Full Curriculum Conversation Topics Topic Radar (How to Pick the Topic)

Topic Radar (How to Pick the Topic)

Choosing a topic requires the evaluation of another’s interests. It merges the memories of past conversations with a particular person and builds upon those past conversations. Learners will use their Topic Radar to draw upon past experiences and pick a topic of conversation best suited to their conversation partner.

Sample Video:

Topic Radar - Keeping Our Friends Interested

VIDEO MODELING – The Topic Radar helps us think about what other people are interested in. We use this information to select a topic of conversation that would interest them. This helps us start conversations with others. In this video, Julian starts off talking about his favorite topics, but then he realizes his friend isn’t interested. He then thinks about what his friend Cole likes to talk about.

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[INTRODUCTION – animated scene]

Narrator: Using our Topic Radar helps us think about what other people like to talk about. We want to make sure we talk about more than just our favorite topics.

Boy1: Video games are so cool!

Boy2: (neutral emotion)

Narrator: This isn’t very fun for other people. If we aren’t sure what to talk about with others, we can use the Topic Radar. This helps us remember what we know about others.

Boy1: (topic radar – dog, hiking, book. Topic radar selection: book) What is your favorite book?

Narrator: People like to talk about things you have in common or about things they’re interested in. This makes them feel excited.

Boy2: I have so many favorite books! Where do I even begin?



Narrator: The skills we use are:

(1) Think about the other person’s interests

(2) Remember what you know about them. This could be their family members, hobbies, or favorite things.

(3) Look for clues in your surroundings – something a friend is holding or wearing.

Let’s see how Julian uses his Topic Radar.


[SCENE 1 – Julian and Cole are writing in their notebooks at home]

Julian: (looks up to Cole) I got to this new level of my video game last night and now there are all these weird robots and they keep making these weird noises.

Cole: Yeah. (rolls eyes) You were telling me about that at lunch. (sighs, continues writing on notebook)

Julian: Yeah, and it’s getting really hard, but I think I found their weakness.

Cole: (does not look up from his work) Great.

Julian: (notices Cole’s book) But, anyway, how is that book you’ve been reading?

Cole: Oh, it’s so good! I couldn’t put it down. (shows his book to Julian)

Julian: What’s it about?

Cole: It’s about time travel.

Julian: Time travel? That’s so cool.



Julian: When Cole came over, I had to think about what to talk about with him. I really want to tell him about the video game I’ve been playing, but I realize he didn’t look that interested. It’s not fair to only talk about what I like, so I used my Topic Radar to think about what Cole would want to talk about. I know he likes dogs, hiking, and reading. He’s been carrying that book with him all week so I knew I could ask him about that.



Narrator: When we’re talking to our friends, we can use our Topic Radar to think about new things to talk about. We can think about things they like, something they’ve told us before, or a clue that we see. This way, we know they’ll be excited to talk to us.



Narrator: So, what did we learn?

If we only talk about our favorite topics all the time, it isn’t much fun for other people. Instead, we can think about what others like to talk about.

To use the Topic Radar, we:

(1) Think about the other person’s interests.

(2) Remember what you know about them. This could be their family members, hobbies, or favorite things.

(3) Look for clues in your surroundings – something a friend is holding or wearing.


Companion Worksheet:

Every video comes with a companion worksheet for students to review what they just learned. This helps assess comprehension and promote generalization by reinforcing the concepts covered in the video.

Videos to teach Topic Radar

Interactive online games to teach Topic Radar

Worksheets and activities to teach Topic Radar

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