Sometimes we just need to get the kids up and moving. This week was one of those weeks for me. I am not sure about you all, but this is generally a super LONG stretch of school. This year, even more than in years past, kids are restless.
So, what did I do this week? I did my own version of a running dictation. I have seen this from lots of amazing teachers, so it isn’t an original idea or anything, but it is something that I have cobbled together AND works for all levels I teach.
- Find a short story (or write one based on shared writing or something you have done in class) at the level of your class. Print it out and cut it into sentences. For upper levels, you may have 3-4 sentences per piece. For lower levels, you may have just 1-2 sentences per piece. Make sure you have two more pieces than groups. So, if you have 6 groups, you need 8 pieces. (If it is available, you can print it out on a different color paper for every group you have. I do this with my rowdy classes so they think that everyone has a different story and don’t try to share with friends. I teach middle school currently, so sometimes this is needed.)
- Draw out cartoon boxes to match the number of pieces of the story you have. If your story has 8 pieces, you draw 8 cartoon boxes. If you have 10 pieces to the story, you need 10 boxes. Number them. Make two copies per group.
- Cut the pieces of the story and tape them up in the hallway. Do not number them. Do not put them up in order.
- Put kids in groups of 3-4 (depending on class size).
- Explain the jobs. The scribe is obviously writing, the motivator roots on the team and makes sure they are all doing their part, the messenger is going to the story pieces and the illustrator is drawing. ** If you have groups of 3, the motivator position can be shared by the illustrator and scribe.
- Explain the goal is for one student to go into the hallway and find a paper and read it. They must come back and tell the scribe IN the class language. It may take several trips to the paper in the hallway. That is okay.
- Then, the illustrator must illustrate the sentence (s).
- Once that has happened, everyone rotates roles and students continue in this fashion until they have filled in every box.
- Finally, they work together to put the story in the order they believe it should go on the second piece of paper and create a final copy.
- When this is done, they can turn it in to be graded or, if time permits, they can check and go back to fix it after feedback
This can be a 1-2 day activity, depending on the level of your students. Hope this gets everyone up and moving…and gives you a day or two of rest while they get lots of input and practice!
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