Floreo Blog

Extra Tips for Helping Students Find the Topic of a Conversation

By Rita Solórzano | Mar 7, 2024




If you have used Floreo's Join a Conversation: Cafeteria or Join a Conversation: Park, you may have encountered times when some students are not able to identify the topic when asked. One way to support a student in this skill is to provide choices of topics from which the student can choose to determine the topic of conversation. This may be enough for students to begin to help them focus on the topic. Other students might need to be taught about keywords and key phrases.

The keywords in a sentence are the words that will provide clues to finding the topic. This information will be present primarily in the nouns and verbs of the sentence. Sometimes there are 1 or 2 words in the sentence that will carry the meaning (for example: "The mac and cheese is really good.") and other times, several words will be important to identify the topic (for example: "My brother and I went swimming in the lake and the water was really cold!"). Then, finding the commonality among the 3 sentences spoken by the characters will be critical. 

For students who need a more visual approach, try this activity outside of VR. Write each word of the conversational sentence on an index card. Can the student differentiate between words that might go with a picture (mac and cheese, swimming, etc.) and words that don't tend to go with a picture (was, the, etc.)? The words that go with pictures are going to be the keywords and phrases in a statement. Place the cards in piles and ask the student to find the commonalities among the 3 statements spoken by the characters. As a follow-up activity, ask the student to formulate questions based on the statements. You can use those same index cards, add some "WH" question words into the mix, and ask the students to rearrange the cards to ask a question (for example, "What is really good?" "The mac and cheese is really good.") 

Giving students a choice of possible topics can be very helpful for getting them to complete the Floreo task, but understanding how keywords and key phrases work will not only help them with conversations but will help them with their reading comprehension, their written expression, their ability to refine an internet search as well as other language-based skills.