Using Let’s Talk, teachers and students can create computer generated:
- Talking Lessons
- Talking Verses
- Talking Quizzes
- Talking Reflections
- Talking Responses to your questions
- Talking “Virtual Puppet”
- Talking Prayers
- Talking Bible Characters, teachers, students
…all using your computer’s ability to speak aloud !
WHAT IS LET’S TALK ?
Let’s Talk CD is a bit hard to describe to first-timers because it’s so unique, -but its level of engagement and versatility with any subject has made it a go-to favorite in many computer labs. If you’ve played with the “talking text” feature in Kid Pix (another Sunday Software recommendation), then you have an inkling of what Let’s Talk can do for your lessons.
Let’s Talk in a nutshell:
- Let’s Talk makes your computer speak aloud anything you type.
- In Let’s Talk’s “TALK NOW” module, students create an onscreen animated character, and then put words into his or her mouth to be spoken to the class. Whatever you or the kids type, their character will speak aloud. Most teachers use this to have student respond to their questions through their character.
- Let’s Talk’s LESSON BUILDER module gives you or the students a tool to build a spoken lesson, with spoken quiz questions and spoken discussion questions. It’s a great tool for the kids to build presentations for each other.
- Let’s talk is a great classroom tool for answering, discussing, debating, reflecting, rephrasing, -even praying, …because kids WANT to use it.
View a video demo of Talk Now and Lesson Builder modules:
This video has no sound. In it you can see the Talk Now module and Lesson Builder screens.
Let’s Talk in Detail…
Let’s Talk has four built-in modules:
1. Talk Now
In Talk Now you quickly create a character, type what you want it to say, and press “play” for all to hear.
The Talk Now module is the one classes use the most. After a Bible study, the teacher might say, “Turn on Let’s Talk, create a character, and type an answer to the following question(s).” When kids are ready, they play back their presentation for all to hear. The teacher will offer comments, and usually pose another question for the kids’ animated character to answer.
2. Conversation Now
In Conversation Now students create two animated characters who can “instant message” back and forth to each other in an ‘instant messaging’ or chat-like interface. One of the characters could be Jesus, for example, and the other character could be your student, or someone in the story. “What would Jesus text message to you?” Our Lesson Ideas have many more examples for this module.
3. Create a Lesson
In Create-a-Lesson, students fill-in several fields in the Let’s Talk onscreen interface to create a multi-faceted speaking presentation for other students to hear and interact with.
The Lesson presentation they create has their animated character doing the following:
- speaking introductory comments
- telling a story or talking about the verse.
- narrating a 3 Question Quiz, …which student must answer.
- narrating 3 Discussion Questions, …which students will fill out on screen
Typically, you have your students use the Create-a-Lesson Module AFTER your Bible study. They make a presentation about the story or its meaning, and then play it back for the other students, or invite other students to “come listen and answer our questions.” Lots of good discussion opportunities arise.
4. Select a Lesson
In Select-a-Lesson your students can access previously built lessons from other students or from the teacher. We’ve included two sample lessons in this module: Psalm 8 and Mary & Martha.
All lessons can be saved and edited. You can start a presentation and have students complete it. You can update the language and questions in your presentation for different age groups.
Students can make a presentation to share with the entire class, or if you have multiple computers, they can make presentations for another computer group, then invite another group to view the presentation and take their quiz (kids like that).
We call Let’s Talk a “discussion making tool” because your students can use the animated character to ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS with, or pose questions, or speak prayers, or tell a story in new words. Rather than feeling nervous or put “on the spot” in front of peers, kids express themselves through Let’ s Talk.
Of course, in most of our labs, our students SHARE THE COMPUTER, and thus, will have to talk to each other at the keyboard to create their group responses (pinch me). See our Let’s Talk Ideas and Lessons for lots of examples.
One of the most surprising ways teachers are using Let’s Talk is at the END of a lesson. They invite the kids to create a character and type a prayer for their character to speak to the class.
Let’s Talk is particularly great for working in verses and stories where there is dialog and you want the kids to “re-script” the dialog in a new way (such as “in their own words” or “what were the people thinking to themselves during the story?” and “how would you have responded…”). See our Let’s Talk Lesson Ideas and Lesson Plans Page for lots of example.
Open this toggle to see Two Techniques for using Let’s Talk in your Bible Study…
Here are two techniques for using “Let’s Talk” with just about any Bible passage.
Technique #1: “STAND AND DELIVER”
(I used this technique all the time)
After your Bible study…
Students open Let’s Talk and create an onscreen character to speak aloud whatever they type. Then the teacher now STANDS in the middle of the room (or via a worksheet) and DELIVERS a series of questions about the story, –taking time after each question to let students craft a typed response, then one-by-one students play their character’s response for all to hear (and the teacher to comment about).
Here are a few examples of how the teacher would prompt the students…
» Imagine Jesus has just come up to your boat and asked you to follow him. Come up with your best most legitimate excuse for not leaving it all behind.
» How would Jesus ‘call’ a doctor, a sales person, a construction worker? “Follow me, for I will make you _______ of men.”
» Imagine the conversation between Paul and his Philippi Jailer after the earthquake. Student or Workstation 1: Create a response for the entire class to hear that is what you think Paul could have said to the man to help the man understand what had just happened and believed. Student or Workstation 2: Create a response from the jailer question Paul about why he should believe and expressing doubt. Student or Workstation 3: Create a two sentence statement explaining why OTHERS should believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
» Imagine what Peter was thinking as he sank. Student or Workstation 1: Tell us what he was thinking! Student or Workstation 2: Tell us what Jesus was thinking but not saying as he watched Peter sink! All: Tell us what part of YOUR life sometimes gives you a sinking feeling. All: Now tell us through your character what JESUS would say to someone your age about how to handle your troubles.
