After finishing my rotation of the “Meet Your School Counselor” lessons, I thought that listening skills would make a great topic for my second classroom guidance lesson. We all know that elementary school students struggle BIG TIME with being good listeners – they often interrupt each other and the teacher, and expect attention to be on them 24/7. My friend Sally and I brainstormed to create this lesson together based on this GREAT poster that we found on pinterest.
Based on this poster, I created 8 listening “puppets” that help students remember the 8 ways that they can use their whole bodies to be good listeners.
At the beginning of the lesson, I introduce the “Whole Body Listening” poster to students. I call the boy on the poster “Listening Larry.” As a class, we go through and discuss each of the 8 listening “puppets.” I hold up each “puppet” individually and ask students to explain 1) What it is and 2) How it helps us be a good listener. As we go through all 8, we continuously review the past “puppets” to keep them fresh in students’ memories. I also like using gestures (I’m a huge fan of TPR!) to help students remember the ways to be a good listener. For example, for the “brain” I have students point to their brains and say, “Think about what the person is saying.” For the “eye,” I have students point to their eyes and say, “Look at the person who is talking.”
After reviewing each of the 8 tips on the “Whole Body Listening” poster, we make “Listening Ears” hats as a class. Sally and I found this idea on pinterest as well. Here are the supplies needed to make “Listening Ears”…
- My Listening Ears worksheet (created by Sally)
- 1 piece of construction paper per student
- 1 glue stick per student
Before the lesson begins, I cut construction paper strips that make the band part of the “Listening Ears” hat. I cut the construction paper in half and stapled two pieces together. They turned out like this…
I also pre-cut each of the listening ears for my K students. The teachers told me that their students are working on how to cut straight lines, but that they would struggle too much with curved lines this early in the school year. My pre-cut listening ears look like this…
And here is my sample “Listening Ears…” I like to wear it as we make the ears – as a model and just for laughs!
So, to make the “Listening Ears”, I start by giving each student a “MY LISTENING EARS” strip of paper, two pre-cut listening ears, crayons, and a pair of scissors. I ask students to cut along the dotted lines and when they finish cutting, to hold up their strip of paper. Some K students needed help cutting out their strips, but others were able to do it independently. After students have cut out their “MY LISTENING EARS” strips, I model for them how to glue it onto the center of their construction paper band.
Since it is so early in the school year, the teacher and myself worked together to glue the listening ears on for the students. As we came around and glued on their ears, the students decorated their hats with crayons. After all of the ears were glued on, the teacher and I came around and stapled the construction paper bands together so that the students could wear their “Listening Ear” hats.
Students absolutely LOVED their hats and teachers thought they were the funniest and cutest thing. It has been hilarious to see little Kindergartners walking around school and getting into their cars at dismissal wearing their hats! The exceptional education teacher stopped by my office to tell me that this activity was a “huge hit” and that she saw students still wearing their hats days later!
I highly recommend this activity to any counselor, but keep in mind that it does require a lot of supervision and individualized help to the students. Having a teacher present in the classroom is crucial – I was SO thankful to have such helpful and supportive teachers for this lesson! Also, this lesson took longer than the scheduled time – I had 30 minutes to work with K, but it took us about 45 minutes to finish. Again, the teachers were so flexible and loved the activity so much, that they didn’t mind it lasting longer than the scheduled time!