initiate a conversation

This activity will help students initiate a conversation.

When my friends went out of town for a wedding, they asked me to watch their husky-lab mix, Nala, for a few days. I’ve been thinking about getting a dog for a while now, and I saw this as a great opportunity for a trial run.

Nala doodle

I made sure to take her with me on as many outings as possible to see how it would go, including an outdoor antique fair. I’m not usually one to initiate a conversation with strangers, so, had I been alone, I would have spent some time looking at the items, most likely not speaking to anyone else unless it was to negotiate a price.

But Nala, a beautiful white dog with one blue eye and one brown eye, drew people to me that day. I can’t tell you how many conversations I had that only started because people were complimenting Nala. She was the perfect ice-breaker.

It can be so hard to initiate a conversation with someone we don’t know. Some kids are much better initiators than adults, but others really struggle. I had a few students, as I’m sure you do, too, that wouldn’t even tell me when they needed help because initiating made them so anxious.

Since every kid can’t bring their dog to school, we need to give them tools and help them practice initiating conversations with peers and adults.

Our “Tango Bingo,” featuring Tango the Gorilla from Zoo U’s Social Initiation scenes, is a fun way to get started. Students will use the questions or topics on the bingo card to initiate a conversation or continue a conversation with someone.

You can have students try to get five in a row in a certain amount of time, like two weeks.