Dictation Race You may be surprised to find a dictation activity in the Pronunciation section of the site - but this is dictation with a difference. This activity focuses students' attentions on the absolute importance of correct pronunciation, if not the first time - certainly the successive occasions! With 44 phonemes all battling for an English speaker's attention, mixing them up can produce mis-pronounced words and, very often, totally different words. This dictation activity will show your students that, to win the game, they must get it right. First you should choose a short passage of writing suitable for your level of students. Reading that should make you realise that this is an activity which is adaptable for every level - even beginners. Seeing as it's a pronunciation activity, you might like to focus on certain phonemes your students are having difficulty with. If they are having spelling troubles, put some proper nouns into the passage that will force them to spell it out for their partners. The students will also get good practice at explaining punctuation to the student who is copying down. Words like full stop/period, comma, speech marks, inverted commas, dash, hyphen could all be useful. Ok, so now you have selected or written a suitable passage. Here is one that I use for elementary students: On Sunday, Tom gets up at 10 o'clock. Then he reads his newspaper in the kitchen. He has breakfast at 11.30 and then he telephones his mother in Scotland. In the afternoon, at 1.00, Tom plays tennis with his sister and after that, they eat dinner in a restaurant. At 6.00, Tom swims for one hour and then he goes by bike to his brother's house. They talk and listen to music. Tom watches television in the evening and drinks a glass of Jack Daniel's whiskey. He goes to bed at 11.30. This passage is then pinned to the blackboard or some other suitable place which is approximately an equal distance from each of the pairs of students. It must be printed out on a piece of paper and not written up on the blackboard - for then, the "copying" student would simply read it off the blackboard. Each duo of students is then split into one who goes to the blackboard to read and remember the passage word by word and the other student who sits at their desk awaiting their partner, ready to copy the passage down. And that is that! The "reading" student walks/runs from the blackboard to their partner as quickly as possible in order to "transfer" the text from the piece of paper to their partner. The "copying" students writes down what he/she is told and ask for any clarification such as spelling and punctuation. The first pair of students to finish are the winners, subject to the teacher's final marking of the finished text. It may be a good idea to let everyone finish and time them - then take off seconds at the end for mistakes. Suggested Rules: Any use of mother tongue - 5 seconds penalty. Applicable even for spelling using the mother tongue alphabet. Any copying from other "copying" students - 10 seconds penalty. All proper nouns (names, cities, brand names, etc) must be spelt out. No pushing, shoving, etc between "reading" students up at the board. Maybe two or three copies spaced along the board will help. At the end, all students' times are recorded and the teacher checks the accuracy of the finished product. Each individual teacher can decide on a sytem on time penalties such as 5 seconds for a spelling mistake and 10 seconds for a sentence which makes no sense due to mis-copying. One final point. This is an activity which can obviously be done in a slow, controlled way or in a high-energy, runabout fashion. If you are looking for a "class-waker", then this is a possible solution.
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