My students are taking longer than expected to complete an individual speaking assessment (a good thing--they are saying a lot!), so I am trying to find different kinds of activities that they can work on independently while I finish up the last few (they can only read so many different things before they get sick of it!). Here is what I came up with.
First, print out some cartoon strips that don't have dialogue (you can google "cartoon strips without text", or download The Flatmates Cartoon Strips from BBCLearningEnglish.com if you don't have any of your own). I had a selection of 5-6 for students to choose from. They do not write on the cartoon strips, so you can keep them around and not have to make new copies and waste paper. If you want students to completely develop their own story, that's fine--you don't need a storyboard--I think it makes life a little easier for them when they don't have to imagine things from nothing.
Next, print out the writing form (above) that I created to accompany it. Students have a list of basic vocabulary words to include, and the task to include three dialogue exchanges (one exchange is he says __ and she says __). This forces them to practice different verb forms.
In addition to being a good independent work activity, this makes a good component for sub plans!!