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This summer we almost had a 1:1 ratio of interns to staff! This photo shows the largest “all staff” meeting we’ve ever had! Thanks to our four interns this summer, Randy, Maija, Laing and Doug, we were able to accomplish so much and be ready for back-to-school. We are sad to see them go, but know they are off to great things. Read a little bit about them below.


What is your name and background? 

Laing Wise: My name is Laing Wise, I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA, and I am currently a senior studying Political Science and French at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Randy Peralta: My name is Randy Peralta and I am a rising senior at Bates college in Lewiston, Maine. I am from New York City and I am a first generation Dominican-American.

Maija Johanne Jakobsen: My name is Maija and I just finished a Bachelor degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Doug Leon: My name is Doug Leon, I am a rising junior at Bates College from Watertown, MA.

What is the most interesting thing you have learned during this internship? 

Laing: Working with Listenwise has given me a much broader understanding of the myriad ways in which education can be better understood and improved. Throughout high school and college, I never thought to look critically at the ways in which I was being taught and what methods of learning worked best for me, but after working with Listenwise I’ve realized that technology has opened up new and revolutionary methods of teaching that are just waiting to be explored.

Randy: The most interesting that I have learned over the course of my internship is how educational listening content can be used to enrich yourself and others. Obviously, Listenwise is targeted towards students but throughout my internship I feel like I have learned so much from our content and also have really learned to appreciate how educational it can be to listen to someone. As an avid reader I often used to get impatient listening to audiobooks or podcasts but now I find myself listening to the same clips or podcasts many times because actually hearing every word has made me understand the content much more.

Maija: The fact that Educational Technology is such a big industry here in the States compared to Norway! I also realized that learning to really understand what you are listening to when you are young is so important for future learning as you get older. I hadn’t really thought about that before I started this internship!

Doug: The most interesting thing I have learned about in this internship is catering to the customer. To have a successful product we need to pry into the needs of a community, identify the struggles, and then provide a product that covers those needs effectively.  

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Laing: When I read the Harry Potter books as a kid, I was always jealous of Hermione’s timeturner.  I think I’d like to have the ability to stop and start time, mostly to take naps during class if I need to!

Randy: I think my superpower would be some kind of super vision that I could turn on and off. I wear glasses and have really horrid vision so I would love to be able to see really well and accurately.

Maija: I would love to be able to travel with teleportation!

Doug: If I could have a superpower it would probably be flying. I don’t like planes but I love going to new places, and flying would be a sweet way to travel and explore the world.

If you could travel somewhere tomorrow, where would you go and who would you go with?

Laing: If I could go anywhere and take anyone, I would probably go to Paris with my brother. We are both absolutely enamored by French culture & fashion, and hopefully my language skills would be enough to get us by.  We went once with my dad when I was 15 and my brother was 14, but we always talk about how fun it’d be to go back someday and have our own adventures.

Randy: I would go to Costa Rica or Guatemala with my family because we have never traveled anywhere before and I know that my family would really enjoy getting to see the beautiful ecosystems that both of those countries have in them. We would also be able to traverse the cities with some ease because we all speak Spanish fluently.

Maija: I would go back to camp on a totally secluded island in the Philippines called Palawan with my boyfriend.

Doug Leon: If I could go anywhere tomorrow, it might be New Zealand.  The scenery there seems incredible, and it seems very peaceful.  I would probably go with anyone from my home, as long as they shared my interest to explore!

What are you going to be when you grow up?

Laing: After I graduate from UW-Madison this fall I want to move to Providence to work on my good friend’s City Council campaign.  She’s extremely politically motivated and I really believe she can win!  After that, I’m hoping to move to DC and kick start my own wildly successful career in politics.

Randy: I am going to be a lawyer with an office in New York City who works with primarily at-risk communities and small businesses. I am very interested in protecting the “little guy” because I feel like I have been part of that group of people all my life and probably will continue to be for a while. If law school does not work I think I would like to work in the edtech world, helping to create and edit content that schools and students can use to ensure success for themselves!

