Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kindergarten: Active Listening Skills Lesson

One of my favorite annual core-curriculum lessons for kindergartners is a listening skills lesson. It's not complicated, simple to implement, and the kids LOVE it!! I tend to do this lesson at the beginning of they year because it sets the tone for my listening expectations each time I come into the classroom over the course of the school year.

First, gather students in front of you and teach them active listening skills. When they are being "active listeners" they are hearing what is being said, thinking about what is being said, and ready to answer questions and talk about what is being said. I display this Carson Dellosa poster and ask students what they notice about the student that makes him a fantastic active listener. As students name each item on the poster one-by-one, I turn to the group and expect to see the same behavior (as they sit on the floor). While this student poster is the one I use, there are some other poster options...this Monster one by Carson Dellosa or this Whole Body Listening by Wilson and Sautter. I do use the Whole Body Listening poster for the older grades in my small support groups!

I use this book: I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie in the next part of the lesson. Prior to the lesson and using clipart on the computer, I make small versions of each item of food that is talked about in the story. The side of each picture is about 5x7 and is mounted on cardstock and laminated for durable student use. Each student in the class needs at least one of the food item pictures, so be sure to make enough ahead of time! Also, make one larger picture of each food item mounted on cardstock and laminated. The size for these is roughly 8.5x11. These pictures should look the same as the smaller ones - just bigger. I have mounted magnets on the back of mine to easily display on a magnetic easel!

This book works out well because I typically do this lesson in November before Thanksgiving. However, there are a number of other books that would also work and might fit the time of year a bit better for you: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Frog, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves, etc.

During the lesson, I tell students that I want to see for myself just how good their active listening skills are. I tell them that in a few minutes I will be reading a story about a yellow squash, pie, turkey, pot, ten layer cake, bread, apple cider, roll, salad, etc. As I name each of these, I hold up the large version of each so the kids can hear the name of each item. Then, I hand out a smaller food item picture to each student after giving them explicit directions on how I expect my materials to be treated. As a challenge, give students more than one picture. Also, I make sure more than one student has a picture of the food item. For example, 2 students have the salad and three students have the apple pie, etc. 

I tell the students that as I read the story, they must carefully listen. When they hear me read the word of the picture they have in their hands, they are to hold up their picture and show it to me.

Then we practice! I name each of the food items - holding up each of the large food item pictures and watch and monitor as the students hold up their smaller versions. Then, I begin reading the book - again watching and monitoring the students as they hold up the picture of the food item they are holding - as I read it in the story. 

PLEASE NOTE: There is a line in the story "Perhaps she'll die....." - I DO NOT read this line and I cover it with my fingers when I show the pictures. Also, as I start the story, we discuss how this story is make believe!!

After I'm finished reading, I systematically collect the pictures and direct students to return to their tables - showing me the active listening skills we learned about today and saw on the poster. If I remember my camera, I might take a picture or two of students who look just like the student on the poster. After I print those photos, I will hang them in the hallway for models of active listening!

Have fun teaching this lesson!!

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