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Listenwise has just released Collections! These are curated story collections based on popular themes commonly incorporated into the curriculum and addressed in classrooms across subjects and grade levels. A collection such as “The American Dream,” for example, includes a diverse group of stories that embody a generative theme. They can be used together to illustrate various angles on the theme and promote critical thinking and deep discussion among students. 

Collections are essentially audio text sets, which can be used in a variety of ways. Teachers might select a Collection to accompany a literary text (e.g., Death of a Salesman or A Raisin in the Sun) or a topical curriculum unit (i.g., immigration or civil rights) to diversify perspectives on an important universal theme that transcends time and place. Students might select different stories from within a Collection and then discuss as a group how they are connected to each other and to students’ own experiences. Teachers might assign several stories from within a Collection and then facilitate a discussion about common threads. 

How do I find Collections?

You can browse the Collections page from the Lessons drop-down menu. This is a good way to see the entire set of Collections, explore whether any are well matched to your curriculum, or consider some new ideas for curriculum development.

When you search the Listenwise library using a keyword related to a topic you are teaching, you’ll see related Collections on the search results page. You can also filter by “Collection.” This can help you find stories that you may not otherwise realize could be connected to your curriculum. 

What are the Collection themes?

We have launched Collections with publication of the eight collections below. We plan to add more, so if there’s a theme you would like to see, please let us know.

  • Coming of Age: These stories focus on young people experiencing challenges and triumphs as they grow up in a complicated world.
  • Perseverance: These stories of individual journeys of accomplishment, full of twists and turns, speak to the power of perseverance, no matter what obstacles threaten to block the way. 
  • Seeking Justice: Spanning multiple countries, decades, and causes, these stories address the importance of advocacy by and on behalf of people suffering injustice of any kind.
  • Shaping Identity: This collection focuses on individuals who feel conflict among aspects of their identities and ultimately come to accept themselves and make deliberate choices about who they want to be.
  • Survival: The stories in this collection look to survivors of harrowing experiences for insight into how a singular uncontrollable event can impact the rest of a person’s life.
  • The American Dream: This collection invites consideration of how the idea of the “American Dream” manifests in reality for people of different backgrounds.
  • The Human Connection: This collection explores the potential effects of seemingly simple human interactions, demonstrating how people are linked by their need to make meaning in their lives through relationships. 
  • The Power of Fear: These stories explore a basic human emotion that can be protective or harmful, illustrating the power of fear in a range of circumstances, including its origins and its consequences

Wakelet is a platform that allows educators to capture, organize, and share online teaching and learning resources. You can save any digital content to Wakelet – articles, videos, social media posts, PDFs, images and much more. Educators have been using Wakelet in many different ways, from portfolios to lesson plans, and now for Listenwise assignments! 

Sourcing a Wakelet Collection in Your Listenwise Assignments

One easy place to start is to assign a Listenwise story and incorporate a Wakelet link in the instructions with additional resources to provide further background and context on the topic for students. Alternatively, you could include the creation of a Wakelet collection as part of the assignment, giving students the chance to curate high quality resources as part of their research. This anchors the assignment on one Listenwise story, allowing students to do independent research on the topic. 

This is what it might look like in Listenwise:

Creating Wakelet Collections and Sourcing Listenwise Content

Another way to engage your students in using quality multimedia sources and participating in topical class discussions is to curate your own collections using Wakelet, incorporating Listenwise stories among the included resources.

Here’s what that could look like in Wakelet:

More Ideas for App Smashing Wakelet & Listenwise

Educator, Glen Weibe, wrote a great blog post highlighting effective ways to use Wakelet paired with Listenwise content. Whether you want to students to write argumentative essays, compare and contrast research, or evaluate different news sources covering the same story, you can curate your own Wakelet collection and incorporate Listenwise podcasts into that collection.

You could create a collection with 20 primary sources (Listenwise stories have great primary source audio!) and ask students to create their own collections taking inspiration from yours. From those 20 sources, they might pick 10 and use Wakelet notes to explain why they thought those 10 were the most important, or they could add their own using shared curation criteria. Educator Paul West writes about the importance of teaching students the skills of curation and shares some other fun project ideas. Check out his blog post!

