Running Dictation… but Not.

Original Inspiration: Running Dictation by Martina Bex. I have done this style of activity several times and it’s a 👍🏼from me.

Inspiration # 2: Reverse Running Dictation (from someone in my universe of online PLN … Facebook groups or Twitter or something) Maybe Maris Hawkins. Maybe Srta Spanish?  

Today I did a reverse(ish) running dictation with my students for Brandon Brown quiere un perro. I didn’t think they were reading to read/repeat/write all the Spanish that it takes to do an original running dictation, but I knew I wanted more than just matching text to an image. So while driving to work, I came up with this and… it’s a 👍🏼from the niños. They lost their DANG MINDS because it was so fun. So… I’ll tell ya about it. 

Step 1. Get some images of your content. (Book illustrations, Wooly stills, video screenshots, etc). I used Chrome to print 2 pages on one sheet and that size worked out great.

**Since my original post (a few days ago), I have learned that it is a copyright violation to scan any part of a book, including the images (so that’s a NO on scanning into your computer to then doing any storing/sharing/manipulation of the content.) However– Some publishers, (including Fluency Matters!!), now include *downloadable images* with their Teachers’ Guides, so I will be using the guides now to get the images that I need to keep doing this activity (and many others since the graphics can be such an important part of the comprehensible input process.)**

If you’re working with other content (a MovieTalk, youtube video, music video, señor Wooly video, Netflix series etc…) just do your best to do your research and make ethical choices around getting/storing images of the content.

Back to my running activity… We had only gotten through chapter 6 (poop on the floor) but I also included an illustration from chapter 7 (doc office) as a prediction. The kids did this SO FAST that one class was actually able to reset and play twice. So I think it’s definitely possible to do this with the whole book rather than just chapters 1-7. Once I had my set of images, I made a pink set, a green set, a blue set, and a yellow set. I knew I’d need 4 teams for my biggest class.

Step 2. Next, I typed up a long-ish chunk of text to go with each illustration. The chunks were inspired by the chapter text but were not directly from the book. I wanted it to be an actual reading activity – not just something they pulled from their brain since they’d memorized it before. I printed 4 copies of this too (one blue, one green, one pink, one yellow). Since I wanted only ONE correct answer (Chunk + illustration) I tried to make sure there couldn’t be any “wait, this one couuulllldddd work with thiiisss oneeeee”

Step 3: I taped the illustrations in random places all throughout the hallway outside my classroom. I have a super small school and supportive admin who LOVE seeing kids do fun things, so this is not a problem for me. I have a colleague who prefers to do scavenger hunts IN her room rather than letting kids out into the halls (but that’s kinda the best part!)

Step 4: I cut up the chunks of text and then gave all the pinks to the pink team, all the blues to the blue team, etc.

Step 4: here’s where it gets a little unique to yours truly (that’s me). I didn’t want them to just read their chunk and go find a picture. I wanted them to have to search these chunks of text and really try to comprehend it. SO – I projected a SUPER simplified English version of the chunk on the board. I’m actually going to go back and make them even more obscure/slagish because this was still kinda easy. I used animation on Slides to pace them, so only 1 and 2 were showing for a while and then I’d secretly click for #3 to show up and the kids would get all frantic again trying to read for the correct chunk. It was cute. These are NOT in chronological order from the book.

TIME TO PLAY: OK so here’s how it worked when it was time to set the kids loose. Keep a timer going so different class periods can race against each other.

  1. Click so that the simplified English phrase pops on the screen.
  2. The team works together to find the Spanish chunk of text that best goes with the English phrase. 
  3. Once they find it, a runner takes that chunk into the hall and tries to find the matching illustration. It has to be THEIR team’s color!
  4. They bring the illustration and chunk back to their team. 
  5. By now I’ve clicked the screen and another English phrase has popped up for them to work on. So the process repeats. I tell them a new person has to run to the hall each time.
  6. When the team is “done” and has all the chunks and illustrations back in the classroom, the next step is to put them all in order. (NOT the order that I have on the board… but the actual chronological order of the book).

Your best bet is to use my pictures and videos to try and get an idea of how it worked.

Adiós yall. ✌🏼


4 thoughts on “Running Dictation… but Not.

  1. Pingback: Brillante Viernes: February 28, 2020 – Maris Hawkins

  2. Love this activity! Tried it today! My question is, have you had any trouble with a student just taking any pic from the hallway instead of the one he/she is looking for knowing they will eventually match them all? Didn’t know how to avoid that.


    • Hm… I did not have that problem. My students were so excited to be doing something fun and didn’t want to ruin it. I also have very small classes and was able to monitor what everyone was doing and give them a head nod or a “try again” if they picked the wrong one. There must be some kind of way we can build in a “Yep, you got it! You can move to the next one!” step into this process. Hmmmm. I’ll think about it.


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