



Ask and answer questions about holidays

Discuss cultural differences and celebrations

Discuss holidays celebrated in the United States



Discuss beliefs about superstitions

Talk about cultural influence

Write a story



Ask and answer questions about sleeping habits

Write about a dream or nightmare



Ask and answer questions about thieves and stealing

Write and discuss personal victimization



Listen to gossip about students

Discuss and write about gossip you have heard


Ghosts and the supernatural

Discuss beliefs about supernatural phenomena

Write an opinion essay



Discuss feelings and situations about love

Talk about courting differences

Write a love letter



Express ideas on stress and ways of coping with it

Do a crossword puzzle

Listen to student’s stressful situations


Moving Children Out

Discuss situations about adult children living at home

Talk about cultural differences on adult children moving out

Write a personal essay


Growing Old

Listen to a description

Discuss aging using personal and cultural ideas

Write an imaginative story


Pollution and Recycling

Talk about environmental issues

Propose some solutions to problems

Create an environmental group


The Homeless and Welfare

Discuss homelessness

Give opinions on welfare

Write an opinion letter



Talk about disasters and their preventions



Express ideas on smoking

Talk about the right’s of smokers and non-smokers

Write about hazards of smoking



Discuss views on gambling

Talk about effects on society

Talk about personal gambles

Write a personal essay


War and the Military

Discuss military issues, conflicts, and war

Write about a historical war or conflict


Money Management

Read a phone bill

Discuss it

Talk about managing and investing money

Create a personal budget



Read a poem

Give opinions on cheating

Write an explanatory letter


Government Spending

Create a mock city budget

Discuss government spending on programs

Write an opinion essay

Prejudice and discrimination

Talk about prejudice and discrimination

Discuss personal experiences



Discuss views on divorce

Write a personal essay


Calling In Sick

Discuss reasons people are absent from work

Give an opinion on paid sick days

Write a view on sick pay


Justice Systems

Talk about court cases and justice

Give opinions on punishments

Write a personal essay


Drugs and Medicine

Discuss drugs and medicine

Write about a personal experience


What Would You Do If…

Discuss views on hypothetical situations


Employment Issues

Talk about what you might have done in various employment situations

Write about an employment situation


Excuses and Lies

Discuss differences between excuses and lies

Write a personal essay


Forms of Government

Express ideas on different types of government and country leaders

Invent a new form of government



Discuss ethics in professionalism

Talk about stereotypes in professions

Write a personal story



Talk about different kinds of success

Network with students

Write a success story


Let’s Talk… and Say Goodbye!

Discuss experiences in the class

Plan a party

Say goodbye



Verb chart


Answer key