Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

My Turn, Your Turn

Speaking and Listening

Teresa Lansford, Patricia Turner, Laura Halstied | Published: January 13th, 2022 by Oklahoma Young Scholars/Javits

  • Grade Level Grade Level Preschool
  • Subject Subject
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 60 minutes
  • Duration More 2 periods


Learning how to listen and participate in conversations is an important skill for all learners. In this lesson, students will learn how to take turns speaking and how to listen to their friends to improve their social skills and enhance learning.

Essential Question(s)

How do I know when it is my turn to speak? How can I listen and make sure others know I am listening? How does listening make me a better friend?



Students listen to I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems and look for evidence of good listening and friendship skills.


Students examine images of good listening and discuss what it looks like and feels like to be a good listener.


The class tests different strategies for taking turns speaking and listening and evaluate which strategy works best for the class.


The class creates an Anchor Chart with their expectations for speaking and listening.


The class practices their new expectations and then evaluates if their plan is working.


  • I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems (linked)

  • Teacher computer and projector

  • Lesson Slides - My Turn Your Turn (attached)

  • Chart Paper or other large paper for Anchor Chart


15 Minute(s)

Use slides 1-4 to introduce the lesson as needed. Move to slide 5. Read the Elephant and Piggie book I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems.

Ask students, "What makes Elephant and Piggie such good friends? How can you tell that Elephant and Piggie listen to each other?" Revisit the pictures and point out how Piggie looks when she is listening. Ask if they can sit like Piggie to show they are listening. What does Piggie say that shows she is listening?

Ask them to think about a time in the story when Piggie didn’t do her best listening. What happened? How would that make you feel if your friend did that to you?


10 Minute(s)

Show slides 6-8 with images of children paying attention to one another. Ask after showing each picture, ask, "How can you tell when someone is listening?" After students have looked at all of the pictures, ask what they noticed that was the same about all of them.

Ask students: "How do you know when someone is listening to you? How can we make sure we are listening to one another?"


20 Minute(s)

Share with students that good listeners often have a plan for knowing when to talk and when to listen. Tell them that the class will work on making some plans together.

Display slide 9. Introduce a "Talking Toy." This can be any item you choose from your classroom. Let them know that when someone is holding the talking toy, they are the only person who can talk. Remind students to pass the toy to take turns talking.

Start with a simple question like "What is your favorite animal?" Encourage students to practice passing and speaking. Remind students that they may speak only when they have the toy. Encourage students to raise their hands to comment or ask questions. When students raise their hands, make sure the toy is passed across to the speaker before they have a turn.

Ask students how they could tell their friends were listening to them.

Display slide 10. Introduce the "I Hear You" technique. Call on someone to share. After they have shared, ask for a volunteer to tell everyone what they heard their friend say. Ask students to explain how being able to repeat what their friends say shows they are good listeners.

Show slide 11. The POMS strategy stands for "Point of Most Significance," but students do not need to understand this vocabulary to engage in this activity. Instead, you can tie it to pom-poms and cheering for their friends. To practice this strategy, call on someone to share something they like to do. Afterward, call on someone to share what they found to be the most important thing their friend said.

Ask the whole class, "How does being able to say the most important thing we hear help us to learn?"


10 Minute(s)

Display slide 12. Review the strategies for speaking and listening that students have tried. Remind students that they have tried a lot of new ideas. Ask them to share which new listening and speaking habits will work best to help them learn. Record all of the student’s feedback and then vote as a class for what would be the best way to take turns speaking and listening in class.

Make an Anchor Chart of what the class decides is the best rules for them to follow when speaking and listening. The Anchor Chart can be referred to when anyone forgets the plan the class made for taking turns.


5 Minute(s)

Continue to practice the rules the class decided on for speaking and listening. Refer to the class Anchor Chart as needed for reminders. After a few days of practicing, review what they have worked on and ask if they are happy with their listening plan or need a change. Make changes to the Anchor Chart as needed.