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
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: https://benslavic.com/workshop-handouts.pdf – 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.