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Spaghetti Dictation

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What you need: a box of spaghetti per group.

What you do: have the students sit in pairs and give each pair strands of (uncooked) spaghetti, broken up into little pieces. I told my students they had to use the spaghetti to spell out the sentences I dictated them. The first team to finish had to write the sentence on the board. If they got it right, they got a point and wrote their names by it. If not, they returned to their seats and continued to write the sentence. Each wrong attempt went on the board until finally one of the teams came up with the answer. If they didn't, I wrote the correct answer and got the point.

I tried this out with my teenagers in high school. It was originally intended as just as warmer but every single student (including the 'cool' ones) got so involved they begged me for more sentences and it extended into a whole revision lesson. They had such a good time they didn't realise they were revising, the only speaking I did was the dictation, and there was lots of self-correction and peer-correction going on. Plus, it was great for the less academic and more kinestethic learners. And of course it worked because as well as battling against each other, they were also stealing points from me.

I tried this my elementary and intermediate teenagers and with my weak pre-intermediate adults, and i've never seen so many smiling faces.

Emma Bird
Cagliari, Sardinia

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