Another route to take is to assign students to develop a curated Wakelet collection that students have sourced themselves (individually or as a group). Matt Miller from DitchThatTextbook wrote a great blog post on how to use the collaboration feature on Wakelet in your classroom. 

This collaborative process can pave the way for some awesome classroom opportunities, like having students analyze the collections of other groups, making peer review suggestions. 

Or, if you have been podcasting in your classroom (or want to start), have students create their own podcasts and pop them into a Wakelet collection when they are done. Then their classmates can listen and respond to the collections themselves. (See how @herplatt is doing that with his English Learners). You can find a variety of resources to support student podcasting projects in the Listenwise support center. 

There are so many great ways to use Listenwise and Wakelet together – as a helpful resource for assignment organization or as a tool for students to create their own projects.

Let us know in the comments how you are using Listenwise and Wakelet together!

Updated September 2019

There is no better time to celebrate the culture and accomplishments of Latino and Hispanic communities than National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15). Here are a few resources to help engage students in exploring significant aspect of the Latino/Hispanic American experience.

If you are looking for text-based resources, this blog post from CommonLit pays tribute to accomplished Hispanic authors, poets, and social activists, with a collection of 9 texts, organized by grade level. This lesson from the New York Times Learning Network can spark meaningful discussion about dedicating a month to “Hispanic Heritage.” A teacher’s guide from EDSITEment offers a variety of relevant instructional resources, and the Library of Congress highlights a broad collection of resources for teachers.

Some points to consider while teaching:

  • Take this opportunity to build empathy among students and discuss the value of diversity.
  • If there are Hispanic or Latino students in your class, do not put them in a position of speaking for all Hispanics or being the authority on all aspects of their culture or history.
  • All nationalities and cultures experience struggles and celebrate achievements. It is important to present a balance of challenges and positive accomplishments.

Listenwise Stories about Latino and Hispanic Experiences:

Stories of Immigration: Immigration policies continue to shift and change. Listen to hear about the experiences and Latino authors Sandra Cisneros, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Jose Antonio Vargas. Hear the story of an immigrant from Bolivia, a 13-year old migrant from Honduras, and dairy-farm workers from Guatemala, and learn about the system in place for metering migrants at the Mexican-American border.

History and Culture: Hear how students are connecting with their history by taking Field Trips to Study Mexican-American History, and learn about one university professor who is teaching about Mexican culture through tacos.

Current EventsListen to stories about current events in Venezuela, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, as well as historic events, such as the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Mexican-Americans in the 1930s, for which California has recently apologized.

Media Representation: Listen to this story to learn about a comic strip featuring a Latino family that has been running for over 20 years, and hear about this HBO series on Quinceañera celebrations. 

Challenges for Children:  Learn about the difficulties of undocumented parents finding support for their American children, hear the story of two migrant children who were reunited with their mother after 10 years, and learn about the challenges of teaching Spanish to second-generation children, and the changes in DACA protections.

We have a number of exciting events coming up this fall, including Twitter chats, fall webinars, and upcoming conferences! Here they are all in one place.

TWITTER CHATS

  • Monday, Sept 16th, join us for #sschat at 7PM EDT/4PM PDT where we will be chatting about “Active Listening & Civic Engagement.”

  • Monday, Oct 7th we will be hosting #ellchat on “Podcasting with English Learners.” Mark your calendars for at 9PM EDT/6PM PDT.

Please help us spread the word on Twitter and share with your PLN! 

FREE WEBINARS (register at the links below)

CONFERENCES

Let us know @listenwiselearn if you’ll be attending any of these events. We hope to see you in person!

We’ve been hearing from Google Classroom teachers that you want more integrations with Listenwise, and we’ve been listening! Last year we offered Google single sign-on, sharing assignments to Google Classroom, and Google Classroom roster import. We are thrilled to announce our newest integration: sending quiz scores to Google Classroom!

