Son of Hotep

story by Margaret Pearce , illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Learning intention:

I am learning to vary my voice, tone, pitch and pace so that I can adjust my interaction skills according to context.


Success criteria:                       

  • I can use appropriate interaction skills depending on context.
  • I can define the conventions of spoken interactions.
  • I can compare the conventions of informal and formal interactions.

After reading the text, have students pair up and provide each pair with a voice or video recorders. Students record themselves speaking as they take turns with a partner summarising the story. Don’t let students listen to their recordings yet.

Join pairs so that the students are now in groups of four or five. Explain that each group is to present to the class by summarising the story as a whole, with individual students summarising one or two pages each. Give groups time to rehearse before presenting. Record presentations.


Allow students to review the recordings of both their interactions with a partner and their presentation in the group. Give each student a table similar to the one below.

Informal ( with a partner) Formal (presenting to the class)

Go through the vocabulary in the table and ask students to write down what they noticed about that specific aspect for both spoken interactions. Definitions are below.

Tone: the modulation of a voice expressing a particular feeling e.g., students might find the tone of their informal interactions light, thoughtful, unsure, jovial, frustrated.

Pitch: the highness of lowness of the voice e.g., students might find their pitch changes more often in their informal interaction than in their formal one.

Volume: the degree of loudness e.g., students will likely find their voices are quieter when talking to a partner than when presenting to the class.

Pace: the speed of talking e.g., in their informal interaction, students might speak faster when they know what they’re saying and slower when they have trouble remembering events, whereas in their formal interaction they may have a more consistent pace

Vocabulary: the words used e.g., students may attempt more technical language in their formal interaction.

Other: the number of “ums” and “ahs”, the length of pauses, laughter, stumbling over sentences etc.


Students write a sentence comparing the conventions of formal and informal spoken interactions. A sample answer may be:

When I spoke to my partner in our informal interaction, I had a higher pitch, a faster pace and a happier tone. I said “um” a lot. My volume was quieter than the formal interaction, because the presentation required me to speak loud enough for the whole class to hear. I used more vocabulary from the text in the presentation because I had time to prepare what I was going to say, rather than use the words from my own head.