Sprinting Dictation!

12715550_1807054749522043_4895928467395311421_nI love running dictations. This week I got to do one with my largest class here at St. Martin’s! All of my classes are small, especially compared to the 35+ I once had. One of my third grade classes has 19 children in it. I decided to try something new with the running dictation and move us outside. This activity really does need more space, especially since I do allow running, and younger kids are much more likely to run into each other and bonk heads or teeth or something. Yikes!

It took more prep than usual. I wrote out a story based on one we had acted out the day prior, and cut it up into sentence strips. Then spread those (about 15 of them) out all over the playground, buildings and playsets. I taped them up in random places where the students would be running in all different directions and really spread out. Then I placed 10 clipboards with lined paper on the end of the basketball court.

Each student was paired with a friend (sometimes this is important in elementary, especially for motivation). They had to decide who would start as the runner and who would be the secretary. The runner’s job is to run around reading the sentences (input input input) and run back to their partner, the secretary, whose job it is to record those sentences on the paper. The best part about this is usually the lazy child who doesn’t  like to run chooses to be the secretary while the student who hates writing chooses to be the runner, but after 2 minutes of them sprinting around, I blow a whistle and inform them that they have to trade positions! HA!  This class LOVED the game.  They ended up sprinting all over the place and one very athletic student told me that they liked it more than gym class that day, and that they had excersized more! LOVE LOVE LOVE!


If you are in the classroom, you can do a modified version of this. Change the sprinting to jogging or fast walking 😉 and have all of your sentences taped up on one end of the room and the secretaries lined up on the other. 🙂



Until Next time,

Happy Teaching!



La Maestra Loca


  1. I love this idea and definitely want to try it with my middle schoolers in the future, with the school under construction, maybe we can do it in a hall or something..?

    1. Yes, when I was in my old middle school, in my smaller classes kids would funnel out into the hall through 2 doors and the writers would stay on the inside of the classroom, and middle schoolers are more aware of colliding with eachother’s heads! haha! Middle Schoolers LOVE running dictations!

  2. So, you would have 4-5 sentences posted in different spots, and the kids needed to relay them to their partner? Is there a winner? What do you do with the dictated sentences afterwards?

    1. Usually I try for 10-15 sentences (for middle school, maybe 8-10 for literate elementary students). After they have dictated the sentences, if they formed a story they need to figure out the order of the story and re-write them in order. Then you could have them illustrate, or circle the subjects and locations and then re-write again, changing those details. Or they could write an ending… the options are endless. I have lots of videos of running dictations on my youtube channel now, if you are interested! Here is one to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORc_7eT0pWA

  3. Love this idea of outside Running Dictations. I have put numbers or letters on the strips
    to help them keep track with the ones they have already seen since they are switching runners.

    1. You are kind…. I am evil 😉 I like that they don’t know so that they read more AND run more 😉 it just stretches it out. I do tell them how many strips there are total so they can count as they go but I love when they double or triple up and then realize that they’ve both read the same one! haha! I hope you’re somewhere warm where you can try it outside soon! It is so fun!

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