ALEX Lesson Plan


Hey!  I'm Talking To You!!

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Elaine Haskins
System: Homewood City
School: Homewood High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 31007


Hey!  I'm Talking To You!!


Effective communication skills are a key component for successful self-advocacy, empowerment and leadership.  This lesson will teach high school students the types of communication, how to understand one's audience, and ways to utilize appropriate tone, timing and words.  The goal is for students to apply use of communication skills, so the lesson will incorporate role playing exercises for various settings.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
CG (K-12)
5. A:A1.5 - identify attitudes and behaviors leading to successful learning
CG (K-12)
8. A:A2.3 - use communications skills to know when and how to ask for help when needed
CG (K-12)
38. C:A1.4 - learn how to interact and work cooperatively in teams
CG (K-12)
83. PS:A1.6 - distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior
CG (K-12)
95. PS:A2.6 - use effective communications skills
CG (K-12)
96. PS:A2.7 - know that communication involves speaking, listening and nonverbal behavior

Local/National Standards:

Character Education - #6 - Respect for Others

Character Education - #11 - Courtesy

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to identify and implement effective communication skills involving speaking, listening and nonverbal behavior.  Understanding the use of skills will be critical to successful application.  Students will work collaboratively to create effective and ineffective communication scenarios, and demonstrate those to the class.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will experience working in groups and communicating with each other in small groups. 

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Communication Worksheet - copy for each student

List of students in groups of 3-5

Starter scenarios for each group - minimum 6 of both effective and ineffective scenarios

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with digital projector and speakers; screen

Internet access




Facilitator prep - The facilitator should become familiar with various types of communication as well as communication blockers.  The types and blockers can be found on the attachment section of this lesson.

Facilitator should understand how to connect communication skills to character traits such as respect and courtesy.

The facilitator should be someone who typically demonstrates effective communication skills so to be credible and genuine.

Facilitator is to create starter scenarios demonstrating effective and ineffective communication in a range of settings.  The starter is given to a group of students.  The group will perform a "bad" way and a "good" way to communicate.  Each group will decide on a blocker to use in the "bad" scene and which non-verbal actions to use in the "good" scene.  Examples of starter scenarios:
1. parent and student talking about setting a curfew
2. student and younger sibling arguing about using the computer
3. student talking to a teacher about making up a test
4. two girls talking about each other on a social network
5. two boys talking about liking the same girl
6. a student and a parent talking about doing chores
7. two friends talking about what to do this weekend
8. two friends talking about their different religious beliefs
9. a student and a parent talking about college options
10. two classmates talking about planning a time to study together for a test

Facilitator is to become familiar with the students in a class so as to address specific communication concerns.  Also, facilitator should be familiar with the students as he/she creates groups for the scenario activity.  Consideration should be given to strengths and weaknesses in leadership and communication skills. 

Facilitator should view and cue the "Who's on First?" video to help create discussion/reflection questions and thoughts to present to students.

Facilitator to send the worksheet and talking points of the lesson to teachers so they can model appropriate communication skills with students, and coach students in real school-settings regarding skills.

Facilitator to prep 2 students ahead of time to enter the classroom using ineffective, inappropriate communication skills. 


Step 1 (5 minutes)
Scene - 2 students enter the classroom after the tardy bell rings demonstrating inappropriate conversation, talking loudly about another classmate; the facilitator joins the conversation by yelling demands (sit down, be quiet, etc).  The 2 students interrupt the facilitator by saying they didn't have listen to him/her.  The facilitator tells them they are wrong to enter the classroom the way they did.  The 2 students accuse the facilitator of violating their right to talk freely and however they want to talk. (the skit ends and the students sit down)
Reflection - facilitator asks the class to give their thoughts, questions, feelings about what just happened; what did they see or hear that was inappropriate and/or appropriate?  how would they act differently if they were in the scene?  facilitator lets the class know it was a pre-planned skit

Step 2 (10 minutes)
Show the "Who's on First?" video by Abbott & Costello
Reflection - what effective/appropriate communication was demonstrated?  what ineffective/inappropriate communication was demonstrated?  Point out that both men in the video were saying the same thing, but they still weren't understanding each other.

Step 3 (5 minutes)
Pre-assessment - verbal (see assessment section for questions to ask)

Step 4 (10 minutes)
Communication Worksheet - "Communication Blockers" - define and discuss each blocker

Step 5 (5 minutes)
Communication Worksheet - "Listening Actively" - What strengths do you demonstrate regarding listening actively?  What areas can you work on to improve your ability to listen actively?

Step 6 (10 minutes)
Communication Worksheet - "Non-Verbal Communication" - how is non-verbal ways - what messages do you people send with facial expressions, eye contact, hand shakes, posture, and tone of voice?  "What's the real message?" scenarios - ask the students to respond to scenarios verbally

Step 7 (5 minutes)
Communication Worksheet - "Getting Your Message Across" & "Send a Clear Message" - understanding tips to communicate with respect and courtesy

Step 8 (20-30 minutes)
Divide students into (pre-planned) groups and distribute scenario starters - both effective and ineffective scenarios.  Students to complete the scenario.  Students to determine who will play each role in the scene, and then demonstrate the scene to the class.  At the end of each demonstration, the facilitator will ask the students for feedback, thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions.

Step 9 (5 minutes)
Post-assessment - verbal (see assessment section for questions to ask)

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Assessment Strategies

Same questions to be used for the pre- and post-assessments.

1. On a scale from 1 to 10, how important do you think it is to your success in school (and beyond!) that you know and use appropriate communication skills?
2. During your conversations, how can you tell when someone is listening to you?
3. During your conversations, how can you tell when someone is not listening to you?
4. What is non-verbal communication?  Examples?
5. Communication is about me.  True or false?
6. Communication specialists say that when we send a message, __% of the message is communicated through body language; __% is communicated through tone of voice; and __% is communicated through words.
7. What behaviors do you demonstrate to show others you are listening to them?
8. What behaviors do you believe you should improve in order to show others you are listening to them?
9. What circumstances and distractions keep you from listening?
10. Do you think there is a difference between communicating with your peers and communicating with adults?  If a difference, what does that look like?


Provide sample short-answer questions to English teachers.  The English teachers could use the questions as part of an extra-credit writing assignment or as part of a test.

Sample short-answer questions:
1. What communication blockers do you need to focus on eliminating in your communication with peers and adults?  List a minimum of 3 blockers and steps to take to eliminate each blocker.
2. Describe a minimum of 4 non-verbal communication behaviors and what message those behaviors send to others.
3. Write about a scenario in your life in which you did not initially demonstrate effective, appropriate communication skills.  Include examples of ways in which you could change the way you communicate so that it becomes effective and appropriate.


Grouping students would help students who may have trouble with completing scenarios.  Consider grouping students who have creative abilities with students who are not necessarily assertive in leading a group of peers to complete a task.

 Regarding students who are not verbally communicating responses to indicate understanding of the material: give cues to respond; provide immediate positive feedback and reinforces; check for student understanding of the material; use concrete examples of concepts before teaching the abstract; relate information to the students' experiential base; monitor the rate at which material is presented; require verbal responses to indicate comprehension;

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.