Listen to your Heart (and the Teacher): Developing Student Listening Skills

The above teacher meme is facetious, but nonetheless an accurate portrayal of what happens in many classrooms. Listening is a vital life skill and unfortunately, large amounts of students for a variety of reasons are not strong listeners.  Now I’m not here to speculate about why students may be poor listeners, and I’m certainly not going to give the cop-out excuse of the prevalence of technology because let’s not kid ourselves here, children have been getting distracted long before tablets and smartphones came on the scene. What I am here to do is discuss some suggestions of what we can do to help students become better listeners, and thus better communicators and citizens.

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It’s a Draft, not an Illuminated Manuscript: Making Revision Less Scary for Students



Eight-year-old Dominic has been entrusted with a most sacred and important task. Through a combination of inspiration from the heavenly Muses and his own memory, he must craft an account that will be preserved throughout the ages. All the writing is divinely inspired; there can be no room for error. Heaven forbid one thing be erased, changed, or altered from its original form. The time to finish his task is nigh. There must be no hesitation. What is this fantastic task?

Constructing a descriptive paragraph about his family’s trip to the water park in his writing journal.

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Part of the In-Crowd: Multilevel Reading so Everyone Can Join In

Eletu, Olu. “Alphabet, Children.” March 17, 2015.
Retrieved from

No one likes to feel left out. And for children, many of who want nothing more than to achieve the status of “fitting in”, this is an especially concerning matter. You want to wear what your friends are wearing, have the same toys and gadgets that your friends have. So what do you do as a self-conscious child when for whatever reason, be it giftedness, a learning disability, whatever, you find yourself ahead or behind the pack? You feel awkward, like something is wrong with you. As educators, we can help with that. No, we probably can’t convince a student’s parents to get them those Nike shoes that everyone else in the class has, or those special edition, holographic Pokemon cards, but what we can do is help students feel included in classroom activities, even if the student might be reading at a grade or two below or above the rest of the class.

How do we do this?

By introducing multilevel reading in the classroom.

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Don’t Read This Post!

“Stop Sign.” Retrieved from
Dear reader,

I’m putting this message here for your safety. What you were mistakenly about to read is so vile, so unpalatable, such a complete affront to human decency, that it will surely leave you sleepless for many nights, disturbed in mind and soul. If you read this, who knows what might happen to your psyche? So really, it’s in your best interest to stop right now before you become further corrupted.

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