ACTIVITY: Walking Dictation

THEME: Memory

ACTIVITY: Walking Dictation

We owe this activity to Deb Swann (MFL teacher in York) – thanks Deb, I have tried a variation of this for Geography exam revision – the pupils love it, they are thoroughly engaged and IT WORKS!

Suitable for: MFL (may work with lower sets in other subjects)

You need: photocopies and blutac

When to do it: after you have introduced and practised a new topic or for revision

How it works:

  • Read and discuss a given text with the class e.g. A text about school, families etc.

  • Pupils now work in pairs.

  • They decide who will write and who will walk.

  • You stick up about 6 texts (not where students can see them, so in the storeroom, corridor etc. Tell them which sheets they will walk to so that they are not all going to the same sheet.

  • Explain that they are not allowed to shout across the room (they have to keep walking to the sheet and back to their partner who is writing).

  • They then walk to and from the sheet, dictating the text until their partner has written it all down. This usually requires a trip per sentence, often more (they get a lot of exercise!)

  • The walker can help the writer with spellings and should check what they are writing but cannot write for them.

  • As they finish they come up to the board, write their name and points for speed: so the first pair to finish gets 16, the second gets 15 and so on.

  • Once they have finished, they sit down together and translate the text (they cannot use resources to do this or check their work). You decide when you think the activity has gone on for long enough.

  • They then swap with another pair and mark it in green. They deduct one mark for every error or omission. Once done they go up to the board and deduct that mark from the speed mark. Allocate good comments etc. for those achieving top marks.

General Comments

  • They enjoy the competitive element of this but they also need to work on accuracy and presentation or they lose marks later.

  • The activity fosters cooperation.

  • They are practising all four skills (reading, speaking, listening, and writing).

  • It requires you to have eyes everywhere to make sure rules are strictly adhered to.

My Geography revision (Year 11 ) variation……….

I put graphs up instead of text (all on different topics). The pupils had to describe the graph accurately so that their partner could draw it. They then had to describe the information shown on the graph, in words, and explain the pattern shown.

I am certain that this could work in almost any subject with any age group – my year 13 will get it next- using text about the management of natural disasters. I can see the potential in Maths/Science/English/ RE….. anything in fact!


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