It’s now easier than ever to assign a quiz, as well as share the quiz assignment to Google Classroom AND send scores to Google Classroom. It just takes a few clicks!

Step 1: Find a Story with Quiz and Choose a Class

We have over 300 quizzes and counting on Listenwise! Once you find a story with a quiz that you want to assign, click the “Assign Quiz” button in the upper right-hand corner of the story.

Choose a class and pick a due date — no changes here! If you select a class that was imported from Google Classroom, then you will automatically see the new gradebook integration options.

Step 2: Select Google Classroom Options and Click “Assign”

You have two options: “Share Quiz with Google Classroom” and “Send Scores to Google Classroom.” 

If you want to send quiz scores to Google Classroom, you must share the quiz to Google Classroom. But you can share the quiz to Google Classroom without sending quiz scores. See the video below for more:

Note: If you want to share the quiz with students in Google Classroom without importing the class roster, click the Google Classroom icon on the Quiz Report page. 

Step 3: Listenwise Quiz is in Google Classroom!

If you opt to share the quiz and send scores to Google Classroom, the Listenwise quiz will automatically be added to your Google Classroom Stream, Classwork, and Grades tabs. Quiz scores will be added to your Grades as students submit Listenwise quizzes.

For more details and step-by-step instructions on all integrations, check out the Listenwise + Google Classroom Guide.

As you head into this school year, you may be asking yourself, “What can I do to help my students feel safe, and how do I ensure that my classroom is a place that de-escalates hatred and fear?”

There have been many tragic incidents in the news this summer, and a rise in documented incidents of hate in schools across the last couple of years. More than ever, this raises the importance of teachers creating a safe and nurturing environment for every one of their students. We believe it’s important that all students feel safe in school, valued by teachers and peers, and able to fully be themselves in the classroom.

In a recent #sschat, Facing History and Ourselves hosted a conversation about being an “upstander.” FHO defines an upstander as “a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied.” Read the archived chat to see how teachers are promoting upstanding behaviour in their classrooms.

This summer, hate has been in the headlines in our local communities and around the world. For example, recent Listenwise current events include stories about hateful manifestos and videos posted on the internet or about the dangers facing Central American migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. Below, we offer some helpful resources to help educators bring up current events in their classrooms and offer sensitive entry points to confront troubling violence and injustice, including terrorism, genocide, and attacks on human rights. 

In this 30-minute webinar Listenwise hosted with Facing History and Ourselves, we discuss how the power of storytelling can bring social-emotional learning to the classroom and help students understand the experiences of others and empathize with them. 

On September 12, 2019 Facing History is hosting another webinar to share strategies for teaching current events.
You can register here.

Here are some more high-quality resources from Facing History and Ourselves on Addressing Hate, Violence, Injustice. Facing History has also created a great back-to-school toolkit to help teachers create a supportive and inclusive classroom community. These lessons address how to effectively establish classroom norms that support students in learning to value differing perspectives, question assumptions, and actively listen to others. 

Colorin Colorado has bilingual resources to facilitate talking with students about tragic events. Here are their 15 Tips for Talking with Children About Violence. This page is regularly updated with additional links to help teachers talk to students about the issues facing their communities and the world around them. 

“Our classrooms cannot cocoon our students from the real world. We can begin talking through not only the recent violence in our country, but broader instances of systemic oppression related to white supremacy, anti-immigration sentiment, racism, and LGBTQ discrimination.” (source Urgent Need for AntiRacist Education)


Read our previous blog post that includes further resource links to Facing History, Edutopia, NY Times, and other sources to help teachers set the scene and create a safe space for talking about news and current events, even when they are difficult to discuss.

This blog post is in collaboration with Jeff Bradbury of TeacherCast. Read more on his blog.

How can you bring podcasting into your classroom? Start with selecting a purpose that aligns with your curriculum. Will students create podcasts that inform, persuade, analyze, reflect, tell a story, or some combination? Once you have defined a task, you can select the appropriate production format for your students’ podcasts. Will podcasts be commentary by a single speaker? Will they be interviews or conversations? Will they be investigative reports involving multiple perspectives on an issue or topic? 

