1 With a confident learner or using visual aids, demonstrate a formal conversation like the one below or an informal version using tu.
2 Encourage learners to circulate and, using the conversation as a model, to greet the other members of the group individually and introduce themselves, shaking hands as they say Piacere. Ask them to tick on their list the names of the people they meet. Make sure they initiate some conversations and respond to others and encourage the use of Scusi? if repetition is needed.
In a very large class where talking to everyone would take too long, the activity can be limited to finding, for example, 10 people on the list.
1 Give each learner a slip of paper with a name on it and a complete list of names. Set the scene by telling them that the individual name is their own name, that they are at a reception in Italy, and that on the list are the names of the other guests, grouped according to a table plan. Their objective is to find their name on the list and then, speaking Italian, to find the others on their table.
2 Practise pronouncing the names (on OHP) with the whole group then allow a few minutes for learners to practise in pairs or groups of three.
3 Learners circulate and use Come si chiama? and Lei è . . . ? to find the other people in their group. Encourage variety as they answer (with their assumed name): Sono . . . , Mi chiamo . . . , Sì, sono . . . or No, non sono . . . You might also like to introduce Sì, sono io. Encourage learners to say Piacere when they find the others and Scusi? if they need repetition of a name.
If a small group activity is planned next, learners could stay in these groups, thus ensuring the opportunity of working with a variety of people.
1 Divide learners into groups of four or five and give each group a pack of 24 cards.
2 The cards are put face down on the table in a pack and each learner in turn takes a card, using it as a cue to address their left-hand neighbour who responds appropriately, e.g. Come stai? - Bene grazie. Buona sera, signore - Buona sera, signora. A card with two symbols is a signal to engage in as full as conversation as possible. Below are two examples of how a conversation might develop.
3 Encourage them to build up speed as they gain confidence.
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