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We have concluded our first series of webinars – thanks to all who signed up and attended. You receive FREE PREMIUM for attending or watching one of the recorded webinars. All the webinars are archived on our website, see below for details.

Feel free to share with your networks!

Navigating Fake News in the Classroom
Recorded on April 13, 2017





Bringing History to Life with Public Radio
Recorded April 11, 2017




How to Teach and Assess Listening
Recorded April 26, 2017





Building Empathy with Podcasts & Public Radio
Presented w/Facing History and Ourselves 

Recorded May 11, 2017

March is Women’s History Month. Do you know the history of Women’s History Month? In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians, led by the National Women’s History Project, successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

Use these Listenwise audio stories this month to help students learn about the accomplishments of amazing women of all ages, cultures, races, and abilities. Expand your students’ knowledge of the contributions of women around the world.

Browse the many additional women’s stories in Listenwise  in our Women’s History Collection.


               Black Women Math Heroes at NASA


            Origins and Relevance of the ‘Feminine Mystique’


              Themes of Belonging: Sandra Cisneros


            Joan of Arc’s Influence Still Shines Today


               First African Woman To Win Peace Prize


Current Events

           Amelia Earhart’s Flight

          Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court


        Madeleine Albright


            The First Female Computer Programmer


             Women on the Money


            First Female Nominee for President
           Debate: Is Wonder Woman a Good Ambassador for Women’s Issues?



Other Resources/Lessons

Share My Lesson collection

Teaching Tolerance Resources

Facing History Resources

Find Feminist books and resources at Click! 

Ed History blog resources






We are excited to partner with EPS Literacy and Intervention, a division of School Specialty. This partnership will bolster listening as a critical classroom skill by adding Listenwise Premium to the EPS portfolio of classroom literacy and intervention resources.

For over 60 years EPS Literacy and Intervention has provided targeted instruction and intervention solutions to support, supplement, and enhance the diverse educational needs of K-12 teachers and students. School Specialty is a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace.  

“By welcoming Listenwise to the School Specialty family, we are now offering teachers access to an innovative and effective listening platform that will help them strengthen students’ overall comprehension,” said Bodie Marx, Senior Vice President of Sales and Product Development, School Specialty Curriculum.

Read the full press release here.

This was my first time in SXSWedu, and I had a great time in Austin. It was such a fun atmosphere, and I left with information overload—in the best way. I had a great time connecting with educators on twitter, making a podcast with a new friend I met, and engaging in hands-on creative team-building activities.

Some standout sessions I attended:


“Teaching Storytelling for Empathy and Engagement”

Presented by Micaela Blei of The Moth podcast.

Telling stories allows teachers to bring themselves into the classroom in an authentic way.  Micaela was a brilliant speaker. She started out with her own story to draw in the participants and then went on to dissect the elements of her story and talked about what makes a good story. She helped educators think about how they can bring stories into their classroom with best practices, tips, and tricks.

“If you are telling a story about what matters to you – people will be right there with you.” -Micaela

What makes a good story?

  • Change – growth or change of some sort
  • Theme – keeping to the plan, having a focus, knowing what to say and what is too much to say
  • Being real – choosing something you can honestly talk about.


“Podcasts Lead to Deeper Understanding”

Presented by Monica Brady-Myerov of Listenwise, Emily Donahue of KUT, and Michael Godsey, a teacher and author

Of course I’m a little biased, because Listenwise helped lead this workshop, but I enjoyed hearing three different perspectives that showed educators how to incorporate audio within the classroom in manageable steps. Monica began with the research behind auditory learning, Michael jumped in with how using and creating podcasts has been rewarding and challenging for his students, and Emily explored the best practices and tips for creating stories.

“For radio, for audio, the most powerful way to tell a story is with other people’s voices.” -Emily

“Ask open ended questions to get people to open up. Who, what, when, why, and how. Ask people about their emotions.” -Emily

And the first steps to think about are:

  • What is the story you want to tell?
  • Who do you need to speak with?
  • After speaking with them, what conclusion did you draw?

