Exploiting short dialogues / situational dialogues

In a previous post (see here), I discussed how it was possible to exploit a source text to generate a whole range of interactive exercises and worksheets based on the text itself, as well as on the lexical items within the text, and how this can be achieved in a matter of minutes using TaskMagic3.

This post will take a quick look at how short transactional or situational dialogues (or any short series of exchanges on any topic) can be exploited in a similar way, using the Dialogues component of TaskMagic3 as the starting point.

1. Type your dialogue into the Dialogues edit screen

You can either type in the dialogue line by line or use the "Quick Input" tab and paste it in from elsewhere. The lines of your dialogue should not include the name of the person who is speaking, otherwise these names will also be included in your exercises. Alternate lines of the dialogue are assigned to persons A and B.

2. Create a "Find it!" exercise

This is an optional step, but it will give you access to a range of extra resources, and it is a really useful exercise in itself.

Select a target word or phrase from the dialogue and then type in the prompt for this word or phrase. You can type prompts in English, for example, to find TL words or phrases in the text.

You can use Find it! as a way of helping students to understand a more difficult text, or as a way of introducing or revising vocabulary in context.  

Find it! is a really effective way of introducing (and revising) vocabulary in context, particularly in those situations where a lot of the information has previously been taught. Think, for example, of a GCSE French class which, in theory, has already 'learnt' school subjects and opinions etc in year 7. You don't really want to present the vocabulary items in isolation, as you may have done the first time. Using an exercise such as Find it! is a useful way of revising the topic and checking understanding.

Look at the exercises you have created so far.

Click here to open the Dialogues page on the TaskMagic website, with lots more information about the files available.

 So far you will have created the 9 interactive exercises on the above menu screen: Line Jumble; Half Lines; Word Jumble; Gap Dialogue (with 3 levels of difficulty); Space; Click & Fill; Anagrams; Word Guess; Find it!

And the Dialogues worksheets...

The worksheets are automatically generated based on your dialogue: Line Jumble; Half Lines; Word Jumble; Gap Dialogue 0; Gap Dialogue 1/3; Gap Dialogue 2/3; Gap Dialogue 3/3; Space; Anagrams; Find it!

If you want to use your questions and answers from the Find it! exercise as the basis for a series of exercises practise and reinforce these lexical items, see the next step.

3. Export the Find it! prompts and answers as a Text Match exercise

This creates the following exercise file in Text Match...

...which automatically gives you access to all of the interactive games and exercises on the Text Match menu screen below:

Click here to open the TextMatch page on the TaskMagic website, with lots more information about the files available.

The Text Match exercises: Flashcards; Drag & Match; 3 in a Row; Against the Clock; Pelmanism 1 Player; Pelmanism 2 Players; True or False?; Multi-Match; Invaders; Maze; Spin; Tower Block; Pool; Type; Football; Doors; Hangman; Maze2; Invaders2; Snake; Jump!; Trainer.

And the Text Match worksheets...

The worksheets are automatically generated based on your matching items: Matching; Multi-Choice; Pairs; Write; Snake; Dominoes; Jumbled Words (available if the interactive version is made available).

4. Export your Dialogues file as a Mix&Gap file

If you go back to the Dialogues edit screen you will see that you have the option to export your Dialogues file as a Mix&Gap file. This creates the following file in Mix&Gap:

By default, when exported to Mix&Gap from Dialogues, the file is saved with a limited range of exercises available, as some of the exercises which are less suited to working with text on separate lines have been de-selected. You can modify this selection using the check boxes in the bottom left of the screen, to make more or fewer exercises available.

5. Create a gap-fill exercise in Mix&Gap

It's a good idea to create a gap-fill exercise based on the dialogue in Mix&Gap, as this is so easy to do (just click on the words to be gapped) and gives you access to the Gap-fill worksheet.

Presuming that you stuck with the default selection of available exercises, you should now be able to choose from the following exercises on the Mix&Gap menu screen:

Click here to open the Mix and Gap page on the TaskMagic website, with lots more information about the files available.

Some of these exercises are similar to those offered in the Dialogues file. e.g. Space (but now the text is in one block and you have to click to put it onto separate lines); Word Guess; Anagrams; Click&Fill; Find it!

But you also gain access to a few extra exercises: 1 in 3; Gap-fill; Text Mix; Next Letter 1; Next Letter 2; Tower Block; Next Word.

And, of course, the Mix&Gap worksheets...

The new worksheets available as a result of exporting the file (i.e. not counting those already available in Dialogues) are: 1 in 3; Gap-fill.

So, as promised, loads of interactive and printable resources, based on a few minutes' work inputting a short dialogue and some "find it" prompts, plus a few extra clicks here and there.

For lots more information about creating resources in TaskMagic, go to http://www.mdlsoft.co.uk

If you already have TaskMagic3 on your computer, you can open the 3 files used in the examples above on the following links:

Original Dialogues file | Text Match file based on the prompts | Exported Mix and Gap file

If you don't have TaskMagic3, you can get a free trial download from http://www.mdlsoft.co.uk/trialdownloads.htm