Year ¾ Oracy Lessons by Larraine S Harrison © 







  • speak competently and creatively for different purposes and audiences, reflecting on impact and response 

  • explore, develop and sustain ideas through talk 

·      sustain conversation, explaining or giving reasons for their views, choices 

·      use and reflect on some ground rules for dialogue


Listening and responding: understand, recall and respond to speakers’ implicit meanings 


Potential links to other literacy objectives

Understanding and interpreting texts: 

  • identify how different texts are organised, including reference texts, magazines, leaflets, on paper and on screen 

  • use knowledge of different organisational features of texts to find information effectively



·     two hand held or glove puppets; a very shortpre- prepared dialogue for the puppets on a familiar topic e.g. healthy eating or school uniform. The puppets should express differing opinions and should provide a model of good dialogue

  • a dictionary with the word Dialogueclearly defined, plus your own child friendly version 

·     resource sheet 1 

·      you can use any task requiring pupils to engage is simple dialogue in small groups. However, if you decide to use the task of predicting newspaper stories from headlines you will need a few very short appropriate newspaper stories with simple headlines. Provide a different story for each group. Detach the stories from the headlines.

·       a flipchart or whiteboard



Pairs and small mixed attainment groups 



  • Explain that the two puppets are about to engage in a dialogue. Write the word on the board but do not tell the children what it means. Ask the children to watch the puppets to see if they can tell the difference between a dialogue and a giving a talk/presentation.

  • Perform the very short puppet dialogue.  

  • Organise the children into pairs or threes and allow them a few minutes to consider their response to each of the following questions in turn:

  The puppets have been talking in a dialogue. - What do you think the word dialogue means and how is it different from giving a talk? 

When do we engage in dialogue in school? 

Why do we need rules for dialogue in class and what could go wrong if there were no rules? 

(optional) How is dialogue presented in writing and stories?  

Teaching tip: ask pairs to fold their arms as a sign that they are ready to respond to the question/ stop the class when a few pairs are ready / select pairs to share their responses with the rest of the class, rather than ask for volunteers. 

  • Mark the appropriate page in the dictionary and ask a good reader to find and read out the definition of the word dialogue.  Write a child friendly definition of dialogue on the board, then explain that by the end of this lesson the children will have put together a list of their top five rules for dialogue.  


Main activity 

  • Give out copies of Resource sheet 1 and read through with the whole class. Use the sheet as a shared whole class activity or as a paired task. 

  • Emphasise the need to follow up and express opinions on the points made by others 

  • After completing the sheet, use the children’s responses to agree a list of their top 5 rules for dialogue for the whole class. 

  • Write the numbered rules in large print on the board. 

  • Provide groups with a simple task involving dialogue. Organise the children into small mixed attainment groups. Nominate one good reader from each group to be the Rule Tester. This child will record how often their group follows the rules for dialogue during the first 5 minutes of the forthcoming task. They should write down the numbers 1-5 and then place a tick next to the appropriate number when they notice that rule being followed. 


Suggestions for newspaper group task

  • Give each group two newspaper headlines and ask them to predict 

the stories. They should make brief notes. Pause the task after five minutes to      collect the score papers. 

  • After the task, give groups their newspaper stories to check predictions. 

  • (Optional) Groups could feedback how successful their predictions were, using their notes. They could explain what evidence led them to their conclusions. 


Summary/ Plenary

  • Reveal and record the number of ticks against each rule. Discuss the findings in relation to how appropriate the children felt the rules were and how easy they were to follow. 

  • Make any necessary adjustments to produce the children’s final top ten rules for dialogue.

 Support for newspaper task 

  • Match pictures to headlines 

  • Match the first lines of the stories to headlines

  • Mixed ability pairs as Rule Testers or adult support 


Extension for newspaper task 

  • More obscure headlines requiring more than one prediction

  • Rule Testers use positive or negative faces as symbols to record how their group responds to each rule. 


Assessment questions 

  • Do the children understand the difference between a presentation and a dialogue?

  • Are the children able to reflect on how well others have applied the rules?

  • Are the children able to recognise when they are using the rules themselves? 


Adaptations/ further suggestions 

  • Read through the rules in Resource 1 and ask the children to respond by putting their thumbs up if they think the rule is good, thumbs down if bad and thumbs across if they are undecided. Give children thinking time to prepare a statement to justify their response. Then ask one or two different children each time to explain why they have responded in the way they have. Count the thumbs up each time to decide on which rules should be accepted and which should be rejected. 

  • Ask the children to invent their own rules for dialogue instead of reading the list on Resource 1. Then suggest any other rules that the children may have omitted before compiling the final top ten. 

  • Provide the children with a ready-made list of rules for dialogue. Then reinforce the need for rules by breaking them during a demonstration dialogue between the puppets or between the teacher and another adult. Discuss the consequences of breaking the rules for dialogue and ask the children if they think they can follow these rules during the task. 

  • Children could record the results of the Rule Testing for the whole class in block graph form. They could then analyse the results to identify which rules they followed easily and which rules they will still need to work on. Using the rules they need to work on could become a class target. Progress towards the target could be assessed by repeating the Rule Testing during another task involving dialogue later in the term.

