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5 Practices to Improve Listening Skills in the Classroom

teach listening strategies, literacy strategies, teaching resources, classroom management

Teaching your students to listen can be challenging at best.  School is a very social place and children want to be with their friends in a very interactive way which in turn leads to conversations and sometimes just chit chat; even when you are teaching.  Here are some tips to minimize distractions and improve listening.

Listening is one of the big 5 in literacy!  The other four being reading, writing, thinking and speaking.  You can incorporate many activities that involve listening in an enjoyable way. Many educational games require listening and most times, most kids will want to do well in a game with their peers.  The famous "I Have, Who Has?"  can be used in many grade levels while reinforcing many skills in literacy, math, science and social studies.  

I Have, Who Has? for Multiplication

 the game rules require that children listen to each other in order to know when it is their turn.  Example:  I have  6.  Who has 10 x 7?  The person who has the card reading :  "I have 70. "  would be next to call out his/her card. So listening is required.   As the children read their cards,  voices pop up all around the room.  They like the game AND the room is quiet with students listening for it to go well.  Students are motivated and engaged... they like having the cards in their hands and waiting for their cue

Recording Sheets Available HERE
Listening to large numbers and recording them is a great listening activity for those students who are learning about place value.  When students start to understand and make large numbers; they need practice.  Students listen to the number you say and
write the number paying attention to the correct place value order.  You can use this quick and easy recording sheet for this listening activity.  It is recommended to place this sheet in a protective sleeve so you can reuse the recording sheets over and over.   

You say:  "twenty-three thousand, five hundred and seventy-two"
Your students write:  23,572
The top space is for writing the number; and the second space is to write it once more or make a correction if needed.  Students write numbers fairly large so you can quickly assess if they are understanding how to write large numbers. 

And some  listening activities for younger students:

This I Have... Who has ...?  is created to use after reading Eve Bunting's wonderful book,   Hurry, Hurry!    This I Have...Who Has? would be appropriate for Kindergarten and First Graders. 
And I will add quickly, this is a great read aloud for Spring!
Perfect for Kindergarten and First Grade... and yes, they love playing this game....and they will ask if they can play it again!  You will like it because they are focused, they are reading words, their faces show visibly enjoyment of the reading-listening experience.  

Following directions throughout the day can also be opportunities for teaching better listening.  You can create a secret password and use that through out the week.  Children listen for the secret password when you give directions.  It goes like this:  When I say the secret password, please close your math books and line up for lunch.  You determine when you say the secret password and only give it when you want them to follow the direction.  

This tip and other tips in more detail are in my Teacher Tips To Use Right Now Pack
They are tested, tried and true and improve classroom behaviors and listening alike.  


Have you ever played the "Quiet Game"  with your Kindergarteners or 

First Graders.  Oh my, it is the best.  You start, choose the quietest person in the room.  They all try to be very quiet and they soon realize this means hardly any movement.  You choose the quietest child; that child comes to the room and then they choose the next quietest person.  That person comes to the front, and the other child goes back to his/her seat.  They love this game.  No materials required and they will all start to listen to the very smallest noises they can from each other.  A giggle or two happens but that makes it fun.  Don't play this too long or too often, that's the secret.  But when you need about 5 minutes of quiet, this works better than you can imagine.

Here is a FREE  listening page for a Book Talk to help you provide a listening lessons in your literacy teaching.  

Remember listening is a very important part of literacy.  
The obvious would be speakers need listeners and listeners need speakers.  Have your students do some quick "book talks" using this page below:

Get this page for your Book Talks HERE

and now for a quick "brain break" ... from Readeez  ...

Listen and Enjoy!