Listening with your Whole Body:

Primary students are learning the importance of focusing attention and working to understand a message when they are listening to someone speak. Active listening is a critical skill that is needed both in and out of the classroom. The Listening Larry series of books by Elizabeth Sautter and Kristin Wilson helps children understand that listening involves more than just ears. 


In this video, Mr. Parker teaches  how to pay attention by using your eyes for watching, ears for listening, keeping your voice quiet while others are talking, and keeping your body still.

Quick Activities to Promote Active Listening in Primary Students:

Give students a series of directions to follow. The directions can be to draw a picture, to engage in a physical activity, to write answers to questions, etc. Celebrate success when they are accurate.

Play “Broken Telephone” with students to let them see what happens when listening breaks down. Students sit in a circle and one person begins by whispering a sentence in the ear of the student beside them. That student then whispers to the student on the other side of them. The last student who gets the message says it out loud. The message has often changed considerably on its way around the circle.

Tell the class a short story. Then retell the story but make a few minor changes. See if students can discover the changes.

Ask students to “interview” another student or family member. They can brainstorm a list of questions, then see if they can remember the answers that are given.

Videos to Promote Active Listening with Primary Students:

Jamie encourages students to reflect on how well they can listen. She uses a bell to help students focus on a sound.

This video shows Howard B. Wigglebottom learning why it is important to listen. 

Jack Hartmann helps students learn how to listen with their whole body with this song.