I even got to try out creating a podcast by using my iphone voice memo feature to record, and then I edited the audio in a free tool called Soundtrap. (Audacity is also another free option for editing.) To share the audio, I could upload the finished product on Soundcloud after sharing with my class/community.


“Facing Ferguson: A News Literacy Case Study”

Panel by: Steve Becton of Facing History and Ourselves, Callie Crossley of WGBH, Alan Miller, President & CEO of the News Literacy Project, and Brittany Noble-Jones, co-anchor of News Channel 12.

This panel session was very powerful and full of really good information. The panel discussed how the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 ignited national debates about race, policing, and justice and what it has done for our news and media reporting. It was extremely powerful to hear Brittany Noble-Jones who was one of the first reporters on the scene of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Steve Becton had some very insightful thoughts about teaching news within your classrooms: “Students are not only great consumers of news, they are unofficial producers of news, because of the opportunities of social media. They know quite a bit about what is going on. The challenge that educators have is, “How do we bring news media into a learning environment so that kids can walk away with real skills?”

The panel discussed the new role of social media and with technology and internet, news now travels a lot faster than it has in the past. The panel dissected fact vs. bias and how all news is not created equal, and how we navigate falsities that spread fast across the media.

I walked away with so much to think about. How do we humanize people in the news? How do we walk in other people’s shoes- to develop empathy? How does doing this inform student civic participation?

Check out more on twitter at: #factsvsbias


“How to Best Serve ELLs with Edtech”

Panel by: Monica Brady-Myerov, Jordan Meranus of Ellevation, and Becky Palacios of ABCmouse

This was another great discussion, and a great way to end the conference. The overarching theme of the panel was stated by Jordan Meranus of Ellevation: “What English learners need is what all students need.”

The audience was heavily engaged as the panel discussed the ELL population growth and expected trajectory, how edtech can be situated to support this growing population, why there aren’t more edtech companies specifically focused on ELLs, and what administrators and school leaders need to embrace, among many other questions.

Questions from the audience centered around what educators can do now with technology, and what we want to see happening in the future with edtech. One poignant question from the audience asked: “Years from now what would you like to see edtech doing for ELL students and teachers?”

The panel response was very much in agreement that they don’t want to see a segmented population of ELLs and non ELLs, and would love to see more integrated solutions for the whole classroom.  Along with edtech tools developed for all teachers at elementary, middle and high school levels to deliver content at the level they need.  Lastly, a key point was that there should be more focus on empowering our English language learners in the U.S. to be global thinkers and feel pride in being multilingual. Everyone, teachers and students, should be advocates for multilingualism and a multicultural and multilingual society.



Thanks to awesome co-presenters we collaborated with: Teacher Mike Godsey and Emily Donahue from KUT on a podcasting workshop, Jordan Meranus from Ellevation, and Becky Palacios from ABCmouse and Colorin Colorado.

Find more content on twitter: @chelsmurph or @listenwiselearn or #sxswedu

For more pictures of the conference I’ve posted them on our Listenwise Facebook page.

We are excited to announce that Google for Education officially launched their active listening apps for Chromebooks (the #1 selling device in US schools), which includes Listenwise Premium! Google is ensuring Chromebook’s provide schools with tools that foster skills of the future. They’ve collaborated with educators across the globe to help curate multipurpose apps that enhance the versatility of Chromebooks.

We are very proud to be selected by Google as part of the active listening bundle with Fluency Tutor, a product of Texthelp that allows students to record themselves reading and then share that content with their teacher – away from the pressures of reading aloud in the classroom environment.

As a leading brand in education, it’s exciting to see Google recognize the importance of teaching listening as a key 21st century skill. Listenwise integrates with Google in many ways, teachers can signup and login with their Google accounts, and share assignments on their Google Classroom.  This past year we launched our chrome web app as well – visit the Chrome Web Store to get our web app for your Chromebooks.

