Sunday, October 1, 2017

Whole Body Listening

Follow my blog with Bloglovin If you're like most primary teachers, you get the importance of establishing routines throughout the first few weeks of a new school year. Everything from dismissal procedures to how to properly use a glue stick- it may seem tedious to some of your kiddos, but the extra effort up front pays off big time when your classroom runs like a well-oiled machine! 

I spent several days during week 1 talking about Whole Body Listening. Whole Body Listening is the idea that listening extends beyond the ears to all parts of the body. I introduced the concept during one of our first Reader's Workshop mini-lessons. First, I gathered the class on the carpet and asked them to share what they know about listening. I led a Google Slides presentation. My favorite part of the presentation was discussing the idea of "brain thoughts" vs. "mouth thoughts." You know how first graders love to tell you EVERYTHING they think? Well, there's just not enough time in the day for them to do that. We talked about the difference between Brain Thoughts, or those ideas that can stay inside your brain, and Mouth Thoughts, or those thoughts that are so important that they need to be shared. 

Whole Body Listening Google Slides

Brain Thoughts vs. Mouth Thoughts

Some kiddos just love to share EVERYTHING they think!

Then, we created an anchor chart together. Last year, while reminding my class to listen like the boy on our chart, one of my kiddos spontaneously said, "You mean Steve?" and he became know as Steve for the rest of the year ;P I thought it would be funny to nickname our chart dude again this year, so I asked the class what we should call him... and one kiddo immediately replied, "Bob. He looks like a Bob." So it stuck! Now when we review Whole Body Listening, I remind them that they should look like a bunch of Bobs. Cracks me up!

Our Whole Body Listening Model, aka Bob

After creating the anchor chart, I led the class in a read-aloud while reinforcing the positive behaviors I saw from my kiddos. I said things such as, "I love how ___ is facing forward towards me!" and "____'s hands are so calm and still" to connect their behaviors to the anchor chart. I also had my minions complete a "Whole Body Listening" emergent reader to review the concepts. 

Emergent Reader

"I listen with my eyes."

"I listen with my whole body!"

I printed copies of the Whole Body Listening chart and the Mouth Thoughts/Brain Thoughts slides on standard-sized paper, laminated them, and hung them in our whole-group meeting area for reference. We have to review the concepts once in awhile, but sharing this common understanding of what it means to be a Whole Body Listener has made a huge difference in my classroom! I'm also a newbie to Class Dojo, the online classroom management tool, so I made "Whole Body Listening" into a skill worth 2 points. I also printed a copy of what it means to be a Whole Group Listener at tables and displayed it at my reading table. Kiddos can't know what you expect unless you teach it explicitly... I'm loving my "Bobs" this year! Happy teaching!

Whole Body Listening poster in black-and-white

Whole Body Listening poster in color

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