Strategy of the Week

May 5, 2016

Are They Even Listening?

Want to track whether or not your students are listening to you as you teach?

How about building listening skills?

This week's strategy is an easy one. A very easy one.

Just ask them to write down what you said. That's it. They can write it on post it notes, in journals, on a sheet of loose leaf or even on the back of an activity sheet.

Don't underestimate the power of this one though - it does work. Here's why.

Told You It Was Easy

Give It A Try

You might be surprised. It's amazing to see what they actually hear. Want to make it fun? Get the largest or craziest pen you can find. Keep it in plain sight - hang it up, keep it on your dry erase board, wherever. When you want them to write down what you said - pick it up. Make it dramatic and fun. If they need training with the listening, pick up them pen as a cue for them to listen more carefully because you will want them to write it down.

And don't forget the power is in the sharing part. Have them talk about what they wrote down - with a partner, with you, as a class. It's not just the information they write that's important - it's what you do with it.


This is a good strategy for a little self reflection afterward. Think - if many of your students can't write down what you say after some practice with the strategy - think about why.

Is it really that they aren't listening or are you talking too much?

Do they really not understand or were your thoughts not clear?

A little reflection goes a long way.