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dictations a deux

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Have the students get into pairs and take out one sheet of paper per pair. They must label a designated number of lines on the paper A,B,A,B... (about 6-10, depending on level and time). Tell them they must decide which person in each pair will be A and which will be B. Only A may write on lines A, and only B may write on lines B. When B talks, A writes down what he/she says on line A. A then passes the paper to B, and B writes down what A says. In this way they will create a continuous dialogue, story, poem, letter...(many possibilities). At the end of the class, each group reads aloud their creation to the class, or for maximum practice listening and speaking, they pass their work to the group next to them and read that aloud to each other, and continue passing until each group has read each paper.
I find that students tend to get very absorbed in this exercise and often get quite creative. I've used this three times successfully: Once I had students come up with alternative endings to the Titanic movie, once I had them write dialogues on ordinary conversation topics I had asked them to list at the beginning of class, and once dialogues in which they had to lie as much as possible. Try it--it works!

Rachael, Chicago
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