Conversation Starters

I don't know about you, but as a teacher there is almost always a method behind my madness. That is to say that even though a conversation may appear spontaneous and improvised, there are ways to drive a discussion in a direction that achieves a language goal. Whether you want to build vocabulary around a theme or topic or practice a verb tense, there is a way to ask a question or launch a conversation to make that happen...hopefully. Of course, I still expect spontaneity and unpredictability, but a little priming doesn't hurt.