» Create a character who is a Roman soldier who works for Cornelius. What do you think he was saying behind Cornelius’ back when Cornelius asked to be baptized? Now take the role of Cornelius and respond to your fellow Roman soldier saying why a Captain would need Jesus. Now take the role of Cornelius again and explain to your teenage daughter why you want her to be baptized by Peter too!
» Imagine you’re at the cross and you hear people hurling insults at Jesus that he was a fake, not powerful, a fraud. Create a 3 sentence “defense” that you would have spoken to those insulting him that day.
» Imagine you’re Jesus… explain to Nicodemus what it means to “be born from above… by water and spirit”.
» Workstation 1: You’re Doubting Thomas. What are the two questions you want to ask Jesus after the resurrection? Workstation 2: You’re Jesus! How would you respond to each of Thomas’ questions? (You can look at their questions as they’re creating them so you can play your respond when they are done playing their question.)
» Rewrite the Psalm! Imagine Ps 23 as a horse-themed trail ride, or as a school-themed location.
Technique #2: “How Few Can You Do?”
I use this technique a lot when we have long passages with lots of interesting vocab.
“How Few Can You Do?” is an old Bible study technique we have brought onto the computer. In it, you have the students decide which are the most important “key words” in the passage. Tell them to reduce it to 20, then to 10. See if they can get it down to 3 to 5 keywords! …and still retain the essential meaning. It’s an exercise meant to promote DISCUSSION.
Psalm, Beatitudes, Jesus on the cross, 7 Days of Creation, 1st Corinthians, John 1:1-18, etc etc. etc.
Lesson Example: The “How Few Can You Do?” Bible Study Game
…with Philippians 2:5-11 and Let’s Talk CD
During Lent we were studying The Meaning of the Cross using Paul’s explanation of Christ’s mission from Philippians 2:5-11 (…humbled himself… even to death on a cross). After doing it as a memory verse in Cal and Marty’s Scripture Memory Game CD, I had the kids pop into Let’s Talk’s “Talk Now” module, create a talking character, and CONDENSE DOWN the verses into 20 words or less, play them back and discuss which words seemed to be ‘key’. Then we had them do just 10 words, and then 3…. playing back their results again for discussion. This forced the students to identify key concepts and try to preserve them as a keyword. Created a lot of debate too!
View my How Few Can You Do? lesson plan here.
Works for many different passages.
Sample of Philippians 2 “How Few Can you Do” results your kids might come up with:
Think like Jesus
Become a servant
Confess Jesus Christ
(even more condensed)
Because Let’s Talk can be about any subject and be used by students to respond and reflect, it’s a great program to have on every computer.
Age Range: 2nd through adult.
Younger children love to type! They just need help finding the letters and spelling correctly. Though it takes extra time, the level of engagement and the results are the same = awesome.
We continue to post new Let’s Talk lesson ideas to it, and invite your brainstorms as well. You can print the Ideas and Lesson Plan page when you load it.
Open this toggle to learn the “Story Behind Let’s Talk CD”
The Story Behind Let’s Talk CD
by Neil MacQueen
I thought up Let’s Talk coming home from church one Sunday. I had just finished teaching in our Bible Computer Lab using our Life of Christ software, and WISHING I had another software program to help promote discussion about Life of Christ’s lesson that day.
After the quiz in Life of Christ, I called the class to come away from the computers and sit at the discussion table, …and the usual groan arose, “Do We Have To? Can’t we do it at the computer?”
“Yes,” I thought on the way home, “why can’t we do it at the computer. They love being at the computer.”
Then I started thinking about discussion THROUGH the computer.
I had used the text-to-speech feature in Kid Pix for years to have my kids create a “speaking picture” in response to a question I posed to them. (Computers have long had this capability: speaking aloud what you type). But the problem was they always wanted to fiddle with the drawing tools and not concentrate on what to say to others. So I called Ben my programmer and asked him if he could make me a “utility” program that the kids could turn on and “just type text and then press ‘playback” –so the whole class could hear their responses in our discussion. Ben said sure, and by the next Sunday I had an early stripped down version of Let’s Talk installed on our computers. ….And the kids went wild.
A few months and improvements later, Let’s Talk was born.
Pictured below: a screenshot of the Build a Teacher (who will talk for you) module. I named her “Dottie” after my computer lab helper. She loved the blue hair.
It’s kind of teaching magic: looks merely like fun, but is really useful for getting kids to share their thoughts. Kids who wouldn’t say “boo” in front of their peers were now typing full sentences and letting the computer say them out loud.
Look down below on this page for my “How Few Can You Do” exercise with Let’s Talk. That’s the first and most common way I use the program. It’s great for getting the kids to DISTILL a passage or conclusion down to its essential words. And what their computers say aloud is ALWAYS ripe for more discussion. 🙂
After a tip from a customer, I also now use it from time to time to have my kids create a closing prayer for their computer to speak –which they are very glad to do. Pinch me.
Let’s Talk isn’t as glamorous as some of our game-style or Bible story CDs, but I continue to hear from long-time customers about how useful they find Let’s Talk CD in their software lab library. The kids like it, and it helps teachers cover certain stories/topics in the lab when no other software is available. And they also like its discussion-creating potential!
Dear Sunday Software,
Hands down, my absolute favorite software from your catalog is “Let’s Talk.” Why? Because it challenges me to make the Bible real for me and my students. Students can’t slide by the lesson, thinking about something more interesting. The requirement for them to respond -results in collaboration between partners…students actually TALKING TO EACH OTHER about the right response!
Loraine Huchler, Director of Christian Education
Lawrenceville Presbyterian, Lawrenceville New Jersey