We are the second bundle that Google for Education has launched so far. Check out the creative apps for chromebooks as well.

To learn more about active listening apps on Chromebooks, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out Google’s blog, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

What is Empathy?

Source: Brene Brown


How does empathy play a role in the classroom?

Dave Isay, StoryCorps founder and president says, “Listening to people’s authentic stories, especially the stories of those we might otherwise fear as strangers, can help us recognize a little bit of ourselves in others, and in doing so can build indelible bridges of understanding.”  

Studies show that emotions are integral to learning. In the simplest terms, we only think deeply about things we care about. Students learn best when they are emotionally engaged. Good stories told aloud allow the listener to connect emotionally to the people speaking—making them feel something. This makes listening an extremely visual medium with great potential for use in teaching and learning. It helps students put themselves in someone else’s shoes and really feel that experience. Listening to a good story has the ability to spark memories, engage the senses, and elicit empathy.  

Public radio stories expose students to high quality, challenging, authentic content that features academic language, authenticity, emotion and tone. These elements provide students access to real people and real world issues, without limiting the vocabulary or adjusting the sentence structure. Hearing first hand from people in the news helps students make an emotional connection to events.  Listening to stories that share points of view and experiences of people from other circumstances, identities, or cultures helps students identify the humanity in others and understand the world around them.

If you are exploring empathy in your classroom try these audio stories with lessons to walk through different perspectives:


This story called, “Helping A Friend,” is about kindness and looking out for others. Listen to this story with your class to hear about friendship and a boy who wanted to make a difference in the lives of children. Have the class reflect on the story and put themselves in the protagonist’s shoes – ask them to think about and share in what ways could they help if a friend was in a similar situation?

This story, “Insight into what it’s like to be a refugee,” puts the listener in the shoes of a refugee. Among things the listener is asked to ponder is what possessions he or she would take if there was little time to decide and you could only select a small number of items. A thought experiment like this helps foster empathy for the displaced. Also, a story like this one can be used to link to a number of different points in the social studies curriculum including U.S. or World History. Topics where this story could connect well include the Jewish Refugee crisis in World War II, Chinese exclusion, or even the expulsion of Jews from Roman Palestine in the 1st century. The themes that tie them all together (being a stranger in a strange land, the impact of war on civilian populations) are ones that transcend time periods. They are universal human experiences brought into your classroom.

The second story, “Searching for empathy is Israel and Gaza,” is about how the segregation between Israelis and Palestinians has resulted in a lack of empathy for others. Building empathy in this situation could help change the course of history.

And lastly try this debate about virtual reality and how researchers are studying the impact of VR to teach empathy.  This story will introduce new language on how to discuss empathy and talk about empathy from a scientific perspective.


If you are looking for other classroom exercises, try this classroom challenge from Facing History:

  • Write something from your own perspective. Then write something from the perspective of someone else – someone who is different from you.
  • When you read or watch a story about war in another country, think about what your worries or fears might be if you lived in a country where war was part of your daily life.

SXSWedu March 7-8

If you are attending SXSW in March we will be presenting on a panel and leading a workshop!

If you want to meet up, connect with us via email chelsea@listenwise.com or via twitter @listenwiselearn!

Workshop: Creating Podcasts Leads to Deeper Understanding
Tuesday, March 7
1:30PM – 3:30PM
JW Marriott – Salon H

Monica will be presenting with Emily Donahue and Michael Godsey.
The millennial generation and younger are obsessed with podcasts.  Learn how to use this media candy for education! Research shows that when students create their own media content, they learn at a deeper level. Podcast creation can foster deeper learning skills that tap into students ability to think critically about a subject, problem solve, communicate effectively and collaborate. Making a podcast requires students to act in the role of the storyteller or reporter. Listening to podcasts can also engage students with primary texts that are more accessible than print. Hear from educators and podcast producers about how to embed podcasting into your teaching pedagogy.