Here are some easy podcast project ideas to help you get started:

  1. Book Reviews.  Podcasts offer a great way for students to talk about books they have read. Here is one example of a 10th grade English class podcasting in various styles for their book reviews

  1. Field Trip Reports. Wherever your class is traveling and whatever they are learning, they can podcast about it! Check out this great blog post about how one social studies class podcasted during their Washington D.C. monument tour, using guiding questions to focus student reports from the field. To hear a more professional example, listen to this high-quality NHPR radio field trip.

  2. News Stories. Engage your students in authentic journalism. KQED has some great samples so that your students can listen to high-quality finished projects before they create their own. Listen to this example from a youth reporter. 

  3. Interview a Community Member. Podcasting projects can explore family histories, job roles and responsibilities, or perspectives on current issues within the community. First, have students explore what makes a good interview and prepare well before recording in person. See these great tips from NPR.

  4. Personal Essays. This is a simple way to get your students comfortable speaking and recording with audio. After they write a personal essay, they can read it aloud in their own voice and submit the audio file as a podcast. 

  5. Audio Diaries. Students can reflect on a topic of personal interest via audio and send in their submissions to a google voicemail number that you set up (Here’s a quick how-to), or record via their smartphones and upload to a Google Drive folder. 

  6. Dramatic Read-Alouds. Teach your students how to deliver prose with expression and emphasize the important parts of stories. Dramatic readings of passages can build fluency and comprehension. Remember that the Iliad and the Odyssey were passed down orally, and Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be heard and seen. 

  7. Speeches. Students can practice oration in a low-stakes environment. Whether they write the speeches themselves or practice emulating famous speeches, audio recording can be less intimidating than speaking in front of an audience. It also allows students to listen to themselves, assess how they sound, and re-record themselves as many times as it takes to achieve their oratory goals.

These are just some ideas, and there are many more ways to integrate podcasting into the curriculum.

Whatever you decide, do not let technology hinder you from podcasting! All you need is an iPhone or laptop to record audio, and you can use a variety of tools to edit (e.g., Audacity, GarageBand, or SoundTrap.) Even if you are not fully comfortable with the technology, your students probably will be. 

If you would like to delve deeper into learning about podcasting in the classroom, see below for more resources. 

Are you interested in learning more about how you can integrate podcasting into your curriculum?

Listen to this TeacherCast podcast episode highlighting our CEO, Monica Brady-Myerov.  

You can also find more podcasting lesson ideas by listening to the Student Podcast PODCAST. No matter what grade you teach, your students can podcast. One upcoming episode features kindergarten podcasters!

Find other great resources to support your podcasting projects on the NYTimes Learning Network

If you are interested in professional development for classroom podcasting, learn more here and fill out this interest form to find out more about an online personalized 3-month PD module co-hosted by Listenwise and Soundtrap. 

Are you looking for some new ways to use Listenwise with your students this Fall? You’re in luck! We’ve put together some ideas to inspire your next listening activity. They have different instructional goals and involve varying levels of digital access, so there is something for everyone.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out the Teacher Support Center and reach out to other Listenwise users on the Listenwise Educator Community Facebook group.


Week 1: Listen & Discuss Together

  1. Find 3 stories that students would find interesting and let the class choose which story to listen to together. Use this as a guide to find your listening style. You have the option to use the Teacher’s Guide tab on Lessons to support purposeful listening.  
  2. Use the story’s Comprehension Questions and Discussion Themes (under the “Assignment Resources” tab) to guide a classroom discussion.


Week 2: Quizzes

  1. Choose 1 story that has a quiz related to what you’re teaching (you can search by standards, too!) Don’t forget that many of our current events now have quizzes as well!
  2. Listen together once and have a discussion to check comprehension (questions under the “Assignment Resources” tab) 
  3. Have students listen on their own and take the quiz (with the option to use the interactive transcript, slower audio and texthelp toolbar)


Week 3: Debate Friday!

