5 Wonderful Speaking Activities for ELLs with Conversation Task Cards

wonderful, speaking activities

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Type: Partners or Small Groups

Conversation Task Cards

Conversation task cards are a great way to build fluency with speaking with your English learners.

  • They are basically small cards that you can print and cut out.
  • Each card has a sentence frame on one side and some example responses on the other.
  • There are quite a few activities you can do with a set of conversation task cards.
  • You can make your own task cards or you can find a library of them inside the Kid-Inspired ESL Curriculum Membership. There are a few examples from the membership below.
  • Scroll down for the activity ideas.
Worksheet, today
daily basis, worksheet


  1. Prepare Cards: Print the cards. Cut them out. Decide whether to glue the front and back together or keep them separate. See below for activity ideas to help you decide. (Optional) Laminate them so they last longer.
  2. Practice: Practice asking and answering the question together. With a partner, students ask and answer the question. As you add more conversation cards, the students go through all of the cards they’ve learned at the beginning of each class. You can have students meet with a new partner each class.
  3. Note: You won’t be able to play many games with just one set of cards. As you teach more card sets, you will be able to start doing some of the activities below.

5 Activities with Conversation Task Cards

  1. Mad Rush: One student holds up a question card, the other students race to respond correctly. The first to respond gets the card. The student with the most cards after the cards have all been shown gets to be the next caller. If fronts and backs are separated, then you can spread the response cards on a table and the students race to grab the correct response card. 
  2. Back & Forth: In pairs, each student has a set of conversation cards. Student A asks student B a question from one of the conversation cards. Student B answers and then asks Student A a question from one of his or her conversation cards. They go back and forth until one of them forgets how to answer or makes a mistake.
  3. Race Around the Room: Put answer cards on tables around the room (if you have card fronts and backs glued together, just turn the answer side card up). Clear space to move between the tables. Have a student call out a question. All of the students race over to that table. The last person to arrive becomes the next caller at the front to ask a question. At the table, every student finds a partner to ask and answer the question. Go again.
  4. Review: These cards are great for review. You can have a stack of cards that have been taught before. Put them in the middle of a group table. Students take turns taking the top card and going around so that each student has a chance to respond. If card fronts and backs are separate, then the question goes in the stack in the middle. Students can have the answer side as a reference to help remind them how to answer.
  5. Bell-Ringer Activity: This is a great way to start your classes. Create enough of each conversation task card for each group to have one. Keep the sets in piles. When students come in, they grab a set of conversation task cards and then find someone to sit down with. They go through the stack asking and answering questions with their partner. Each class, you teach a new conversation task card to add to the piles.

Benefits of These Activities

  • These cards help build fluency with common sentence structures, vocabulary, and conversation.
  • More challenging cards can be added to build fluency with subject content and/or academic language. For more task card ideas, check out this post: 10 Amazing Task Card Activities for Amazing Results

Have you tried any of these activities? How did it go? Leave me a comment below!

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