Panel: How to Best Serve ELLs with Edtech
Wednesday, March 8
3:30PM – 4:30PM
Hilton Austin Downtown – Salon C

Karen is presenting with Jordan Meranus and Rebecca A Palacios.

The English Language Learner population is on an explosive growth track in our nation’s schools. By 2030, 40 percent of all elementary and secondary students could be “language minority students.” Are we equipped to support this growing population of students? This panel will talk about how edtech is serving this growing, but often disadvantaged community and how we can shift mindsets and pedagogy to view children who speak a language other than English at home as an asset rather than as a deficit. Three companies will talk about how they are moving ELLs to proficiency using engaging online content and monitoring tools.


Virtual Webinar with Share My Lesson on March 16

Spark Classroom Engagement & Comprehension with Public Radio Podcasts
March 16: 4 PM EST
Eligible for 1 hour of PD Credit
Register Here.

How well do your students listen? Ever wondered how to teach and progress monitor your students listening skills? Monica will discuss how teachers can use podcasts as a way to spark classroom engagement and provide authentic listening experiences to support all students: English learners, struggling readers, and grade-level readers. Until now there haven’t been any digital assessments designed for use by teachers to test and track key areas of listening comprehension. Teachers can now teach listening comprehension, using a research-based approach to identify the key areas of listening comprehension, test them and then work on improving them – just like they do with reading comprehension. By putting labels on skill strands, such as summarizing and citing evidence, these data results allow teachers to talk about performance in specific ways, and can target areas that need improvement.


Panel: How to Spot Fake News and Train Students to be Educated News Consumers
March 16: 8 PM EST
Eligible for 1 hour of PD Credit
Register Here.

In the aftermath of global electoral developments, it’s clear that the way we interpret and synthesize news plays an important role in the trajectory of world order.  Working with students to critically evaluate the accuracy, meaning, and power of informational text has never been more important.  In K-12, media literacy is an anchor standard of the CCSS and a component of most state standards. Yet, the execution and implementation of a media literacy curriculum has proven challenging. A recently published study from the Stanford History Education Group reveals that 82% of middle students could not distinguish between sponsored content and a real news story on a website. Online communities and discursive spaces have altered the way news is discussed and evaluated. According to a Study from Columbia University and the French National Institute, 59 percent of the news shared on social media has never been read. This has pernicious implications for students as students spend up to eight hours per day at the computer. We’ll deep dive into strategies teachers can use to discuss fake news with your students and the challenges that can also arise.


CABE Conference March 29 – April 1

We’re exhibiting at CABE at Booth #521 and also presenting a workshop with Tom Davis entitled:
Strengthening Academic Language with Podcasts.

Exposing language learners to challenging academic language is critical to success, but it’s difficult to find engaging and authentic resources to stretch student vocabulary.  There is untapped value in teaching with podcasts in the classroom. We will explore how podcasts and public radio are the perfect vehicle to strengthen students academic language, including listening, speaking and writing. Attendees will gain resources, knowledge, and lessons to implement immediately.


Today’s guest post is republished from January 4,  2017. Today’s post is written by Scott Petri, a High School History Teacher in California. Follow him on twitter @scottmpetri.

This school year, two colleagues and I have been conducting some research on speaking and listening skills in our classrooms. Part of this work was funded by an ASCD Teacher Impact Grant and will be presented at their Empower 17 conference in Anaheim March 25-27, 2017. Thanks to the Constitutional Rights Foundation and WestEd some of this work will continue for the next two years due to an additional grant focused on expanding teacher practice networks.

As part of this work, we piloted some listening assessments with Listenwise, a company that aligns National Public Radio content with content standards in ELA, Social Studies and Science. I assigned 11 listening quizzes to my students. On average, students were able to answer 72.8% of the questions correctly. This represents a substantial improvement on a Stauffer, Frost & Rybolt (1983) national study, which found that people, on average, only remember 17.2% of what they hear on the TV news. To increase comprehension, Listenwise offers a variety of supports: academic vocabulary, EL scaffolding, transcripts, and the ability to slow down the audio.

