Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Drawing Dictation

This is a great listening comprehension activity, which I learned this summer from Linda Li in her Fluency Fast Mandarin class. It is very much like a regular dictation, but the difference though is that instead of having students write down the target language sentences as you say them, they draw them! I would recommend that you do this as a post-reading activity, instead of as a pre-reading activity.

  1. Take 6 sentences from a story which you have been going over in class. These sentences need to be "drawable."
  2. If needed, write any target vocabulary on the board with their English meaning.
  3. On a sheet of paper, tell students to draw a 2x3 grid which should fill the entire paper.
  4. Have students number each box from 1-6.
  5. Tell students “I will say a sentence, and your job is to draw a visual representation of that sentence. You will have 2-3 minutes to draw.” 
  6. Begin reading the first sentence slowly. It will be necessary to repeat the sentence many times. 
  7. Continue with the other sentences. Remind students that words are on the board if they need them.
  8. At the end, repeat the sentences and tell students to check their drawings to ensure that they have drawn everything needed.
Alternate version - ask students to draw their visual representations with their NON-DOMINANT hand. This will take a lot more time for students to complete and will cause them to focus more on what they are drawing (which means you saying more repetitions of the sentence).

  1. The sentences need to be very comprehensible, because students are drawing what they hear. If the sentences are too long or are incomprehensible, students will become frustrated.
  2. Students were much more engaged with this type of dictation instead of a regular one, since it involved them having to draw a visual representation of what they heard, as opposed to just writing down words. 
  3. Because students had to draw what they heard, it was necessary for me to repeat the sentences many times, which meant LOTS of great repetitions. 
  4. Students did not complain about doing this type of dictation, because it did not "feel" like a regular dictation.  
  5. Because students were already familiar with the story and vocabulary, it was not a difficult activity for them to do.
  6. This is another great post-reading activity for going over a story and to get in more repetitions.
Example (taken from a Movie Talk called MonsterBox)
  1. Ecce puella et duo monstra: parvum monstrum et mediocre monstrum! (Behold a girl and two monsters: a small monster and a medium monster)
  2. Faber facit casam parvo monstro (The craftsman makes a house for the small monster)
  3. Puella est laeta, quod monstro placet casa (The girl is happy, because the monster likes the house)
  4. Ecce puella et tria monstra: parvum monstrum, mediocre monstrum, et magnum monstrum. (Behold the girl and three monster: a small monster, a medium monster, and a big monster).
  5. Faber facit casam mediocri monstro (The craftsman makes a house for the medium monster).
  6. Faber non facit casam magno monstro, quod magnum monstrum est molestum (The craftsman does not make a house for the big monster, because the big monster is annoying).