Lesson plan

Learning How to Listen

In this lesson students, learn how to listen and practice community-building skills using the circle process. This lesson helps build community and establish norms for how students communicate with each other.
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Are you listening closely? Discuss what listening looks like and sounds like together as a class! Kindergarteners and first graders will build up their social emotional skills as they practice learning how to listen in this multi-part lesson. First, students will come together to demonstrate what speaking and listening looks like in the classroom. As they model good listening skills, the teacher is encouraged to record everyone’s observations about the activity. Then they’ll apply what they’ve learned to a variety of follow-up exercises.

Students will understand what listening looks like and sounds like.

(5 minutes)
  • Gather students into a circle, either seated in chairs or on the floor. Share that they will be gathering in a circle once a week or more, and this is a time where we get to know each other and learn how to be a good friend and classmate.
  • Introduce the raised hand attention signal once students are gathered in a circle.
  • 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 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.
  • Show students your chosen talking piece, and explain that whoever has the talking piece can speak. While the speaker is sharing, other students must make sure they don’t talk and listen to the person who is sharing.
  • Practice using the attention signal and talking piece.
  • Note: Ideally students are gathering in a circle daily, but this can be adjusted if needed.
(10 minutes)
  • Welcoming: Circle time always begins with everyone being welcomed into the circle. Model welcoming a student and then have each student welcome the student sitting next to them.
  • Once every student has been welcomed, retrieve the talking piece.
  • SEL Focus - Listening: Tell students that today during their circle time, they are going to talk about how we can be good listeners. Model listening by asking the students to watch and listen as you have a student volunteer serve as your partner.
  • Explain that you and your partner will discuss the question: “What is your favorite food?”
  • Model turning your body to face your partner, taking turns discussing the question, and turning back to the circle afterwards. Ask the class: "What did you see? What did you hear? How do you show someone you are listening?"
(15 minutes)
  • Prompt 1: What does it look like to listen? Utilize the talking piece and have students share.
  • Prompt 2: What does it sound like to listen? Utilize the talking piece and have students share.
  • Chart student responses.
  • Tell your students that they will now practice listening.
  • Pair students by counting off 1-2, 1-2 etc. In each pair designate 1s as an “ear” and 2s as a “mouth.”
  • Prompt: Why is it important to know how to listen? 2s will share first and 1s will listen.
  • Monitor the students. After a minute, have them switch so that 2s are “ears” and 1s are “mouths.”
  • Have students thank each other.
  • Have a few students share what their partner said using the talking piece.
(10 minutes)
  • Have the students remain in a circle.
  • Have them color and decorate their ear and mouth.
  • Show an example of how to color the ear and mouth and share that they will be using their ear and mouths throughout the year to remind them to be good listeners.
  • Ask your students to raise their hands if they understand what they will be doing.
  • Dismiss them to work independently.
  • Enrichment: Advanced students may answer the prompts below.
  • Support: Struggling students may need to be paired with the teacher or teacher’s aide initially.
  • ADDITIONAL PROMPTS: We use our ears to ____. We use our eyes to ____. We use our mouths to ____. We use our hearts to ____. We use our brains to __.
(5 minutes)
  • During guided practice, the students should be practicing what the class came up with in the T-chart.
  • Remind students about what listening “looks like” and “sounds like” if needed. increase in speed and confidence as the bingo game progresses.
  • Look for students who need support.
  • Sit closer to them and give clues and encouragement.
(5 minutes)
  • Go over the T-Chart again as a class and paste it up in the room so you can refer to it throughout the day when students are practicing their listening skills through small group work, turn to your partner or direct instruction.
  • Optional: Sing a song about what makes a good listener from the T-Chart.
  • Optional: Share examples of what it looks like to NOT listen.

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