After the semester was over, I asked students to voluntarily fill out the following survey. What follows is my brief analysis of the results. Please note, this is not an empirically validated survey. Further, it is a very small (N=35) population of high school students’ opinions to really generalize about. Nonetheless, these students viewed these listening activities in an overwhelmingly positive light. Read on for the actual details and my interpretations.

More than 70% of my students thought the Listenwise content they heard in class increased their understanding of the historical event under study.

Approximately two-thirds of my students felt that hearing Listenwise stories before reading the textbook helped them understand the events better. This finding is contradicted by another question where only 8% of students would prefer to use Listenwise as a preview to a new historical unit, as opposed to test review, homework, or classwork.

About 53% of my students would prefer to hear Listenwise content during class, so they could discuss the stories with their fellow students. Interestingly, only 30% of students selected this option on a similar question later in the survey.

Half of my students felt that Listenwise stories helped them understand academic vocabulary better.

Slightly less than half of my students would prefer to hear Listenwise content at home, so they could think about the story before answering questions about it. Only 20% of students selected the Listenwise as homework option on a subsequent survey question.

A two-thirds majority of my students felt that Listenwise stories help them understand the importance of historical events.

More than 60% of my students felt they understand more academic vocabulary from hearing it on Listenwise than they do from reading the academic vocabulary in our textbook. Research by Nonie Lesaux suggests that students need to know 50,000 words before they leave high school to be successful in college.

The most popular reasons for hearing Listenwise stories were to review before exams, for classwork, and as homework. I was surprised that using Listenwise to preview a new historical topic was not as popular because that is mainly how I have used the content. I would be interested in learning how other teachers are using Listenwise and look forward to hearing their results from the teachers who took part in their pilot.

Almost three-quarters of my students responded that hearing Listenwise stories makes them more confident when speaking about the Social Studies topic. This is consistent with research that suggests students can “hear” 3-4 grades above their reading comprehension levels.

About 64% of my students reported that hearing Listenwise stories after reading the textbook gives them a greater understanding or perspective of the historical events. This is consistent with research that suggests students see a vivid, full color picture in their mind when listening versus students note trouble empathizing with what is going on in a grainy, black & white historical video. Please see (Colby, 2010) for more on the importance of using historical empathy to help students contextualize events from the past.

Whenever schools and districts spend money on new programs, there should be some evaluation and cost benefit analysis. Because good listening skills are highly correlated with historical thinking, building empathy, and many other social emotional learning skills, I feel that Listenwise is worth the investment. If you would be interested in seeing how your students perceive their learning with Listenwise, feel free to make a copy of this Google Form and customize it for use in your class. Please post a link to your results in my comments section and let me know what you find out.


Colby, S. (2010). Contextualization and historical empathy: Seventh-graders’ interpretations of primary documents.Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue, 12 (1), 71-85.

As we continue to dive into how our new Premium listening assessments (launched on January 19) work, we’ll look into how to access and review the quiz reports. In our last deep dive blog we discussed how to search and assign quizzes with your classes.

Accessing Listening Comprehension Reports

To access your quiz reporting, go to your “Classes” tab. You’ll see each of your classes listed with recent assignments and student status. At the bottom of each class list you can click to see the Class Summary Report, along with the overall class quiz average. It will look something like this:





Class Summary

When you click on the orange button “See Class Summary Report” you can view the quiz data for the class. It might look something like this:

The class summary report lets you easily see how students are performing overall. As students take more quizzes, their cumulative quiz data is seen in this report. You can see the percentage correct by listening skill strand. This class seems to be having some difficulty with Main Idea for example.


Each quiz has a question on these four listening skill strands: vocabulary, literal comprehension, main idea, and inference. There are additional questions focused on: summarizing, drawing conclusions, analyzing purpose, point of view, evaluating reasoning, or finding evidence. So depending on the audio story, students will answer questions on 5 or 6 skill strands, but not all of them are addressed in each quiz. These skill strands are broken out on the reports to give you more data to inform instruction and troubleshoot areas your students might need additional support.


