Input-Based Strategies & Activities

**Updated 1.19.19 with Individual Word Race**
**Check out the companion post on Getting Texts!**

When choosing the class agenda beyond each particular day’s routine, it dawned on me that I couldn’t remember all my favorite activities. Thus, here are the input-based strategies & activities I’ve collected over the years, all in one place. Although this began as only reading activities, I decided that it didn’t matter as much whether students were reading or listening. Why? These input-based activities start with some kind of text either way, so beyond variety, what really matters most to me when planning for class is providing students with input, and what kind of prep goes into getting the text/activity. Everything is organized by prep, whether no instructions, no prep, printing only, or low prep. You won’t find prep-intensive activities here beyond typing, copying, and cutting paper. Oh, and for ways to get that one text to start, try here. Enjoy!

**N.B. Any activity with the word “translation” in it means translating what is already understood. This should NOT be confused with the more conventional practice of translating in order to understand.**

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Dictation & Trashketball Combo

We’ve heard from Bill VanPatten that true communication has a purpose (i.e. cognitive-informational, and psycho-social). In the latest Tea with BVP, Bill stated those two purposes more clearly in teacher-friendly terms in that “we communicate in order to learn, build, create, entertain, and socialize.” My students love creating, entertaining, and socializing, so those are the three main purposes in my classroom.

Dictation, however, can easily have NONE of those purposes, lowering it down to the acceptable “activity,” but possibly the unacceptable “exercise” level, thus, rendering it non-communicative. Many of us have used Running Dictation (see an overview at the end of this post) to keep students moving and engaged, but in order to give dictation more of a social and entertaining purpose, I’ve combined it with the competitive Trashketball.

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