Monday, November 7, 2016

Coming Full Circle - Pliny and Dictations

In my last post, I detailed how I built my Pliny the Elder unit for this year and discussed some upcoming posts. For this second post, I want to talk about how dictations have evolved for me and how we are using them in this unit.

I am still a big fan of the dictatio in the way discussed here. It is a great Monday activity and a great activity for days when I need a brain break. It lets the high flyers take all the notes they want and ask those questions burning in their brains and lets those needing extra time move at a slower pace. It is also a great way to introduce key vocabulary.

I also love the dictatio currendo and its alternate version: scrambled eggs. They provide unique ways to still achieve much that the regular dictatio does, but provides an opportunity for movement. I used the scrambled eggs dictation for the octopus story.

Today I want to talk about a few variations of the dictatio that I've been working on in this Pliny unit. They each highlight different things and are used in different ways:

Monster Building Relay Race

This is a play off of Rachel's Relay Race using a dictation. I took sentences students had seen in a dictatio activity and had purposefully left off a vital clue. For this particular instance, students were reading (unknowingly) about the unicorn. They had already received the following information:
  • head of a deer
  • body of a horse
  • tail of a boar
  • feet of an elephant
What they were missing was the monster's single long horn. 

When I created the relay race cards, I included distracting sentences that had nothing to do with the monster in question. This tested student's ability to understand. After they had all the sentences (including the distractors) they were to put together the monster and show me the picture. The process was as follows:
  1. Send a runner to get a sentence.
  2. When the whole group understands the sentence, send a different runner to find the corresponding picture. 
  3. When the whole group agrees that the sentence matches the picture, send a different  runner to check with magistra. 
  4. Repeat this process until ALL sentences and pictures are matched.
  5. Using these, build the monster based on the dictation, determining which one piece of new information also applies to the animal. 


This one is incorrect. The pieces do not fit the description and one is mislabeled.
This one is correct. All the pieces fit the description and they are correctly labeled.

QR Code Dictatio

This is a new activity that I adapted from Meredith White's QR activity (@PRHSspanish). I created QR codes for students that had a sentence with a clue regarding the monster on it and a sentence as to the location of the next clue. Students had to run from location to location looking for clues and writing them down. Then, they had to make an educated guess (without outside resources) as to what the monster was. I did not confirm or deny the accuracy of their guess, but I would send them back to try again if their guess did no make use of the clues.

After all students had discovered all the clues (and checked them with me), we went over each sentence. Since they had already worked on these in groups, there were few questions and going over it went quickly. Students took notes on the new words as well.


Student work from Latin II - vrykolacae story
Here is a link to the clues Rachel gave her Latin III students for the "monster" Fama. 

Sub Day Dictationes

Unfortunately, I was out twice during dictatio days for this unit. What I ended up doing was a variation on sub day plans we've used in past years. This particular plan required:

  1. Students to read sentences that contained new key words (identified at the top). 
  2. Draw a picture of these sentences (since they detailed the physical description of the monster).
  3. Write their own Latin sentence using the new word.
After students complete ALL the sentences, they were to take information they had already obtained using the QR code dictatio the previous day and this new information to make a new guess about the identity of the monster. No one guessed right (and I refuse to tell them if they were right). It kept the mystery and it required the students to use Latin to make connections and let me in on their thought process. I can see how good of use they make of clues and Latin descriptions.



I love finding news ways of doing my favourite or most useful activities. Do you have any other ways to do a dictation? I still haven't written the final story's lesson plans, so I am all ears! 

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