Running Dictation has been around for a long time, but I just found out that we owe some credit to Jason Fritze! Thanks to Martina Bex for the connection. If this activity is completely new to you, please see the how-to at the end of this post.

Since many have already shared about how to implement RDs, I’ve tried to add something new by brainstorming new ways to connect the activity to some of our other methods:

  • La Persona Especial – Allow the class to prove how well they listened to their fellow students and how much they care about their Personal Especial events! Students will complete the RD in order to review stories of each other’s lives and interests.
  • TPRS – Did you just act or read a story? Repetition of high frequency target structures is a must! Students will summarize their learning via RD.
  • Story Scripts – Who doesn’t love Anne Matava’s story scripts? Don’t stop with the skits, because our kids need us to retell those amazing nuggets over and over again. Let them show their comprehension with RD.
  • MovieTalk – You spent so much time planning for that MovieTalk! Why waste your efforts by not squeezing every ounce of CI out of your heavenly performance? Run & Dictate that MovieTalk!
  • Calendar Talk – Let’s go over the month’s events from our Calendar Talks, thanks Tina Hargaden, using 1 event from each day in a RD.
  • CWB/CardTalk – Do you use Ben Slavic’s Circling With Balls? After you have talked about everyone’s pets and favorite activities, or whatever topics are on their cards, use RD to recap and let students prove what they remember about their friend’s PQAs.
  • OWI – Creating One Word Images (Ben Slavic) with my students is one of my favorite activities. The language is always high frequency, it can get as complex as you want it to be, and it is remembered with the help of the images hanging around your room. Capitalize on these fun experiences using RD.
  • Outside – This is a perfect excuse to go outside. Free those incarcerated lovelies and let them run!
  • Deskless – Did you need another reason to go desk-free? Running dictation is one of those activities that proves its value. I would if I could!
  • Music – Are you looking for new ways to use your target language music, besides our classic Cloze? Students can retell the events in the song via RD. Oh, and here is a list of many more music activities!
  • Prepositions – If you use need to review prepositions of place and direction, you could have the students demonstrate the meaning of each sentence by moving their bodies accordingly. For example, “The tall student is to the right of the shorter student.”
  • Commands – If you have to practice commands, create sentences that enable the students to act-on the commands.

Just in case you don’t know how to facilitate RD, I’ve written the nuts and bolts below.

  1. Write a script, a list of events, or a story. Make sure that the font is huge so you minimize the students shoving to see it.
  2. Hang it out of view of the students. It could be far away or around a corner.
  3. Divide the students into groups. The number of students in each group depends on the number of tasks your particular RD requires. Typically there are 3 per team, but not every activity is the same. Decide in advance if they can change jobs in the middle of the activity.
  4. Here are some common jobs:
    • The Runner (required) – runs to the reading, reads, memorizes, retells, and repeats.
    • The Writer (required) – listens to the runner and writes.
    • The Actor – reads the writer’s paper and acts-out the events
    • The Translator – reads the writer’s paper and translates to L1.
    • The Organizer – reads the writer’s paper and orders it chronologically or some other way.
    • The Matchmaker – reads the writer’s paper and connects the phrases to pictures or comics.
    • The Artist – reads the writer’s paper and draws, sculpts, paints, or takes photos of the events to prove comprehension. Thanks for the role idea, Julia Stutzer!
  5. Explain the rules based on what you want the final product to look like. Here are some things to think about:
    1. Tell your students that they should not start yelling the target language chunks before you they arrive at the writer.
    2. Implement a consequence for pushing and shoving, or just threaten with a furrowed brow.
    3. If you want to end the activity once all groups have finished, do you have a plan for those who finish early?
    4. Start the activity, have fun, and don’t let them see that the chaos makes you nervous.
    5. Save some time after the activity to reflect and share, and to connect the product to your overall purpose.
    6. If students have created a product, hang or display it in your classroom for a gallery walk or to incorporate it later.
  6. Give each group the papers they need to complete the tasks. Perhaps it’s just a lined sheet, but you might also require them to match images, to draw, or to order something else.
  7. Is this a competition for your students? If so, do they win if they finish first or if they finish with accuracy?

Thanks for visiting, and feel free to leave comments below!




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