I made my kids have totally stilted conversation today. We had a whole class conversation over Morning Meeting about what we did over the long weekend, and whoever was the designated Responder had to ask the Sharer what they did. The Responder was then required to make one response (Wow! That sounds fun! Interesting. Oh. Cool. etc.) and ask one relevant question (What did you do in Albuquerque? Where did you have a cookout? Did you name your new puppy yet?), which the Sharer had to answer.
They were so awkward and giggly. And some conversations were pretty terrible:
“What did you do this weekend?”
“My cousin had a birthday party and we hit a piñata.”
“Oh that sounds like fun!” Looooooooooooooooong pause. “Um. Did you…have fun?”
But others were great, because they shared information with each other, asked questions, and got to talk about things that were exciting WITH EACH OTHER , instead of every conversation revolving around me asking questions to keep the oral language going.
They thought they were being sneaky because they got to giggle and poke a little fun at this crazy thing our teacher’s making us do. But I thought I was being sneaky, because I was tricking them into actually listening to each other. That’s what you call a win-win.