Thursday, December 4, 2014

Practicing Listening Skills

Who doesn't need to practice listening skills?

In second grade I planned a lesson to focus on improving our listening skills.  The first activity was a test...but I didn't tell them that.  I handed them each a sheet of paper and asked them to get out 6 different colors to complete the activity with.  I explained that I was going to give them a set of directions to complete, and I was only going to say each instruction once so it was important for them to listen carefully.  If I said "Simon Says" before the instructions they were to do them.  If I didn't say "Simon Says" before the instructions they were not to do them.

Then I went through the following simple steps:
  1. Simon says draw a tall blue rectangle.
  2. Draw a green triangle in the middle of the blue rectangle for the nose.
  3. Simon says draw 3 yellow eyes inside & near the top of the blue rectangle.
  4. Simon says draw a bunch of orange triangles to look like hair on top of the rectangle.
  5. Draw a red half circle ear on each side of the blue rectangle.
  6. Simon says draw a large purple smile toward the bottom, inside the blue rectangle.
  7. Draw one black arm coming out from each side of the rectangle.
This is what I ended up with:

Here are some examples of what they came up with:

We quickly realized that some our drawings were dramatically different.  I explained to them that they can see how well they listened based on how close their drawing resembles mine.

Then I read The Worst Day of My Life Ever by Julia Cook.  In this story, the main character has difficulty listening and following directions.  Students easily tied the ideas in this book to Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, but what's nice about this story is he has an opportunity to fix it.

For our second activity we were going to really need great listening skills, so we brainstormed some tips that could help us be more successful.  We used some of the ideas from the story to help us figure out the skills we needed to succeed.

Now that we were prepared, I introduced the next listening activity.  I pulled out baggies of legos that had matching pieces (same size, same color, same quantity) and they became even more excited.  I explained the simple rules, modeled it with a student, passed out the legos & privacy folders and we began!  You can download the instructions here.

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