*Try lowering your voice. Remind children to listen with their eyes, ears, and bodies. (You might need to have a class discussion about what that means.)
*Run off a copy of a giant ear and tape it to a stick. When you hold up the ear children know they need to listen with big ears!
*Focus children’s attention, and then practice giving directions ONE time. If children need a prompt, invite another student to repeat what you have said.
*Occasionally, have children close their eyes when you read a story. Can they make pictures in their brain? Can they identify story elements? Can they retell the sequence?
*Sing songs or say nursery rhymes with your eyes closed.
Here are some other activities to encourage children to listen up!
Mystery Sounds - Ask children to close their eyes. Walk around the room making different noises (open the door, ring a bell, sharpen a pencil) while children identify what you are doing.
Sound Walk - Take the children on a “silent” nature walk. Challenge them
to remember all the sounds that they can hear. Make a list of all the sounds when you return to the classroom.
Story Sounds - Invite the children to add sounds as you read a story. Prompt
them before you read by telling them to roar for the dinosaur, squeak for the mouse, or snap for rain.
Animal Sounds - Learning animal sounds is a natural way to develop language
and listening skills. Sing songs such as “Old MacDonald” and play “Guess Who I Am?” where children make animal noises for their friends to identify.
Whisper Wednesday - Sometimes children are overwhelmed by too much noise
in the classroom. Why not try “Whisper Wednesday” where you whisper all day long?
Gossip - Have children sit in a circle. Whisper a simple message in the first child’s ear. That child passes the message to the person sitting next to them and so on around the circle. The last child repeats what she heard, which is usually far from the original whisper.
Perfect Pitch - Hum a note and ask children to join in. Vary the pitch from high to low. You can also use a xylophone or other class instrument to play this game.
To Grandmother’s House We Go -Place 5-10 objects on a table or shelf in a far corner of the room. Have your class sit with you in the opposite corner of the room. Take a basket or grocery sack and that they are going to get to take turns going to grandmother’s house. “We’re going to pretend that grandmother lives over there in the other side of the room.” One at a time select a child to go to grandmother’s. Give her the bag and name one things that you want her to get for you at grandmother’s. Explain that you’ll only tell her one time, so she’ll have to listen very carefully. Instruct the rest of the class to sit quietly so they can remember to see if she gets the right thing. The child skips across the room, selects the named object, puts it in the bag, and returns to the teacher. Cheer if she remembers the correct object.
*Start with one object and make it increasingly difficult by adding more objects or descriptive words. For example, “Bring me something that is red and grows on a tree.” “Bring me the book, the block, and the blue crayon.”