Sit Up Straight and Listen!

Do you remember being told to 'sit up' and 'listen' at school......

Thankfully teachers these days have far more effective and clever ways of gaining students attention and getting them to listen and pay attention.

I have outlined my favourite way to TEACH my little learners about listening in this fun new packet of mine on TpT. It is great for students that have never really learnt about HOW to listen, and is good for these students that already know, as they probably were never aware of what they were actually doing.

I will outline the lesson here as well, and you can head over and see the packet if you would like the associated resources to go along with it.

I teach is EVERY year on the very first day of Kinder and the kids LOVE it! I perform it really, put lots of exaggerated actions in it and really pretend I don't have a clue about listening. The kids get a real kick out of it and half of them roll around on the floor laughing very hard!

It is a great way to INTRODUCE listening for the first time, and create a shared experience about listening with your students. You can then refer back to the 3 main points as you manage them through the year.

So here goes.....

Your students will LOVE this.... the idea is to make them laugh, and help them to SEE why we have to listen and HOW to listen with their body.

  • Tell your students you want to play a little game to show them how to listen at school. 
  • Ask for a brave volunteer to come to the front and role play with you. There will be laughs, so this person needs to have a willingness to perform and be laughed at!
  • Tell this volunteer (with the rest of the class listening) that you are going to show the class how to be a good listener. That you are REALLY good at listening and that the rest of the class needs to learn to be good listeners. 
  • (In fact you will model bad listening - very bad! Don't tell them that though, they will figure it out and reveal they know more about listening than they think.  You will need to exaggerate it and make it very funny!)
  • Tell your volunteer (and the class) that you will ask them some questions and as they reply, you will show good listening. 
  • Ask a simple question to your brave volunteer, like “Tell me about your breakfast this morning”. 
  • As your student begins to talk, do an exaggerated head move and stare out the window. 
  • You will get some giggles from the audience. 
  • Look everywhere and all about, just not at your student who is talking.
  • Eventually, say to the students...."am I being a good listener?”...they will say “no” and squeal with laughter at your funny acting! 
  • Ask them why not. They will most likely tell you that you're not looking at the speaker.
  • “Oh, so I have to LOOK at the person talking - OK, I can do that!” 
  • Tell the students you will start again. 
  • Ask the volunteer the question again. This time do an exaggerated stare at your volunteer as she talks, but move your legs and arms wildly. 
  • Your other students will laugh trust me! 
  • Your volunteer will get distracted. Every time she starts to talk, move your arms and legs. 
  • When all your students tell you that you are not being a good listener, tell them “but I am looking at the person talking, you told me that is what good listeners do!”. 
  • They will tell you that you have to stop moving. “Oh, so I have to look at the person AND keep still, wow that is a lot to remember...OK....let me try again....must remember to look, and keep still”.
  • Ask your volunteer the question once again “let’s gets this right” tell them.
  • As your volunteer starts speaking, keep your arms and legs very still, look very intently at their eyes, but speak at the same time your volunteer does. Put a very concentrated, serious look on your face and speak at the same time, right to her face. Your students will laugh, and so might your volunteer.
  • Your students will hopefully remind you that you cannot speak at the same time as someone else who is speaking - we take turns. “Oh you mean I have to sit still, look at the person talking AND wait my turn to talk” you say to the students.... “I have to do ALL 3 at the same time?”
  • Tell your students that now that you know the 3 main things to do when listening, you will try once more. Ask your hard working volunteer to talk to you once more, by asking them for the last time the question you originally posed to them
This time, model PERFECT listening. Once done, ask your students how you did and reinforce the 3 main things to do when listening.

You can display the good listening poster that comes in my packet in your classroom to help your students remember this lesson - point back to it when you need to encourage good listening, they will remember the lesson, remember the 'actions' (so important as it makes it real, not just 'blah blah words the teacher is ranting' and be able to modify their behaviour.

I like to use finger rhymes with actions to also help my students settle on the mat and get them ready for good listening. My packet includes 6 that are rhythmic, easy to remember, have actions and finish with listening behaviours as the focus. Teach these ones with your students and demonstrate actions to go with them. Whenever you need to settle your students on the mat ready for listening, you will have one of these to start and hopefully over time your students will know them perfectly and enthusiastically join in!

What are your favourite ways to get your students listening?