ESLCO: Collective Nouns Dictation Race

Collective nouns are not the most obvious grammar point, but they are quite important in gaining mastery of the English language and are part of the ESLCO curriculum.

The collective noun for puppies is litter.

Collective nouns are nouns meant to represent a group of people, things, or animals as one item. Team, bouquet, and pride are all common examples of collective nouns. Collective nouns are usually singular, but they can be plural when the units in the group are performing different or independant actions. For instance:

The pride walks in the savannah.

The pride hunt for their meals.

The first sentence implies the pride of lions are all walking together as one, so the noun is singular. The second sentence implies that the lions are all hunting for their individual meals, so the noun is plural.

While it is important to understand the difference for reading/listening purposes, your students will most likely only use the singular form of collective nouns, and that is perfectly acceptable as long as they understand the difference.

Some slides from the attached Powerpoint presentation on

collective nouns.

Teaching collective nouns can seem like a lot of new vocabularly that your students might not encounter often, and because of this I like to liven it up with a dictation race activity. This encourages repetition, familiarity, as well as fun. After the Powerpoint content has been taught, I pair up the students and tell them there will be a race (usually for a treat like hot chocolate or a freezie). Students will have to take turns dictating a short paragraph that their partners will have to write down exactly.

I hand out the first short paragraph with collective nouns to one person from each pair and tell them to keep the paragraph they are reading hidden from their partner. If they show the paper they are disqualified. I give them a moment to prepare, and then all at once they start dictating as precisely as they can. The dictators can read the words as fast, or slow, or as many times as they want, and the writer can ask for words to be spelled if needed. The only real rule is that the dictator must not show the paragrapgh to the writer, or write for them. When a pair has written the paragraph perfectly, they will identify the collective nouns in the paragraph, then run it to the front of the class where I will check it. If it is correct, they win the round and can relax until the rest finish. When everyone has finished, we take up the answers and then the previous writer is given a different short paragraph and becomes the dictator, repeating the process. At the end of the class each pair that won a round receives the treat/prize.

Personally, I like to use the collective noun paragraphs from and the exact worksheet I use can be found to download here.

The attached lesson plan is coded to ministry standards.

This lesson and activity has always been very successful for me, and it is a class I look forward to because it is a very hands off way to have your entire class engaged and practicing their pronunciation as carefully as they can. Please, try it out for yourself and let me know how it goes!

ESLCO Collective Nouns Dictation Race
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Collective Nouns PPT
Download PPTX • 7.27MB

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