“Take a little break from Dictation”

Posted on December 10, 2012 by


In this lesson, shaving cream is lightly spread on the children’s desk and used as an interactive white board where a child can easily erase mistakes and rewrite words if necessary. The activity provided a nice break from the typical dictation exercises all of my students do on a regular basis.

This particular lesson was paired with composition practice from English World Book 1 for my 2nd grade class, but can be used with other ages and more difficult vocabulary. However, class size and classroom management should definitely be taken into consideration.

Materials needed:

Shaving cream,


Paper towels or dish clothes,

Well ventilated room, (if windows have to be closed because of poor weather, anticipate a strong smell)

Lesson Goal:

Practice spelling and basic sentence structure. Oral comprehension or vocabulary recognition can also be challenged whether words and phrases are given in English or Georgian.

Time breakdown:

3-5 minute prep time: Use your co-teacher to explain to the class the activity while you prep the classroom. You may have to help children clear their desks and roll up their sleeves before placing a small amount of shaving cream on their desk. We chose to make the activity into a competition to keep the focus on the task at hand and make the students pay greater attention to their work. If you choose to make it a game, be sure to explain that the activity will be challenging them on their new vocabulary and that each correctly spelled word will count as a point. One teacher will be saying new words or small sentences to be written in the shaving cream on the desk while the other keeps tally of correct words, noting words that challenge the whole class for later review.

20-30 minutes: I would suggest pairing the activity with at least one page of new material from the textbook, or a workbook activity first, to keep students engaged through the whole shaving cream activity.

Have a list of 20 vocabulary words you want addressed, placing words like “fast, fat, ship, shop, etc” near each other so students can hear the difference. Work up to smaller sentences such as “The snake is long” beginning in English, and if time permits and skill level allows have your co-teacher say some sentences in Georgian for the students to translate into English.

5-10 minute clean up: This can vary on class size and school resources. My teacher and I arrived in class with a bucket of water and had the children line up to wash their hands out the window, while one of us cleaned the desks. For a class of 6 well-behaved children it was about 5 minutes.