September 27, 2018
by Meena Srinivasan

Lesson plan

Learning About Mindful Listening

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Grade Subject

Students will be able to listen mindfully to their classmates. Student will be able to co-construct guidelines for when they are in circle time.

(5 minutes)
  • Gather students into a circle either seated in chairs or on the floor. Share with students that they will be gathering in a circle once a week or more and that this is a time where they will build community.
  • Raised attention signal: Once your students are in a circle introduce or remind students of the raised hand attention signal and explain to students that when they see you raise your hand it’s a signal to stop whatever they are doing, raise their hand in the air and quietly look and listen to you.
  • Introduce the talking piece: Explain that when they gather in a circle to learn and discuss important things, they will use a talking piece (choose an object that has meaning as the talking piece). Whoever has the talking piece can speak. Remind them that they do this to make sure they don’t talk over anyone and listen to the person who is sharing. Every week each student rotates and brings in a talking piece that means something to them.
(15 minutes)
  • Welcoming: Circle time always begins with everyone being welcomed into the circle. Ask students: “Why is it important to welcome everyone?” Use the talking piece to moderate answers and then model welcoming a student and then have each student welcome the student sitting next to them. Example: “Hello Susie, welcome to our community. We are so glad you are here!” Once every student has been welcomed retrieve the talking piece.
  • Circle Guidelines: Tell students that in addition to the talking piece, they need to come up with guidelines for circle time. Everyone will have a chance to offer one guideline to help their class circles be in harmony. Offer the first guideline as the golden rule (“Treat others as you would like to be treated”), what you feel is the guiding principle for our classroom with respect to how we treat each other.
  • Have each student share one guideline each and write them down on poster paper. When you are finished, have each student sign the poster paper. Keep this poster paper up during all of your classes; you can refer back to it if a class member isn’t following the shared expectations during circle.
  • Tell students that today during their circle time, they are going to practice listening mindfully.
  • Introduce the concept of mindful listening: Listening with all of your attention.
  • Ask students why it might be important to listen with all of their attention.
  • Have the children sit comfortably and close their eyes.
  • Get them take a few cleansing belly breaths to help relax.
  • Sound a chime or triable and tell them they are to listen to the sound and, when they stop hearing the sound, they are to give you a signal; raising hand, putting head down, etc. Challenge them to listen to the whole sound – from the first moment it strikes, all the way through to the end of its fading, until they can no longer hear even the faintest trace of sound.
  • After all hands are up, ask students to share what they notice.
  • Ask: What does it take to really listen? Chart their answers. Make sure you have students detail what it “looks like” and “sounds like” to listen.
(10 minutes)
  • Now have students bring that same quality of attention to a partner conversation.
  • Pair students off and offer the prompt: “What makes a good friend?”
  • First, sound the chime to evoke mindful listening before partners share and remind them of what they came up with on the chart. Let them know they will be responsible for sharing what their partner tells them.
  • Have students share what their partner shared using the talking piece and chart what students share.
(10 minutes)

Have the students remain in a circle and complete answers to the following prompts in the worksheet and support any students that need help.

  • Enrichment: Advanced students will have more descriptive answers to the worksheet.
  • Support: Struggling students may need to be paired with the teacher or teacher’s aide initially.
(5 minutes)
  • During guided practice, look to see who need support. Sit closer to them and give clues and encouragement.
  • Review what students detail in the worksheet.
(5 minutes)
  • Have each student share one way they will practice mindful listening and who they will practice it with when they go home.
  • Close with the sound of the chime and one collective mindful breath.

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