The teacher notes 9 writing failures out of 24 students at the first stage. He analyzes the situation and works to imagine a new method to make learning new words more meaningful and motivating for his group of 6.e year. From there are born the crazy dictations, where pride, pleasure and physical activity come together!
Stéphane Côté teaches in 6e year at the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys. He found a really fun way to help his students succeed in writing. First of all, he started from an observation: "although the dictations in my class are weekly, in the context of writing, the vocabulary of my students remains poor and these new" studied "words are often absent".
He first analyzed the situation from a theoretical point of view. Students are given words to study, and when it comes time to dictate, they don't perform. They are learning, but the retention and recall process is not working. It therefore lacks ingredients, which he identifies as meaning, pride and motivation (pleasure).
After shuffling everything, he came to a rather original activity, which he called "mad dictation". His degree in teaching physical education has something to do with it! In fact, dictation is now taking place ... at the gym!
The students are paired up, each on one side of the gymnasium. Student A reads a part of a sentence on his sheet, then runs to tell his partner. Student B must write it correctly. Then, he reads a part of a sentence on his own sheet, and runs to join student A who has returned to his side. And so on. After, back in class, each corrects the other's dictation. This first experiment resulted in an improvement of 8 % in results. However, still no trace of the new words in the written productions… Not enough for our teacher.
The mad dictation has therefore been revised and improved. This time, the dictation sentences were written by the young people themselves. The pride of seeing their name at the end of the line could be read in their faces. The results have increased by 14 %, and there are only 2 failures left. Interestingly, two boys who usually were in the 30's % had 86 % and 93 % respectively!
Now Stéphane Côté is looking for how to recover the 2 young people who are still not successful. He also looks forward to seeing if the new words appear in future written productions.
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