Saturday, February 13, 2016

Running Dictation

One of the activities I use in my university classes is called the "running dictation".   I like this activity for many reasons.   It incorporates reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  It accomodates differing skill levels in the same class. It reinforces material in other parts of the lesson.  It gets the students up and moving, to guard against anyone falling asleep. While all this is going on,  I can watch and listen for spelling and pronunciation issues.  

 

This is how it works --- Each student needs a partner. The success of the activity in a multi-level of skills class depends on this first step. You cannot  let the most highly skilled students pair up with  other highly skilled students and lower skilled students pair up with each other.  The result with that is the higher level students get done quickly and are bored and the lower skilled students are frustrated. I have a variety of ways to pair the students up without  them knowing what I'm doing, but that is a post for another day.  


Each pair will have a runner and a writer.  If the class has an odd number of students, one group will have two writers and a runner. I tape copies of a paragraph on the back wall.  The writers sit at desks in the front of the room.  The runners go to the back of the room and read the paragraph and repeat as much as they can remember to their writers, who write it down.  The runners "run" back and forth as many times as they need to in order to get the whole paragraph. The activity is not a competition, but students usually get excited and treat it like it is.  


I watch and listen.  When I see there is a word the writers are mispelling, I write the word on the chalk board for everyone to see.  That way I can make a correction without putting anyone on the spot or embarrassing anyone.  I often hear "katakana" pronunciation, so I write the word I hear and cross off the extra vowel - example, the word "might" is often mispronounced "mighto", adding the extra "o".  I write MIGHTO on the board and cross out the "o".  


When the pair is finished, they take the written paragraph to the back and check to see how well they did. When everyone is finished, I tape copies of a second paragraph to the wall and the partners change roles.  This way both partners get the chance to run and to write. When both paragraphs are finished, I ask some questions about the story to see how well they comprehended what they read and wrote.  This activity can be used at all levels, depending on the paragraph used and the lesson taught.


I really like this one! 

3 comments:

  1. I think that sounds really fun, when fun comes you forget about 'learning' and just dive in. Brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That sounds wonderful, as Janie says, they probably forget they are learning.

    ReplyDelete