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11 Running dictation using a website

Péter Sík

Download the video here

Level: Pre-intermediate
Grade: 9
Length: 45 min
The aim of the lesson is:

  • To practice reading and memorizing texts
  • Share responsibility with your peers
  • To practice reinforce typing skills in a foreign language
  • To practice spelling
  • To be able to use the spell checker with a chosen language
  • To use the word count option


Questions / instructions

What students do

How students work


What you need

Introduction & task-setting

5 min.

During this class you will have to work in groups of three.

One person in the group will be using a word processor to write down what the other two members dictate. The texts will be your choice from a given newspaper.

The distance to run is almost the same, so work on a strategy you might want to follow.

The winner is the group to reach 200 words.

Two students find an article which has at least 200 words.

The third member is sitting somewhere else, and has to open a word processor. This student will be typing the text and has to adjust the spell checker to use English.

They also have to make sure that the words are counted regularly.

Students work preferably in groups of three

Spell checker is at the top.

Tools (Eszközök)

Language ( nyelv)

Set language (nyelv megadása)

The word counter can also be found under tools (eszközök)

Daily Mail

Daily Express

Daily Telegraph

International Herald Tribune

Carrying out the task

15 min.

Students use individual strategies of their own choice to work efficiently together. They have to spell the unknown words for their partner, who is taking notes.

Those who do the dictating, really have to do a fair amount of running to save time

They keep on working in groups of three

10 min.

Announcing the winners

Checking spelling

Arranging the text


10 min.

Now compare your text to the original, working together, and also try to make sense of what you are reading, by discussing the content.

Homework assignment

5 min.

Translate the article into your native language but you can use only 25 minutes. It does not matter how much you manage to do, the successful effort is much more important.

Individually at home possibly using an on-line dictionary.


General introduction

This class is focusing on using home sites where there are words with their explanation.

Using the Internet saves time when someone is looking up a word and gives a chance to speed up any kind of vocabulary checking. There is also a possibility to evaluate what seems to be an obvious explanation, thus students might be able to give a correct circumscription of a word they do not know.

By seeing the correct explanation and providing also false ones students will get used to observing words in a context.

The activity step by step

1. It is an advantage if students are already familiar with the “Call my bluff” concept from earlier language classes.

2. During the previous class they received the instructions, how they can sign up for an access if they are to use the Macmillan English Dictionary (MED). The same information was also sent out for them in an e-mail msg.

3. Success with the sign-up was checked by the e-mail sent by the students to T’s e-mail account.

4. Students will use a site to come up with words rather unfamiliar:

5. They get a year each in the “Archives” section of the site, maybe also the month where they have to choose a word with its correct explanation. The word has to be one they fully understand.

6. Students write down the word and its phonetic transcript and add the correct explanation as A, B, or C. For this they are using a numbered Post-it label.

7. Now they come up with two false explanations and write it down too.

8. On the other side of the slip they write down the correct answer in ink.

9. Concept checking is essential, for this reason the first round is checked thoroughly through monitoring, helping and reading out some slips aloud.

10. After the second round students get a slip of paper with numbers to go through the slips and guess the correct answer, while they also write down the word, practice their pronunciation.

11. In the final phase, they gat a feedback on how they did.

12. Then they get a chance to compare the explanations of the two dictionaries.

13. Finally the homework is set: They have to come up with five more “Call my bluff” items at home and write them on slips of paper.

General advice

Try to make sure that they DID sign up to MED and keep contact with your students to provide assistance.

Make sure they understand the task and use legible handwriting

It is perhaps enough to let them think it over and write 2-3write items, that would be quite enough as a starter.

As the two different home sites use totally different phonetic transcript, make sure students understand the difference.

Technical tips

Yo need enough spae on a clean surface, so that students can move about freely.

Do not use felt pens that are too thick.

The correct answers on the other side of the slip should be written by a ball point pen, otherwise it might be read from the other side as well

Preparation for class

The following checklist might be useful.

1. Check computers before the session

2. Prepae the numbered Post-it tags

3. Prepare the right felt pens

4. Make sure you will have enoug spae on the a clean surface

5. You can have a Macmillan dictionary to show them at the beginning of the class


Instead of reading out one example made by a student, the teacher can give an example too. MED can be used later on efficiently with other classes too. It is also possible to let students use an earphone to improve their pronunciation.