This is a sponsored post by Listenwise.com.
If you haven’t checked out Listenwise.com yet, you and your students are missing out on some fantastic listening-based lessons and activities in the middle school and high school classroom.
As a high school English teacher at a public school that participates in annual state standardized tests, I definitely feel the pressure to adequately prepare my students so that they do their best on the test. Not only do state tests contribute to school funding, indexing, and ranking, but in California, a junior’s score on the state test gets printed on their transcript and can affect Cal State college admissions. The stakes are pretty high.
There are quite a few ways that I help prepare my students for state testing, and one of them is by focusing on the lowest scoring testing strand: listening. Currently, 22 states have a listening component on their state tests, and not just in California, but throughout the entire nation, students score the lowest on the listening portion of the test.
One of the best ways that teachers can help prepare their students to succeed, not only on the entire test but also on the listening portion of the test, is by incorporating listening-based skills into every unit. Better listeners are better learners, and listening comprehension and reading comprehension are closely linked.
This is where Listenwise.com comes in. With every single unit I teach, I like to include at least one listening-based assignment. Listenwise.com makes that easy for me to do because of their wide variety of story types and included comprehension questions and discussion themes.
I’ve been using Listenwise.com in the classroom for four years now, and I’ve seen a positive impact on my students’ testing scores. Listenwise.com offers both Free and Premium versions of the site. While both the Free and Premium Listenwise accounts provide comprehension questions and discussion themes, the Premium version also provides teachers with lesson plans, listening quizzes, customized assignments, and listening supports. The listening supports included with the Premium version include slower-paced stories, interactive transcripts, and a toolbar that are ideal for EL learners and students with special learning needs.
When I use the site in my classroom (I currently use the free version), I display the screen for my students on the projector, read and discuss the included comprehension questions, and then play the story aloud for my students. The stories are short (usually 3-6 minutes in length), relevant, and interesting because many of them are curated from NPR. After that, I have played the story once more to model to my students that listening to a story at least twice is a good way to boost listening comprehension skills.
After our first and second time of listening to the story, we then have a classroom discussion about the questions and themes. To help build my students’ confidence, I first have them discuss the questions in partners or with their table groups before beginning a whole-class discussion.
Listenwise.com is so easy to integrate into my units because they have so many different stories on the platform. If I am currently working on synthesis skills with my students, I’ll make sure I include at least one audio file from Listenwise.com to ensure that my students have a variety of resources that they encounter.
From ELA to social studies to current events, I can always find a story that relates to what I am currently teaching in my classroom. If you’ve never used the site before, you should register for your free account today and have a look!