Maija: I’m actually doing what entrepreneurs would call a “pivot”: Starting all over and going into psychology, so I guess you can call me in 6 years and ask me to do a psychoanalysis of you!

Doug: When I grow up I am going to be a professional basketball player, or a zookeeper. I try to keep my options open.

It’s back to school time and you’re probably as excited as we are to get started with the new year.

To help you get your classroom ready and plan for your students to use Listenwise, we’ve put together a checklist of things to do!


First, did you see our updated lesson pages?! We’ve updated our lesson pages in Premium so you can navigate and assign each lesson more easily! Make sure you know what’s all new – brush up by reading our blog announcement.


It’s time to prepare your Listenwise Premium account for a new batch of students. It’s easy to delete classes. Watch this video on how to delete your classes from last year.

  • You are now ready to create new classes. On the Classes page you will see the Add New Class button on the right. This will generate a new Class Code for you to share with your students.  (Your students will use the code to sign up at www.listenwise.com/students)

Use the Student Quick Start Guide to help students sign up with new class codes. (Download our PDF)


Think about your instructional goals for the year. Choose a few new ways to use Listenwise this year that align with your instruction goals! Check out the possibilities in this new Listenwise Infographic: Ways to Use Listenwise!


Review our blogs about:


Sign up for one of our fall webinars.


Still want some more support? Check out our new Teacher Resources section of our website!


As always, we love hearing from you, and want to set you up for success, so if you hear a story on NPR that you like and want to see on Listenwise for your classroom, please let us know by emailing us.

We hope this helps you get off to a great school year!

Just in time for back-to-school, we’ve launched a new Teacher Resources section of our website!

You can find our teacher resources through the “About” tab or at this URL: https://listenwise.com/teacher_resources

From the teacher resources page you can now access a webinar page where you can sign up for any of our upcoming webinars, register for a 30-minute premium product training if you like, or watch any of our recorded Spring webinars. Find awesome content here: https://support.listenwise.com/webinars/

The blog links to our blog pages, just like this one. The most popular blogs are listed in the Support Center under Classroom Instruction. Keep an eye for a new blog post every Sunday!

The Support Center is a compilation of helpful teacher resources. We’ve included resources for how to teach with Listenwise, tools to get started, video tutorials, and MORE! Click on the boxes or the easy-access links beneath each section to find helpful resources.

In “Getting Started” we’ve compiled quick start onboarding tools. You can easily access our teacher quick start guide and our student quick start guide online or download and print them out.


In the “Video Tutorials” section we have video tours of Listenwise Premium and many “how to” videos on how to navigate Listenwise Premium. These videos can help you enter a Premium code, add and delete classes and students, and more.


The “FAQ” section is updated with all of your important Listenwise questions, but if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us here: listenwise.com/contact. We welcome any and all feedback!


And the “Classroom Instruction” section links you to our blog collections where we compile relevant lessons and current events for important topics, along with highlighted blogs and resources on how to use Listenwise to implement listening in your classroom.


Check out all the awesome new resources on our website, share with friends, and reach out if you have questions or new ideas to add! Happy Back-to-School!


This summer we’ve been busy launching some new and exciting updates to Listenwise Premium. Here are some notable new improvements! As always we love feedback, so feel free to comment or contact us online here.


Text Help Toolbar

We are excited to announce that a Text Help toolbar is now available to help students with comprehension of any written text—a story synopsis, teacher instructions, assignment questions, whatever they see!  Students simply highlight any text on the screen and press the play button to hear the words spoken aloud, or they can highlight words and easily access a Spanish translation, or English dictionary definition, or even a picture definition. This makes our website more accessible for students who are learning English, students who have reading difficulties, or students who need support in understanding the content on our website.

The toolbar is integrated in the student view on the bottom of each page of the Listenwise website that students see. It will automatically appear for current event assignments, listening links, and when students browse the library of content. Teachers choose whether to include it when creating a written lesson assignment or assigning a quiz. In a quiz, the toolbar is limited to text read aloud, because vocabulary lookup would create a problem with vocabulary quiz questions! Want to see what your students will see with the Text Help bar? Just preview your  assignment to see what students will see! You can also easily go back to previously created assignments and add in this option.


