Dictations

Ben has been doing “word chunk dictations” in class. He demands absolute silence for a few short phrases. He said that this activity is a helpful one for this time of the year, when some of us need structure in our lives.

While this is repetitive, comprehensible input–I walk around repeating phrases that they understand while they write–it is not compelling; nor does it take in student ideas. It can also be grammar; students wrote phrases about what animals were doing, then I added “I” phrases.

It may not be TPRS, but right now my kids are SO wiggly and rambunctious that doing this with them means some minutes of peace for me. The superstars are adding extra details, so while one kid is writing “The fish flies,” another kid is writing “The fish flies. His name is Robocop. He is flying to the moon because the a giraffe is running after him. He is scared.” (I walk around and see who is ready, whisper the suggestion to write stories, and when I go by, do a quick read of the ongoing stories and snicker to show appreciation.) Then I write the correct spelling on the board, and ask in TL who spelled part of all correctly and give some praise to those who raise their hands.

In the advanced class, we’re reading Houdini. It’s pretty challenging for Russian students, but this group gets a series of verbs-of-motion grammar pop-ups. And man, oh, man…Carol is such a genius! I can ask about personal lives at every turn. This really is stuff that kids care about. They like to talk about texting during school. They like to talk about having to get up early, and who likes whom for what reasons.

Next week, I’ll walk through the Scaffolding Literacy steps with them on one of the sentences from the text. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ve kind of lost steam on that for now with the other groups because our reading isn’t high level enough.

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