  • Display the top ten rules in illustrated poster form, alongside the results of the Rule Testing and the class target rules. Ask a pair of children to find the dictionary definition of dialogue and display alongside the poster.






Which rules for dialogue are sensible and which are not?  Give reasons for your choices. 



Sensible: Yes / No?


Always chew food when you speak 



Speak in a clear voice 



Speak loud enough for the other person to hear 



Shout all the time 



Keep interrupting the other person 



Never use more than one or two words when talking 



Be clear about what you mean and add detail when you need to 



Look away when someone is talking to you 



Talk all the time and never listen to the other person



Do not listen to what the other person is saying  



Look at the person you are talking to 



Speak one at a time when in a group 



Wear bright clothes 



Get angry when the other person disagrees with you 



Be polite, even when you disagree  



1)With a partner, talk about which rules you think are and explain why


2)With a partner, make up your own TOP TEN sensible rules for good dialogue? You can use some rules from the above list if you wish. 


      4) Choose and record your TOP FIVE from your list of ten. 









  • sustain conversation, explain or giving reasons for their views 

  • use and reflect on some ground rules for dialogue



  • present events and characters through dialogue to engage the interest of an audience

  • create roles showing how behaviour can be interpreted from different viewpoints  


Cross- curricular links: Link to history topic: Invaders and Settlers. 

The effect of the Roman invasion on Celtic society 


Resources/ preparation:


·     children need some basic prior knowledge of Celtic society 

·     two chairs facing each other in a cleared space

·     one card sayingFRIENDand another saying FOE

·     a list of ground rules for dialogue


Organisation/ strategy  

  • Whole class activity. 

  • Communal voice drama strategy 



  • Invite two children to sit on the chairs holding one card each. Ask everyone to imagine that these children are Celts with opposing views on the recent Roman invasion. Explain that one Celt wants to make friends with the Romans because of the benefits they have heard about. The other Celt wants to fight the Romans because they feel that the Romans will destroy the Celtic way of life. 

  • Write down a few arguments that the Friend might use and display them near the child holding the Friend card. Then do the same for Foe. 


Main activity 

  • Explain that the Celts are about to engage in a dialogue about whether the Romans are friends or foes. Explain the terms dialogue and foe.

  • Display the rules for dialogue and explain that the Celts must follow these rules.

  • Choose a child to stand behind the Friend chair and start off the dialogue, as if this Celt were speaking. Remind the class to refer to the list of arguments and check the rules of dialogue throughout this activity. 

  • Choose another child to stand behind the Foe chair to respond to the Friend comment. This is repeated with more children being invited to stand around or behind the characters as the dialogue continues. Each time a different child stands by a character to speak, that child speaks as the character’s voice. Tell the children that this drama activity is known as Communal Voice.    

  • Pause the Communal Voice activity at various points to reflect on how well the dialogue is matching up to the rules.  If appropriate, consider how the dialogue might be best presented to engage the interest of an audience. Dialogue which breaks the ground rules or needs editing for an audience can be adapted and run again.  


Summary/ Plenary 

  • Consider which rules were adhered to. 

  • Place the Friend card on one side of the room and the Foe card on the other. Ask the children to stand near the card that corresponds to their own views on whether the Romans were friends or foes to the Celts


  • Allow time to talk in mixed ability pairs during the communal voice activity. 

  • The two least confident children sit in the chairs, occasionally being asked their opinions on the dialogue.


  • Encourage extended contributions for the dialogue in the communal voice activity 

  • Observe and feedback to the class on how well the dialogue followed the rules. 

          Assessment questions 

  • Do children make extended contributions during the dialogue?

  • Do children use the language of reasoning to express their views? 

  • Do children recognise and reflect on the rules during the discussion about the communal voice activity?  


Adaptations/further suggestions 


  • Write out each rule on a separate card and give to individual children or pairs. Choose a confident child, with whom you can conduct a short dialogue as two Romans, discussing why the Celts should welcome them. Perform this in front of the class and ask each child to focus on the rule on their card, whilst watching the dialogue. After the performance, ask for children to put their thumbs up if their rule was obeyed and put their thumbs down if their rule was broken. Then take some feedback.

  • Make a list of arguments for and against befriending the Romans. Display these for everyone to see. Then working in groups of 5, ask 4 from each group to role- play some Celts talking about whether to stay friends with the Romans or fight them. Two from each group should argue to stay friends and to should argue to fight. 

  • Ask groups to follow the rules of dialogue as they carry out their role- plays. The 5thchild in each group should observe how far the rules for dialogue are being observed and feedback to the class. 

  • Children can work in pairs to record their own versions of the Celt’s dialogue as a play script. They can use the Friend and Foe lists of arguments as a reference. The communal voice dialogue could also be recorded. The recording can be paused and then activated as each child makes their contribution. The whole procedure could also be videoed. Use cloaks or other props for the two original Celts if it is to be recorded in this way. 

  • Children could script and perform the Communal Voice role- play between the two Celts, for an assembly on good dialogue. Alternatively, pairs could write the role-play as a play script and perform it for an assembly. Children should draw attention to the list of rules for dialogue that the characters have adhered to in the play and invite the assembled children to note when the rules are being followed.