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Years 3 and 4 Oracy Lessons 






Speaking: sustain conversation, explaining or giving reasons for views or choices 


Listening and responding: investigate how talk varies with age, familiarity, gender and purpose 


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 



  • A recording device

  • some adverts designed to appeal to families and/or children. These can be paper copies from magazines or recordings of adverts 


Organisation: small groups 



  • Ask the children to help you conduct an investigation. Explain the following process: All groups will chat informally for 5 minutes about some adverts. One group’s conversation will be recorded. Then all groups will be asked to plan a presentation on the adverts, but only one group will be asked to present this so that they can be recorded. The children will listen to both recordings to compare the way they use talk to chat, with the way they use talk in presentations.


Main activity 

  • Give out copies or play recordings of the adverts 

  • Ask groups to chat for 5 minutes about what they like and dislike about the adverts and discuss whom they might appeal to. 

  • Record one group as they chat. 

  • Then ask groups to spend 5 minutes planning a short presentation on one of the adverts based on their likes, dislikes and their views on its appeal. Do not record these discussions.

  • Ask one group to give the first few minutes of their presentation, so it can be recorded. 

  • Play back a short section of the informal chat and then play again, asking the children to help you identify some of the features of informal talk e.g. Incomplete sentences: vague language; discourse markers e.g. right, OK; dialect; starting or finishing with the most important idea e.g. That song! I like it, or I like it! that song.

  • Repeat with the recording of a presentation.


  • Compare and contrast the two transcripts on an equal basis. Look at the distinguishing features of each transcript and focus on how the grammar of talk changes when we speak in more formal situations. 

  • Invite children to listen to conversations around school to identify features of informal speech. 



  • Include one short simple advert in the stimulus 

  • Ask for a child’s permission before recording their speech and respect their right to refuse.



  • Ask differentiated questions to give higher attainers an opportunity to identify and contrast the features of informal and formal speech on their own.


Assessment questions 

  • Can children identify or recognise at least some of the features of their informal talk on the recording?  

  • Can children recognise the variations between the informal and the formal recordings of their talk? 



Adaptations/further suggestions 

·     Ask the children to help you list a number of different situations for talk such as interviews for a job; shopping; ordering a meal; chatting on the phone to a friend; planning a presentation in a group at school; arguing with a sibling etc. Then ask a pair or a threesome to choose one of the situations to improvise. Ask the class what kind of talk would be appropriate for that situation. Then allow the pair to improvise for up to one or two minutes. Repeat with a different situation.  

  • Make a few 30 second recordings which demonstrate how talk varies e.g. news broadcast, weather forecast, conversation in a soap opera, an old adventure film, a quiz show, a timed cookery challenge, a talent show etc. Play these to the children and ask them to identify what kinds of programmes they are. Start by playing two very contrasting recordings and invite them to make comparisons. It may be useful to play each recording twice. Then ask them to listen to the other recordings and discuss how talk varies with purpose.

  • Allow children to listen to a recording of some local radio advertising. Ask groups to make a radio version of the adverts. Use these experiences as a stimulus to discuss the way talk is used for the purpose of advertising. 


TALKING CLUES: past or present?  © L S Harrison




Speaking: sustain conversation, explaining or giving reasons for views or choices 


Listening and responding: investigate how talk varies with age, familiarity, gender and purpose 


Cross-curricular links: History - The Tudors 

What were the differences between the lives of rich and poor in Tudor times? 



  • A few statements that rich and poor Tudors might make

  •  modern statements that people might make today

  • three separate signs saying Poor Tudor, RichTudor, People Today. 


Organisation/ strategy 

·     pairs 

·     Meet and Greet drama strategy  



  • If you were a person living in Tudor times, would you talk differently to the way you do today? How would it be different? 

  • Assess what the children already know about variations in language over time. 

  • Ask the children to prepare to play Meet and Greet, by preparing statements using the following framework: 

 Hi my name is..and my favourite lesson in school is ……because…….


Main activity 

  • On the word Gothe children should move around the room to Meet and Greet as many other children as possible, until you say Stop. They should try to remember what others say to them. Play for a few minutes.

  • Ask:Who can remember something that someone else told them?

  • Now ask them to take on the roles of Tudor people. They should make up a suitable name for themselves. Make a list of names on the board, and write up the words they must say to play the Tudor Meet and Greet: Good morrow Mistress/Master what is thy name? My name is…Ask them to bow or courtesy when greeting each other.

  • (Optional) Ask children to make Tudor role cards for another Meet and Greet. Cards include their name, age, and occupation and another piece of information about their lives or their jobs. Suggest and encourage use of appropriate language.

  • Put up the signs and make the statements, using appropriate language:

I am aweary of working the fields/ I have ne’ er eaten bread for many a day/ My trusty servant! where art thou?/ Bring me my sword and my armour!/Hi did you see the match yesterday?/ I forgot my lunch box. 

  •  Children should match statements to signs. 



  • Talk about how language changes over time. 

Ask: Do you know any words that people don’t use any more?

 Make a list of new words that children use today, that older people would be unlikely to use.  


  • Pair up with a more confident child for Meet and Greet 




  • Ask more confident children to use appropriate language to make up their own statements for the class to match to the signs. 


Assessment questions 

  • Can the children switch to using a different form of language during the Tudor Meet and Greet? 

  • Can the children distinguish between Tudor and modern language during the matching exercise? 


Adaptations/further suggestions 


  • The children could work in groups to compile a dictionary of modern words for Tudor time travellers, so they could understand how we talk today. 

  • Each child could make a Tudor version of their identity card or passport, based on the roles from the Meet and Greet. This could include name, age, portrait, occupation and place of birth. 

  • Read a short example of Tudor language from a Shakespearean sonnet or play. Select a passage with examples of thee, thy, thyself or thine.Ask the children to listen for words they dounderstand rather than focusing on those they don’t understand. Ask: Whatdo you notice about this language? How is it different from the language we use today?Point out that some people in Britain still use the terms thee, thy, thyself thinewhen talking informally. Write some sentences on the board for the children to convert into Tudor type language using thee, thy, thyself or thine. 

  • Show the children the first few lines of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the original language. Ask: Which words can we still understand?Explain that most people do not know how these words were pronounced at the time. Tell them the meanings of some of the unfamiliar words and then ask the class to try to read it along with you. 

  • Play, or show a short extract from one of Shakespeare’s plays. Ask the children to listen for words they understand. Explain what is happening in the scene, and some of the unfamiliar words, before playing it again.

  • Ask all the children to sing an example of a hymn that indicates variations in language over time. Put the words on an overhead for everyone to see. Talk about how older hymns use the words thee, thy, thyself and thine andexplain what they mean. Then read a short passage from the Authorised version of the Bible where these terms are used and ask the children to listen out for them. 

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