New Look for Listenwise Premium Lessons

We’ve updated our lesson pages in Premium so you can navigate and assign each lesson more easily! There was so much great content but not everyone was finding it. The most notable changes are in the top right of the screen. All the assignment, quiz and favorite tools have moved there (no more toolbar) and you can also see the language challenge level, whether the lesson has additional scaffolding.

We also renamed a few things to make it clearer. For example, if you would like to share a story directly in your google classroom, click the button called “share audio.” This previously was a blue “listening link” button in the toolbar.  We’ve also applied these changes to Current Events where it made sense.

The second big difference is that we now have tabs to organize the different sections of the lesson under the audio player.

  • The Story tab is where you will find the interactive transcript.
  • The Assignment Resources tab has the information to create an assignment: comprehension questions, vocabulary, discussion questions, graphic organizers along with additional supporting materials to build background.
  • The Teacher’s Guide tab provides teaching suggestions and support to use this story with your students. There are curriculum connections, a detailed listening guide, and alignment to your state’s standards.
  • In the Scaffolding tab, there are activities specific for English learners and struggling readers for when you want to break down the “text” further and better prepare students for listening., Content includes a close listening guide, suggestions for building background, and tiered vocabulary. This is where you’ll find the Language Objectives and specific instruction and supports for meeting the language objective.
  • The Quiz tab has the questions and answers in the quiz, along with a preview of what students will see when they take the quiz.
  • The Class Activities tab provides a content lesson plan in more detail and examples of activities that can be used with the story in different student configurations such as whole group, small group, individual, 1:1, etc.

Tagging for Your Favorites and Assignments

Now we have made it easier for you to organize items in your favorites and your assignments, so you can find them more easily when you need them. When you favorite a lesson directly on the lesson or current event page you have the option of adding a tag immediately.

Or, in the assignments tab simply click the orange plus (+) button to add or create a tag on a favorite or assignment story. All of the tags you’ve already used will be listed on the right. Click a tag to see all the items with that tag. For example, you might find a couple great stories for when you discuss immigration later in the year. Simply add an Immigration tag to each of them to create a collection you can assign later. Or organize your assignments by semester or unit for easier reuse next year.

Here’s what your Favorites look like when organized with tags.

AND don’t forget about our listening quizzes released in January 2017!

Our listening quizzes are quick and easy to assign and provide you with great data about how well your students are listening. Use them frequently with students to practice their listening skills and get auto-scored performance data immediately by class and by student. Now that components of the Common Core SBAC test listening comprehension, your students may need more practice not just with listening, but with taking listening assessments.

Benton Lewis, 11th grade ELA teacher in Clovis, CA, has used Listenwise with his students and has seen his students’ listening scores rise by 12 percentage points from 2015 to 2016. Lewis states, “I think, just logically speaking, at least part of that is due to Listenwise.


Want more of a specialized walk through of our cool new additions to Listenwise Premium? Join one of our
30-minute Premium Product Training webinars in the upcoming month for a great overview or a refresher.


At the end of the past school year, we challenged Listenwise teachers to engage students in a classroom debate. The rules were simple: choose a debate story from Listenwise, have students listen to the story, pick a side and record the debate in action. We wanted to get students talking and having fun during the last weeks of school.

Thank you to everyone who participated! We had some great submissions, but one classroom’s debate was more spirited than the rest.


Congratulations to Mr. Bob Donahue’s 6th Grade class at St. Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton, MA!

The winning class debated whether social media affects behavior, and did a fabulous job working in teams and presenting their arguments. Watch their debate below:


Mr. Donahue told us that his students loved debating and using class time to be interactive: “The content got the kids thinking about their own lives and how they feel about the social media use. They took both sides and learned how to argue their perspective using facts and also listening to the other side. I was delighted at the result and so were the kids. I am grateful to Listenwise for their efforts to constantly strive to present important topics to learners.”

If Mr. Donahue’s class debate inspired you, try hosting a debate in your classroom this fall. We post a new debate story every Friday, so check out the latest Current Events, choose a story, and share your debate with us on Twitter @listenwiselearn!


