Another Bailout Move – Stretching Out CI By Using Dictée

I have mentioned this before but just to repeat – we should never, ever, feel scared when doing CI and we always have dictée to bail to, at any time during any class on any day, along with the other bail out moves. This is especially true for new teachers who don’t have their sea legs under them yet. Specifically, in a story, you can write.

One day I wanted to do a story but all I could remember was the structures. I’m one who needs the script in front of me but I didn’t have it that day. So I started to PQA the two structures:

  • had warned
  • became

but didn’t know if I could do that for the entire period. That was a big order, as the kids are level 2 and speak Spanish and get things really quickly. One thing I could have done is spun some extended PQA, mini-stories, little funny scenes out of the information I was getting from the kids during the PQA.

But I had another, safer option – a bailout to dictation. The class was starting to drag as the kids clearly had pretty much acquired the two structures, so I stopped the PQA with 15 minutes left in class and gave a dictée on one sentence from the PQA that we had created up to that point in class:

…Cynthia had warned Edna to not do origami in class*, but Edna had refused to do it and Cynthia became angry and said, “Edna, stop!”….  

It took all of fifteen minutes to get half way through dictation of that sentence. Talk about an insurance policy when you aren’t “feeling it” in a CI class! I’ll finish that sentence on Monday and then we will pick up with the story. It’s called learning to s-t-r-e-t-c-h classes out using dictée. It works.

*with classes that lack imagination I don’t ask PQA, I tell PQA. There are two girls in the back of the room and one tries to fold paper in class – she is one of those paper folders – and I don’t want to get negative with her bc she pays attention, but I made light of it and joked about it in class by TELLING the class what happened in the PQA sentence above between the two girls (who don’t know it but are soon to become sisters in French class).

For more on dictée: – scroll to page 28

One more point to add: We had worked some really short RT with the sentence we later used for dictée, supporting something Carol said in her Denver workshop that RT can be just one sentence or one action and can last just a minute or so and doesn’t have to be a big production. So in the above class the student, Cynthia, had to tell Edna to stop about 8 times before she said it loud enough to be acceptable to the class.



2 thoughts on “Another Bailout Move – Stretching Out CI By Using Dictée”

  1. Forgive me if this has already been explained somewhere on the forum but how were you able to go for 15 min with this one sentence? I have attempted dictee a few times in my classes and it seems to go well but I usually need to give them 10 short fragmented sentences OR 10 short completed sentences. I’ve never had it last with ONE sentence. Am I missing something?

  2. No me recuerdo but I think we started spinning some discussion out of it. It couldn’t have lasted that long without some kind of interruption which I shouldn’t have allowed, but probably started, during dictée. I probably saw the chance to spin some auditory CI and took it. Good question.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

CI and the Research (cont.)

Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could

Research Question

I got a question: “Hi Ben, I am preparing some documents that support CI teaching to show my administrators. I looked through the blog and

We Have the Research

A teacher contacted me awhile back. She had been attacked about using CI from a team leader. I told her to get some research from

The Research

We don’t need any more research. In academia that would be a frivolous comment, but as a classroom teacher in languages I support it. Yes,



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben