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Printable skit #7 student directions: Stay on the subject

One of the main things that all good communicators should do is stay on the subject.

Skit 7 clip for staying on the subject
Debbie Dunn aka DJ Lyons

Here is a fun skit that will help illustrate this point for your students. The students will be directed to display a bad communication skill. Then the class will guess which technique they should have done to be better communicators.

Please note: Steps 1 through 3 described below only have to be done once. As you act out the remaining skits, you can jump directly to Step 4 for each subsequent skit.

Additional note: The skits can be enacted in any order.

Step 1:

Put up a large sheet of chart paper and label it with the following words: “What do Good Communicators do?

Teacher Says or Asks: Do I have a volunteer to read this title out loud with excitement and enthusiasm?

Students Respond: (Choose an eager volunteer to read the poster aloud.)

Step 2:

Teacher Says or Asks: We are going to act out 13 skits that demonstrate some BAD Communication Techniques. There are 2 people in each skit. Therefore, there are 26 parts in all.

After each skit, we will decide what was the GOOD Communication Skill that should have been used by each pair of student actors. This GOOD Communication Skill will be written on the chart paper.

We need a volunteer to record these techniques on the chart paper using one of these thick magic markers.

Students Respond: (Choose a class recorder with very neat handwriting for this activity.)

We will keep this chart posted in the classroom as a good reminder of the thirteen good Communication Skills that will help each of you be a much more effective communicator.

Printable Student Directions download

For your convenience, print out two copies of each skit. That way, each pair of students will have a student script from which to read. You might want to print out a third copy for you to reference.

Each print-out contains three pages:

  1. Page 1: The actual student script
  2. Page 2: An example of the communication skills chart
  3. Page 3: An answer key

Naturally, you will only need to print out the first page for the students. The other two pages are for your eyes only.

Step 3:

Teacher Says or Asks: I will choose two volunteers at a time to act out each skit.

I will hand you two actors a page of directions for you to read and perform. This is every word and/or action that you are going to utilize as you act out your particular communication skill.

Instead of acting out the good communication skill, you are going to act out its opposite. You are going to demonstrate a BAD communication skill.

The class members will attempt to guess what communication skill you are abusing.

Class, the way this will work, you will give the actors a minute or two to act out their skit. As soon as you figure out what they are doing wrong, SILENTLY raise your hand. Once they have concluded their skit, I will strive to call on one of you with a raised hand.

The Class Recorder will then write down what they should have done on the chart paper.

As for the actors, I will whisper some help to each pair of actors, so that they will be sure to act out the action correctly.

Any Questions?

Students Respond: (Respond to Questions. Then choose two students per improvisational skit. There are 13 skits total.)

Step 4:

Skit #7 of 13: Stay on the Subject

Teacher Says or Asks: For this skit, I need two volunteers: one to play a Teacher and one to play a Student.

Students Respond: (Choose two eager volunteers.)

Whisper these instructions to the actors

Teacher whispers to actors only: Which one of you wants to play the TEACHER and do a lot of reading out loud? The TEACHER should read from the script found below.

The other volunteer, playing the role of the STUDENT, will sit in a chair up front. He or she should look very puzzled and frustrated as the teacher keeps going off on tangents.

Here is the script that the two actors will use:

==========SKIT SCRIPT==========

Teacher: There was once this princess who had never laughed. She had never even smiled. Speaking of smiles, I once had to wear braces for five years. Back to my story.

Polite Student: ??? (Look very puzzled and frustrated as the teacher keeps going off on tangents.)

Teacher: Her father, the King, said, “If anyone can make my daughter laugh, not only can he marry her, he can get two bags of gold.” I sure would like it if someone gave me two bags of gold. Even one bag of gold would do. Oh, well.

Polite Student: ??? (Look very puzzled and frustrated as the teacher keeps going off on tangents.)

Teacher: On the other side of town, there lived this fellow Jack and his Mama. I once knew a boy named Jack. He was real nice. Now, I never did know a real king.

Polite Student: ??? (Look very puzzled and frustrated as the teacher keeps going off on tangents.)

Teacher: Jack and his Mama lived off by themselves and never heard anything about that king’s announcement. I wonder what the announcements will be about this afternoon during 6th period?

Polite Student: ??? (Look very puzzled and frustrated as the teacher keeps going off on tangents.)

Teacher: One day, Jack’s Mama said, “Jack, you’ve lazed around here long enough. You go get yourself a job.” “Okay, Mama,” Jack said. Of course, you know that my job is being a teacher. That’s right. My job is being a teacher. Well, back to my story about Jack.

Polite Student: Huh?

==========END OF SKIT SCRIPT==========

Step 5:

Directions for Teacher: Even if students raise their hands with an answer, give the actors a minute or two to act out their part.

Remind the class to not interrupt the skits. Give them a chance to finish the entire skit.

After the skit

Teacher Says or Asks: What did the volunteer playing the role of the teacher NOT do?

Students Respond: The teacher did NOT stay on the subject.

Teacher Says or Asks: Exactly. The teacher did NOT stay on the subject. He or she kept interrupting the story to make stray comments that were NOT part of the story.

Teacher Says: Class Recorder, please write STAY ON THE SUBJECT on the Chart Paper.

Teacher concluding statement: Good Communicators need to Stay On The Subject.


To get links to remaining skits, return to Teach good communication skills with these fun student skits


Please note: This article was originally published early in 2010 under an alternate title utilizing the former Examiner publishing tool. Not only has it now been updated and improved, it now includes a free PDF student skit directions download as a considerable time-saving measure for you busy teachers.

Please note: The story used in the skit was a short excerpt from Richard Chase’s story called “Jack and the King’s Girl.” To hear the rest of the story, watch the video performed by professional storyteller, Debbie Dunn.

* If you would like to hear more of Richard Chase’s story called “Jack and the King’s Girl,” you can watch Debbie Dunn performing this story on at


See Debbie Dunn’s articles on | School Conflict Resolution | K-8 Classroom Activities |Women’s Health | Storytelling Website

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