“Listenwise has been an invaluable teaching tool for my middle school social studies students.  The topics are well researched, covering diverse subjects and the lessons are accessible for most learners.  The students loved doing the debate on Whether Social Media Affects Behavior.  The content got the kids thinking about their own lives and how they feel about the social media use.  They took both sides and learned how to argue their perspective using facts and also listening to the other side.  I was delighted at the result and so were the kids.  They loved using class time to be interactive and we had a celebration when we found they won the $50 Amazon gift card.  I am grateful to Listenwise for their efforts to constantly strive to present important topics to learners.” – Mr. Donahue

Join us for our Fall webinar series created to help Listenwise users deep dive into all our awesome tools and features, including the quizzes and English learner supports. We’ll also feature real-life stories from real teachers to give you ideas on how to use Listenwise in your classroom.

Reserve your spot for one webinar or all three, for free!


Are you new to Listenwise? We’re also offering ongoing free product trainings to help you get started with Listenwise Premium! In this 30 minute in depth “how-to” webinar, you’ll discover how to create accounts, create classes, enroll students, create assignments, and assess student work.

Register for one of these times:

Tuesday August 8th, 6pm EST

Thursday August 24th, 3pm EST

Tuesday September 12th, 7pm EST

Thursday September 28th, 3pm EST

We hope you have been having a great summer!

Jim Bentley- California TeacherWe are busy planning for back-to-school, listening to tons of NPR stories, and reflecting on how many awesome educators we are privileged to work with everyday. During the year we like to spotlight rockstar teachers in our Sunday newsletter, but today we highlight Jim Bentley in more depth. Jim teaches in the Elk Grove Unified School District in California where he loops from 5th to 6th grade with his students. Learn more about how he teaches with Listenwise below, and connect with him on Twitter @Curiosity_Films.


What do you like about using Listenwise?

Today more than ever students need to learn how to navigate through multiple forms of information. No longer are we limited to learning in a classroom with a book. We live in an era where we can “Google” just about anything and find the written word on blogs or websites, the spoken word in videos or podcasts, or a mix of the two on a variety of other multimedia sources replete with charts, graphs, infographics.


To me, Listenwise is a way to develop students’ listening comprehension skills to understand content and also a vehicle to promote critical analysis of that content. It’s just as much a thinking tool as a listening tool.


What is your listening routine in the classroom?

I find I like to use Listenwise as a tool to accompany a piece of text. The text might precede the Listenwise piece, or vice versa. By pairing the listening to reading, students can turn to multiple sources of information when responding to written or discussion prompts. That’s a life skill in addition to connecting to more than one Common Core Standard.


Which Listenwise stories integrated well into your curriculum?

I found an article, Cleaning Carbon From Our Air, that my students listened to as part of a larger unit on climate change. It was powerful for them to hear an interview with a climate scientist to reveal how 9 petagrams of carbon are produced by people annually. That’s an amount equivalent to a coal train circling the planet 54 times! That had a huge impact on my students who were questioning whether humans could really be affecting an entire planet’s atmosphere.


What advice would you give to teachers getting started?

PRACTICE listening! It’s harder than it seems. I listen to NPR in my car exclusively, but when I’m close listening to a Listenwise piece, it’s a different ball game. We need to model the process aloud and visibly for students. And we need to help students understand that it’s okay to replay something 2 or 5 times and not just rely on our memory.


Do you have teaching advice to share? If you want to tell your story in a teacher spotlight, email kathryn@listenwise.com.

This past week at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago we were honored as one of AASL’s 2017 Best Websites for Teaching & Learning!

The Best Websites for Teaching & Learning list is based on feedback and nominations from AASL members. The annual list honors 25 websites that provide enhanced learning and curriculum development for school librarians and their teacher collaborators. Now in its ninth year, with 225 recognized sites, the list is considered the “best of the best” by AASL.

