Purpose: Dictation Race requires students to take dictation, thereby improving listening skills. It also encourages students to pay equal attention to function words (articles, prepositions, pronouns, etc.) and content words (nouns, verbs, etc.).
Info: This activity adds a competitive element to standard dictation. Students must quickly and accurately write the sentences provided by the teacher.
Step One: The class breaks into teams of four or five students. Each team decides the order each teammate will come to the board.
Step Two: The teacher twice says a short sentence aloud. The first person from each team must race to the board, grab a marker, and write the sentence. The teacher should periodically repeat the sentence, giving students subsequent opportunities to listen for the information. (Note: If some students are somewhat older or more conservative (perhaps business professionals), or if the some wouldn't respond well to running in the class, students can start the dictation race at the board. They race to correctly finish writing the sentence.)
Step Three: The team whose student correctly completed the dictated sentence receives a point. The students at the board return to their teams, and the second set of students get ready.
Step Four: The teacher again says a short sentence aloud two times. The second person from each team races to the board, grabs a marker, and writes the sentence. Again the teacher should repeat the sentence from time to time.
Step Five: Steps Two and Three are repeated until everyone on the teams have had at least one chance to race to the board. The team with the most points at the end wins.
Variation One: This activity may be done with words as a means to improve spelling. Although it may be used with any level of student, perhaps using quite difficult words with advanced classes, it works best with beginners.