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4.3: Past Tense Practice: Dictogloss Activity

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    For the Instructor

    Choose a short reading below. Read and discuss the pre-reading questions with the class. Then read the text slowly. Address student questions about unfamiliar vocabulary. Read the text at least three times. Ask students to take notes on the second or third time through.

    Students write a summary of the text, using the correct verb tense. You may have students write individual summaries, then share with a partner, or work in pairs or groups to write a summary. Ask pairs or groups to share their product. Classmates can listen and make corrections, especially in verb tense.

    Short Reading 1

    Read three times; students take notes then summarize...

    Pre-reading Questions

    • Do women have the right to vote in the U.S.? In your country? When did women win this right?
    • Do you think there should be more women in politics? Why or why not?


    Jeannette Rankin was born on June 11, 1880. Her parents were John and Olive Rankin. She grew up in Montana and graduated from the University of Montana in 1902. After she graduated, she worked for women's right to vote in Washington State and Montana. She stayed in the congress for one term. She ran for congress again in 1940 and won. She was a pacifist. This means she was against war and believed the U.S. should not participate in any war. She voted against the U.S. joining World War 1 in 1917 and World War 2 in 1941. She was the only congressperson who voted against joining World War 2.

    Short Reading 2

    Read three times; students take notes then summarize...

    Pre-reading Questions

    • What do you know about climate change?
    • Who are some famous climate change activists?
    • What do climate change activists do?


    Greta Thunberg is a leader in the movement against climate change. She was born on January 3, 2002 in Sweden. In 2018, she began spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament. She held a sign that said "School strike for climate." She wanted them to take stronger action to stop climate change. At first, she was alone, but soon, other students joined her protests. Together, they organized a school climate strike called Fridays for the Future.

    Thunberg addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2018. Students began striking every week around the world. In 2019, millions of students protested around the world, asking for stronger action to stop the climate crisis.

    In May 2019, Time magazine showed Thunberg on their cover. They called her the person of the year. In September 2019, she addressed the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.

    Short Reading 3

    Read three times; students take notes then summarize...

    Pre-reading Questions

    • Have you ever swum in the ocean?
    • What are some dangers of swimming in the ocean?
    • What is the farthest a human can swim?

    Alternative Pre-reading

    Diana Nyad's TED talk is available here...


    Diana Nyad is the first person to swim from Havana, Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. She swam 110 miles (180 kilometers) and fifty-three hours. She was 64 years old when she accomplished her goal.

    How did she do it?

    Nyad attempted the swim five times from 2010 to 2013 and did not succeed until her fifth try in 2013. Each time she tried, she had to stop because of storms, jellyfish stings, asthma, and shoulder pain. On Sept. 2, 2013, she reached her goal despite these setbacks.

    She trained by swimming eight to fourteen hours in the ocean every other week. While she was training, she gathered a team of about 35 people. These people helped her while she was swimming. One person paddled beside her in a kayak and used a device to keep sharks away from her. Others helped her put on a suit to keep jellyfish from stinging her. In order to help her swim in a straight line, her team dragged a streamer during the day and LED lights at night behind a boat and she followed them. To keep her mind busy while she was swimming, she thought about books and movies, counted, and sang.

    When asked about her motivation, she answered, "Because I'd like to prove to the other 60-year-olds that it is never too late to start your dreams."

    File:Diana Nyad routes.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Nyad's Havana to Key West swimming routes since 1978

    This page titled 4.3: Past Tense Practice: Dictogloss Activity is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sara Ferguson.

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