Quiz Report

To look specifically at an individual quiz, click “See Responses” next to the quiz assignment in your Classes tab. Now you’ll see the student results for an individual quiz. For example, look at the class data on the “Coming to America: Immigration” quiz.


You can easily scan by skill strand in this report too. In this report, you can see the questions in the top row by skill strand. If you want to know the answer a student chose, you can click on the x and the details of that question is shown for you.


Student Report

To go deeper into the performance of a specific student, click the student name from either of these reports. Then you can see data from all quizzes the student completed, along with seeing the specific answers they chose for each question.

So, take a look at a few audio stories with quizzes, and start assigning the quizzes to get data  about your students’ listening comprehension skills!   

Today’s post is written by Michael F. Opitz, professor emeritus of reading education from the University of Northern Colorado who has investigated numerous literacy topics, including listening over two decades. His substantive research on teaching listening resulted in his book, Listen Hear! 25 Effective Listening Comprehension Strategies (Heinemann, 2004). He is the author of and coauthor of numerous books, articles, and reading programs. Read his first blog here called 5 reasons why you should teach listening.

Given the importance of listening well to maximize success in and out of school might lead you to wonder if there are any specific guidelines for teaching it. In reviewing listening research, I was able to glean seven. They are as follows:

  1. Set the purpose.
    According to Funk and Funk (1989), students need to understand the purpose for listening to get the most from the experience; they need to listen for rather than to. Having an explicit purpose in mind will help them know where to focus, enabling them to achieve success. Do they need to listen to determine which statements are fact and opinion? Do they need to understand the procedure for carrying out a specific activity? In either case, letting students know up front will make their accomplishment more likely. 
  2. Set the stage.
    Getting ready to listen is like getting in the zone or warming up. A good first step in setting the stage is to tell students the purpose for listening. A second step is to prepare the environment. Eliminating background noise, sitting in an appropriate configuration, and third, telling students what will transpire after they have listened are three ways to set the stage for listening (Devine, 1978; Buttery & Anderson, 1980).
  3. Provide follow-up.
    Funk and Funk (1989) also point out the importance of providing time for follow up. Immediately after students have listened, hold them accountable for whatever it was that they were attending to when listening. Many times this follow up will be in a written format so that there is a paper trail of student learning. Such follow-up enables you to see what they were able to ascertain while listening, thus serving as an authentic assessment of sorts. When reviewing their responses you can see who was able to achieve the stated purpose and who might need additional help. 
  4. Keep it brief.
    More students than not are expected to listen for a good part of the school day and this only increases throughout the grades. Given that some students find listening difficult, either because it is not their favored learning modality or because they are grappling with how to listen, keeping the listening experiences brief and focused will help guard against children tuning out. In telecommunications businessman David Sarnoff’s words, “Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.”
  5. Integrate it.
    Using listening in a variety of subject areas is an excellent way for students to understand how it crosses all content areas. Listening for steps to conduct an experiment in science, propaganda techniques used by the media in social studies, and listening for the argument in English—all are ways for students to capitalize on listening in different content areas. As noted by Moffet and Wagner (1992) “Activities that
    entail attention, as a preparation for action of one’s own, teach listening skills far better than special drills focusing on listening alone.” 
  6. Be a model.
    Jalongo (1996) emphasizes that showing students how to be better listeners through our own example is more powerful than telling them. If we want children to show a speaker respect, for example, we need to do the same.
  7. Avoid repeating yourself and/or student responses.
    Probably easier said than done, nonetheless important, is to say something once and only once. Patterns take time to break, however, which is why this one guideline might be difficult. Rubin (2000) suggests that having students restate questions and answer questions posed by not only the teacher, but peers are two ways to show students the importance of listening.

Read about more ways in which you can implement listening in your classrooms: