whispering lyrics dictation

Are you familiar with whispering dictations, also known as Chinese whispers? In this type of dictations, students are arranged in a line one behind another or they are sitting in rows. Then the teacher shows a sentence to the student in front. This person has to whisper it to the student sitting or standing next to him/her, who, in turn, will have to whisper it to the next person, and so on. This will finally result in a final -and usually hilarious- message slightly or completely different from the original one.

Here’s a video from BBC Learning English about whispering dictactions.

I decided to get a bit more creative and use song lyrics as source for the sentences to be whispered and add a few more elements into the picture for a more holistic experience.

Here is an example for A-2 level. Depending on your class size, set up groups of 8-12 students and ask them to stand in lines. Show this to each student in the front:

“If we took a holiday, took some time to celebrate, just one day out of life, it would be so nice”.

So when the message reaches the last person in each group, ask those students to write it down on a piece of paper and then choose a paper from a group and ask that student to go to the front and copy his/her message on the board.

Reverse the order and now whisper the next message to each person at the back of each line.

“Everybody! Spread the word! We are going to have a celebration all across the world in every nation”. Follow the same procedure. This time choose a student from another group standing at the front of a line to write the message on the board below the first one.

Follow the same procedure with:

“It’s time for the good times. Forget about the bad times”.

“And bring back all of those happy days. Put your trouble down. It’s time to celebrate”.

“Let love shine and we will find a way to come together and make things better”.

And now it’s time to listen to “Holiday” by Madonna

Have the students listen to the song and come to the board and make all necessary corrections to fix the lyrics. You may want to play the entire song once and then play and pause right after they hear each corresponding original message.

Fun, productive, maximum participation and very minimal preparation.

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