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    try this
    By j

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    First, decide if sentence dictation is a necessary skill for your students. For my fourth graders it is. We have to take a language arts test that requires the students to listen to a passage and take notes on it, so the sentence dictation serves as a good precursor for developing listening and transcribing skills simultaneously. If you determine that the skill is necessary for your group, then try to scaffold a bit with the skill until they build more independence. Use sentences that use their spelling words and let them know at the beginning of the week which words will be part of the dictation test. Then review basic words that they keep making errors on like want, went, there and their,etc. Tell students that they must practice these words. When you give the test, do what I do. I give 5 sentences. Each sentence contains two spelling words (fortunately for me, the spelling series I use gives "ready-made" sentences). I deduct 5 points for any misspelled spelling word and 1 point for any capitalization or punctuation error. I also deduct one point for any word that is NOT a spelling word, but is misspelled AND it is a common enough word that I feel my fourth graders should know how to spell. This is sometimes a judgement call, but it all usually works out. After awhile, stop letting them know which words will be on the test, but for now it might help. Give it a try!

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