Try these 3 listening skills activities for middle school to help students practice and reinforce this valuable skill. Despite the fact that every teacher since the dawn of time has encouraged his or her students to listen carefully, the vast majority of students still need help improving their listening skills.
As such, it behooves us to actively help our students work on this particular skill.
Today let’s talk about three listening skills activities for middle school teachers that can easily be incorporated into their lessons.
Listening Skills Activities For Middle School
Strategy One: Class Presentations
Students regularly present in class. From presenting on books (like in this Book Talk Assignment) to class discussions (like in this Hot Topics Class Discussion Assignment), talking in front of the group is commonplace.
In order to improve listening skills though, you need to ask students to take the next step and practice responding to what they hear. Asking questions of presenters, directly responding to what others say in discussion, even giving constructive criticism to classmates’ oral presentations are all great ways to encourage students to listen actively and accurately.
These activities will usually require some direction and structure, especially when they are new, but as students get better and better at listening, they will begin to do it without your guidance.
Any of the activities in these two oral presentation bundles will provide both students and teachers with a structure to help improve listening skills.
Strategy Two: Verbal Directions
This technique is very simple to incorporate into your preexisting lessons. Every time you give instructions, give them verbally to your students first. Have students briefly note what you said, and then ask a student to summarize it back to you and the class.
After you can provide the instructions in writing, especially when students are unused to this technique or directions are more complex.
Giving verbal directions encourages students to practice listening for information and encourages retention through note taking and summary.
Strategy Three: Podcasts
Podcasts are a great tool to incorporate into your listening skills toolbox. Not only are there a huge number of podcasts out there available for free or for very little money and on a very wide variety of topics, but podcasts also are a format that naturally engages students’ interest.
By having students regularly listen to podcast episodes and then respond to them in some way, you ask them to regularly practice their listening skills while working with something they enjoy. If you are looking for a place to start, here are two particularly wonderful podcasts that I recommend checking out:
- The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel: This is an exceptionally engaging serial mystery designed for middle school students and performed by kids. Mars is the only one who believes that his friend is missing. He sets off an adventure to solve the mystery.
- Six Minutes: Another excellent, engaging podcast, this serial mystery is presented in six-minute, class-friendly episodes. Can you imagine being pulled from the ocean by a family on a whale-watching tour in Alaska and waking up not knowing who you were? This is what happens to Holiday in the podcast Six Minutes.
- Podcast Listening Comprehension Lessons: Use these ready-to-go no-prep listening comprehension lessons based on high-interest podcast segments about consumers, companies and marketing. Students will have to complete interesting comprehension questions after each episode and participate in a class discussion.
No matter if you use these techniques or others, improving your students’ listening skills is an invaluable part of what you teach your students. Incorporating listening practice into your daily lessons is giving your students an invaluable gift.