I think that taking turns in conversation and staying on topic can be difficult skills to teach children, especially younger children. However, these are very important skills because turn-taking and topic maintenance skills impact a child’s ability to participate in social interactions, to tell narratives, and to form written narratives. I have made an ice cream cone building game to target turn-taking and topic maintenance. First. you get an ice cream cone and each student chooses a color of ice cream scoops.
Each ice cream scoop has a different conversation act written on it. These vary from more general acts like “ask a question” or “make a comment” to more specific acts like “agree with something your partner said” or “ask a question to make sure you understood.” The speech therapist or teacher can choose which conversation acts are available to the students based on their skill levels.
Next, you have to choose a topic. There are some different topics written on cherry cards or you can make up your own topics. Then you start building your conversation. Each child takes a turn choosing an appropriate ice cream scoop to put on top of the cone. You can take as many different conversational turns as you want and the conversation can progress in many different ways. Here are 2 different examples of how conversations could start (you can click on the picture to enlarge it and make the ice cream scoops easier to read).
If your students are just beginning to work on topic maintenance, you could give each student 2 different ice cream scoops to choose from by reading the conversation act on each one and asking which once makes sense. You could also build a conversation that has a problem (for example, “ask a question” and then “change topic” instead of answering the question) and ask your students to find the problem and choose a more appropriate conversation act.
You can download this game on my teachers pay teachers store here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ice-Cream-Scoops-Game-for-Topic-Maintenance-and-Turn-Taking
I hope you enjoy this game!