Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

What Great Speakers and Listeners Actually Do

Speaking and Listening

K20 Center, Jessica Morrison | Published: November 18th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 2nd
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 4-5 class period(s)
  • Duration More 300 minutes


The students will engage in a lesson that explores speaking and listening in a variety of circumstances. Students will discover how successful speaking and listening can influence our discussions with other individuals and how it can affect the success and clarity in which we share information and ideas with each other. Students will learn about communication in a range of ways, from playing a game of telephone to considering real-world school problems. This lesson is infused with activities involving hands-on experiences, peer discussions, exploration, and opportunities to apply learning to real-world situations.

Essential Question(s)

Why is effective communication through the use of speaking and actively listening important?



Students engage in a game of "Telephone" to highlight the need for effective communication and the frustrations of ineffective communication.


Students explore various types of communication to discover the traits that make an effective/ineffective listeners and speakers.


Students identify positive and negative speaking/listening traits while small groups apply effective speaking/listening skills during role play discussions.


Students identify a problem within the school that could be solved through effective communication. They use a template to devise a plan to rectify the problem.


Students use exit tickets as a reflection and/or assessment tool.


  • Chart or poster paper

  • Walkie Talkies (This item can also be eliminated if not available.)

  • Cup/string phones

  • Student devices with internet access

  • Art supplies/paper

  • 3-2-1 Exit Ticket handout (attached)

  • Communication Tools Instructions handout (attached)

  • Easy Scripts handout (attached)

  • Exit Ticket handout (attached)

  • Presentation Sample Scripts handout (attached)

  • School Problem Identification Template handout (attached)

  • Statement Ideas handout (attached)


Begin by teaching students about the game of "telephone". The goal of the game is to communicate a set of instructions through multiple people, in this case the students in the classroom, so that the last person is able to repeat or perform the instructions just as they were given originally. Let the student know that if they pass along the instructions accurately, they will be rewarded.

Organize students so that they can whisper to each other. Model the activity by hiding your mouth and whispering a set of instructions to the first student. Then have that student whisper the instructions to the next student and so forth until the last student has received the information. Be sure to write the instructions down beforehand to show that they were delivered accurately to the first student after the task is completed.

After the message has been passed through every child, the last student completes the task and reveals the interpreted message to the class.

Ask various students in the chain what they heard when the information was communicated to them. Use an Anchor Charts strategy to record each answer on chart or poster paper for the class to see and reference. Next, show students the instructions you wrote down and said to the first student. Ask students to consider and discuss why they ended up with such varying pieces of information.