Short Dictations for Course 2 Units

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted something on this blog. Too much time going into U.S.A Learns Facebook page.  If you haven’t seen the USAL facebook page yet, check it out, ( “Like” the page, and send your students there too. Everyone can benefit from a daily reminder from Facebook about topics of the day or special links to U.S.A. Learns.

I checked in here today and realized that I had found this great resource some months ago, but forgot to do the post. So, here’s a new “Partner in Practice” link for you. Thank you Fremont Adult School for these short dictations that correspond with the English for All video series, the basis of Course 2 in U.S.A. Learns.  I didn’t listen to them all, but it seems there may be 5 sentences per unit.

This is great reinforcement of vocabulary from the units, and of course good listening and writing practice for your students.  The dictations are meant to be sent to the teacher for correction.  If you have students working independently you may want to type up an answer sheet for them and let them correct their own sentences.

Short Dictations for Course 2  



2nd Course: Everyday Life Skills

This is yet another one of my favorite websites. GCF Everyday Life has the coolest interactive Life Skills activities I’ve seen on the Internet. (and they’re all FREE!) Students get listening and reading/scanning for specific information practice with beautiful art. Students will need to drag and click locations or pictures to complete the activities, but there is a tutorial to help them with this navigation. However, showing them how to do it would probably be a whole lot faster. If you show them one activity, they should catch on to all the others quickly.

The link above will give you the entire menu of activities. I’ve listed some below that I think fit particularly well with the story lines, but it might be good to just let students explore the menu and make their own choices. They are all valuable Life Skill lessons. Each activity also has a printable handout. You could use it to pre-teach some vocabulary and concepts, or use it as review after they’ve done the activity online. Students may learn some of the more difficult vocabulary through the images and their exploration of the scenes.

USALearns tie-in stories would be U14: Women’s Changing Roles, where Benjamin promises to help Marta in the household if she lets him move back in. Benjamin really messes up when it comes to keeping house and paying bills, so these would all be perfect “lessons” for him. Also in U8: Men’s Changing Roles, Karina asks Viktor to take on more responsibility in the house. Any of these links below would be a nice supplement to either of those stories.

Reading bills and scanning for specific information:  Pay Bills

Finding specific information on a receipt: Check your receipt

Filling out a deposit slip at the bank: Deposit

Reading labels and prices while grocery shopping: Grocery Shelves

Following a recipe to make a cake : Measure

Following the directions for baking a cake: Bake

Learning about safety when grilling:  Grill Safety

…and many more good ones on the menu.  Check them out and let me know which ones you like the best and how your students liked them.


2nd Course: Workplace Roles Vignettes

Here’s an interesting website (Vignettes Learning: Story Impacts) offering short interactive vignettes that fit well with the themes of sexual harassment and decision-making in the workplace. New stories are always being added, and they provide lots of interesting discussion opportunities for workplace themes. Vocabulary can be pretty advanced, so this is a good step-up activity for more advanced students. These stories are not designed for ESL students, (i.e. authentic language!) so you will want to do some pre-listening activities with your students

“The Compliment” vignette is the easiest of my 3 suggestions and it works well with the sexual harassment theme in U15: Women’s Work Issues. The vignette is presented in the form of a dialog, and I’d suggest asking your students to write the dialog as a listening activity. The vignette leads to thought-provoking discussion questions.

Consider using the vignette, “Too Much Break Time” or “Can you tell me if my job is safe?”  in conjunction with U16: Women in Non-Traditional Roles to tie in with a manager needing to make tough decisions.

You have to click Next to go through each story, but be sure to get to the end where choices for different ways of handling the situation are presented. This is a good place to get your students discussing various options. Reading the posted comments is also a great reading activity for students and could inspire more discussion. After viewing and discussing the stories, students can write essays stating their recommendations for the situation. If you sign up (it’s free) you can get free links to the vignettes that you can post on your webpage, and your students could also post comments in the discussion.

Here are links if you’d like to show the vignettes in class to the whole group:

The Compliment

Too Much Break Time

Give students these links for work at home so they can read the vignette summary and comments.

The Compliment Page

Break Time Page

The Little Secret

And, keep checking back on the site because they keep adding new vignettes!