  1. Find a story from our weekly debate stories and listen together as a class
  2. Divide into “pro” and “con” teams and allow them to brainstorm and research evidence
  3. Hold a debate! Learn more about facilitating listening debates here.


Week 4: Current Events Homework

  1. Assign 2 current event stories for the week, create assignments for each, and assign them to students to complete independently. (*remember that every current event story posted on Wednesdays have quizzes!)
    OR
  2. Have students choose and listen to 4 current event stories independently during the week. Have students summarize each story using the 5 Ws, provide a writing prompt or have a class discussion about what they listened to.

This blog post was updated from August 2018.

The Listenwise team has been busy preparing for another successful year of listening, and we can’t wait to share what we’ve been up to with you. To make things easier, we’ve created a checklist of tasks for Listenwise Premium teachers to do before your students start listening. 

 

  Delete Old Classes: Clean up last year to make space for new students! From the Classes tab, click on the class name you want to remove, and click the red “Delete Class” at the bottom of the page. See the video below for step-by-step instructions.

 

   

Create New Classes: On the Classes tab, you can import your Google Classroom rosters or manually create each new class in Listenwise. Either way, it only takes a minute to set things up!  Check out this video tutorial for full details. 

If you use Google Classroom, we’ve created a Listenwise + Google Classroom Guide to give you step-by-step instructions for all of our integrations including Single Sign-On, Roster Import, and Assignment Sharing.

 

Enroll Students: We’ve posted a Getting Started as a Student page in our Teacher Support Center to make it easier to get students up and running. We have step-by-step instructions for students, depending on whether you imported Google Classroom rosters or manually created classes. 

    • We also have a 3-minute video that walks students through account sign-up to completing assignments. Send students to this link for a Listenwise introduction.

 

Discover New Content: We now have over 1,800 stories on Listenwise and over 300 quizzes! Here are some highlights among our recently added lessons:

 

Plan Listening Lessons: Think about your instructional goals for the year, and choose a few new ways to use Listenwise this year that align with those goals. Check out some integration strategy ideas for inspiration and use the Listenwise Lesson Planning Worksheet to prepare your lesson.

    • Don’t forget about our listening supports! We updated the Texthelp toolbar to make it easier for students to use in their assignments. It now appears as a blue toolbar at the top of the page, with the option that students can drag it around if needed. The functionality remains the same: students can highlight text and choose read-aloud, definitions, a picture dictionary, or Spanish translation. See the video below for a quick demo.

 

   

Explore our *UPDATED* Teacher Support Center: We have redesigned our Teacher Support Center, so it’s easier than ever to find the resources and inspiration you need to teach listening and critical thinking! We now have a Hot Topics section with a collection of resources on popular topics such as Media Literacy and Student Podcasting.

Summer is a great time for PD! While the sun is out, let’s dive into one of the hottest trending topics in education, PODCASTING! Here are some quick ideas.

If you have 5 minutes…

1. Watch the Soundtrap for Storytellers Crash Course from our partners at Soundtrap. This video is great for first time podcasters looking for the tools to get started.

If you have 10 minutes…

2. Listen to an episode of the Student Podcast PODCAST to hear examples of student podcasts, with reflections from their teachers on the project, hosted by former public radio reporter and Listenwise CEO, Monica Brady-Myerov. Tip: You can even do this one on the beach!

If you have 20 minutes…

3. Watch our webinar How to Teach and Assess Listening and learn how you can use podcasts to engage students and assess listening progress. 

If you have 30 minutes…

4. Download the Teacher’s Guide to Podcasting in the Classroom, with step-by-step guidelines for podcasting in class.

Teachers_Guide_to_Podcasting

5. Watch our 30 minute webinar Creating Podcasts in Class with K-12 administrator Mike Godsey. This webinar will show you how to create a podcast makerspace in your classroom.

For more in-depth podcasting professional development, we are offering a new PD opportunity in partnership with Soundtrap, delivered by experts in podcasting and public radio with flexible online sessions and personalized coaching for a teacher cohort. If you want to learn more or are interested, fill out this form.