Here are the 25 websites honored this year:

  • Media sharing: Elink, Screen-cast-omatic, My Simpleshow, Pixabay, ClassHook
  • Digital storytelling: The Learnia, Spreaker, Write the World, Buncee
  • Manage and organize: Sugarcane, Google Keep, Baamboozle, Cite This For Me
  • Social networking and communications: Vizia, Formative, Flipgrid
  • Curriculum collaboration: Wizer, OER Commons
  • Content resources: US Holocaust Museum, Arts Edge, Common Lit, Media Smarts, Listenwise, Poets.org, DuoLingo


The Best Websites for Teaching & Learning provide a foundation to support AASL’s learning standards and each website is linked to one or more of the four strands of the “Standards for the 21st-Century Learner” – skills, dispositions in action, responsibilities and self-assessment strategies. These websites foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation and collaboration. These honored websites are free, web-based sites that are user-friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover.

Learn more at: www.ala.org/aasl/bestwebsites.

We are excited to be heading to ISTE (June 26-28)  next week!

Visit the Booth

The Listenwise team will be at Booth #2132 in the Startup Pavilion with live demos, swag, and chances to win Listenwise Premium! Look for Chelsea and Monica in our fun blue shirts!

Attend our Poster Session

Monica will discuss how you can create podcasts in your classroom on Monday, June 26. Find us early in the morning from 8 –10 am in the Tower View Lobby at Table 25.


Listen and Learn at the Technology-Based Literacy Resources Lecture

Connect with Monica on Monday, June 26 in Room 301A. Monica and others will present emerging technology-based resources and practices with high potential to improve and transform learning and teaching. Leave this session with ideas, insights and resources ready to impact your classroom and practice.


Find us at Google

We’ll also by popping through Google’s Booth #1718 on Tuesday between 11:45 am – 2:45 pm and Wednesday from 9:30 am – 12 pm to demo Listenwise, answer questions about the active listening bundle for Chromebooks, and more. We are excited to meet you! Learn more about our partnership with Google here.


Not able to make it to ISTE?

Follow along on Twitter @listenwiselearn and join the conversation #ISTE17 or #notatISTE.

Summer is here! We’ve put together a list of stories  that you can listen to this summer while you are walking in the park, at the beach, or working at your summer job.  Some of these stories are not necessarily aligned to a curriculum, but are relevant or thought provoking. Summer is a good time to explore other topics and spark other interests.

Get ready to start listening to some great local and national public radio stories.


Enjoy Your Summer 2017 Listening List


   How Sugar Changes the Brain

   Art Museums Offer Tours for Blind Visitors

   Eating Together Helps People Agree

   Debate: Can Virtual Reality Make You More Empathetic?

   Debate: Do Busy People Get More Things Done?

   Debate: Should Teenagers be Allowed to Drive After Dark?



   Debate: Should Fidget Spinners Be Allowed in Classrooms?

   The World’s Happiest Nation

   PB&J in NBA Locker Rooms

   The Dogs of Capitol Hill

   Making Lunch in Japan is High Stakes

   Sounds and Engaging Teens in Listening Experiences



Thought provoking:

   Teaching Millennial Police Officers to Communicate

   Clash on Climate Change Beliefs within a Family

   Debate: What Helps Students Learn Best? A Lesson from China

    Debate: Do You Think Everyone has a Bias?

   Debate: Does Social Media Affect Your Behavior?

   Debate: How Can Social Media Help Save More Abandoned Dogs and Cats?

   Debate: How Can Students Become Prepared to Spot Fake News?


Lessons to Explore as You Think About Back-to-School:


   Henrietta Lacks and Patient Privacy

   How Snow is Made

   Black Women Math Heroes at NASA

   Caffeine: Helpful or Harmful?


Social Studies

   Growing Up in Revolutionary Iran- Persepolis

   Anne Frank’s Father Attempted to Emigrate

   Civil War’s First African-American Infantry

   British Loyalists After the Revolutionary War



   How the Weather Influenced ‘Frankenstein’

   Totalitarianism in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’

   ‘Don Quixote’ and Being A Dreamer

   Hemingway’s Choices


If you have favorite stories you don’t see here share with us on twitter @listenwiselearn and join the conversation #summerlistening.

Share the summer listening list with your professional networks!