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New Lessons to Kick Off 2019 Listenwise in Style


Here at Listenwise, our content team is committed to providing a diverse array of stories and instructional supports for those stories. With that in mind, we would like to present to you some new Listenwise stories to get 2019 started.

ELA Lessons

Next month is Black History Month, and you might be addressing themes related to race and identity. Check out the lesson below to spark discussion about these topics among your students. And while you’re at it, check out our updated collection of stories for Black History Month.

Who Can Call Themselves Brown

Listen to this audio story to learn about why some Asian Americans do or do not consider themselves “brown” and how the way others view them affects their lives.

Are you looking for a way to link Homer’s Odyssey to today’s world? Check out this story about a scholar’s quest to do just that.

Father and Son Go On Their Last Odyssey Together

Listen to this audio story to hear a Homer scholar discuss a trip he made with his father not long before the older man’s death.


Here are other new ELA lessons. Click on the names to check them out on Listenwise.


Social Studies Lessons

Getting students excited to study the past is not always easy. This next story provides an engaging way to help students see how history shapes the present.


Food Safety Regulations of the 19th Century -Listen to hear how one American chemist conducted daring experiments to publicize the damage that tainted food could cause, and how this transformed food safety regulations forever.



If your students seem lacking in agency or unsure of how they might make their way in the world, inspire them to begin pursuing their professional goals with this story about a highly motivated teen

Teen Entrepreneur -Listen to learn how a 14-year-old became a real estate entrepreneur.


Here are some other new social studies lessons. Click on the names to check them out on Listenwise.


As always, if you are looking for stories related to specific topics and can’t find what you’re seeking on our site, please let us know. We aim to continue building our collection with relevant stories that are tied to your teaching. Please share your thoughts with us in comments or via email (support@listenwise.com).

(Originally published on March 19, 2017 and updated January 17, 2019)

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.


       Shirley Jackson’s Life as an Author


        Before Helen Keller


           A Guide to Florida: From Zora Neale Hurston



              Harriet Beecher Stowe


               A Letter from Phillis Wheatley


               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

      19-Year-Old Representative Takes Office

       Pro Athlete To Nun

     Artistic Expression through Domestic Dolls

       Big Election Gains for Women

         Ida O’Keeffe Escapes Her Sister’s Shadow

         Female Hockey Players Fight for Fair Wages

         First Female Boston Marathon Runner

            More Women Say # MeToo

            Nellie Bly and Her Journalism Career

           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






Remember that we did the Fact or Fake Listenwise Scavenger Hunt in November during Media Literacy Week? Well, it was a hit!

We had over 2,400 students from all over the country participate in the scavenger hunt. Students followed the clues around Listenwise, heard from a fake news creator, learned how to better spot fake news and hopefully had fun along the way!

Congratulations to the contest winners who received classroom sets of headphones and Amazon gift cards:


Highest Teacher Class Score: Bryan Eifert from Pico Canyon Elementary School in CA

    • 98% correct with 29 submissions


Most Submissions: Mary Inglish from Rosemont Middle School in Glendale USD, CA

    • 175 submissions in 6 classes


And our Random Winner: Kristen Mater from Rockwood Summit High School in MO


Thanks to all who participated!


We are excited to share a free download to a new instructional toolkit. The toolkit contains sample strategy lessons focusing on two of the eight listening comprehension skills that are assessed via Listenwise quizzes (understanding vocabulary and identifying main idea).  These strategy lessons have been developed by Dr. Michael Opitz, co-author of Listen Hear! in collaboration with Listenwise.



Our aim is to support teachers in responding to student quiz data by teaching the 8 key listening comprehension components explicitly (see skills listed below). We plan to develop and share other strategy lessons like these, and we would welcome any feedback you might have about the usefulness of these materials.

What’s the purpose of the toolkit?

This toolkit offers listening comprehension strategies that can be used in a variety of contexts with a multitude of audio stories, along with sample lessons based on audio stories from the Listenwise collection.


What’s included in the toolkit?

  • Broadly applicable instructional strategies for addressing two listening comprehension skills: understanding vocabulary and identifying the main idea.
  • Sample lessons for teaching each strategy featuring audio stories from the Listenwise collection.


With 2018 in the books, it’s a good time to reflect on the year’s experiences. At Listenwise, we found ourselves working hard and having fun while doing it throughout 2018. Our hard work was rewarded by being a CODiE award finalist for the second year in a row and by having the top blog resource on Share My Lesson. Our library of audio stories continued to grow this year, and we were able to offer two exciting listening contests. Our Listenwise team and teacher advocate community also grew this year. Below we recap some of the exciting moments of the year on both our website and in the Listenwise community.



Celebrating The Listenwise Community

In 2018, we saw the Listenwise community grow in many ways! 

We officially launched our teacher advocate program and are so excited to see how it continues to grow. The program has gotten off to a great start. If you are looking for new lesson ideas, check out this blog post that highlights some of our Advocates’ favorite lessons and explains how they incorporate Listenwise into their classroom practice.

We were able to visit with many of our Advocates at conferences and look forward to doing even more of that in 2019.  We also were able to host a podcasting workshop at our office with Advocate Erik Eve and his class. Read the blog recap of the hurricane podcasting project we did together.

If you want to learn more about who our Advocates are or are interested in joining this group, check out the Listenwise Advocate Program homepage.

Another exciting part of 2018 has been listening to Talk Sup, our podcast focused on sharing superintendents’ stories. Getting to know why superintendents do the work they do and what keeps them going has energized us all year. Check out episode 9 to hear what drives La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools’ superintendent David Feliciano and what role Mr. Rogers played in keeping him motivated. Stay tuned for our upcoming spring series of Talk Sup launching on January 13.

Listen to our CEO, Monica Brady-Myerov, share her reflections on 2018:


Some Listenwise Favorites from 2018


Blog Posts

Comparing CAASPP and ELPAC Listening Assessments

Stories for Women’s History Month

Teaching Resources for MLK Day

Lessons for the Winter Olympics



13 Reasons Why Not

Greek Mythology Summer Camp

How We Learn Language

Scrolls of the Articles of Confederation

The Students’ Perspective On Gun Violence In Schools



Debate: Should Schools Hold Student Cell Phones?

Debate: Should Electric Scooters Be Allowed in Cities

Debate: Are Toy Stores Necessary?


And, here are some great blogs and articles that featured us in 2018:


Please share with us any exciting 2018 podcasts or teaching resources you love.

Get ready for more engaging and informative stories in 2019! Every year is full of new challenges and new triumphs just waiting to be had. With that said, Happy New Year!


New Approaches to Literacy

For Title I Schools

Sponsored by Listenwise


Our mission is to inspire individuals to fulfill their potential through the power of listening. But we know that not every school can afford the necessary tools to improve literacy for everyone. That’s why we’re offering a New Approaches to Literacy grant for Title I schools. Zip code should not be a barrier to student success!

In order to move the needle on literacy achievement, we need to rethink literacy instruction. Listening needs to be a core part of literacy instruction and implemented across the curriculum.


Call for proposals: Are you a Title I school implementing innovative teaching practices? Share your passion for building listening & literacy skills and you could win Listenwise PREMIUM access for your whole school for the 2019 – 2020 school year.
Eligibility: Open to any Title I secondary schools with students who could benefit from auditory learning, practicing literacy skills, and curriculum connections to current events. **anyone can apply across the U.S. Listenwise is best for grades 5-12

What is included? The grant includes school site access to Listenwise Premium for the 2019-2020 school year. Awards cover up to 25 educators plus onboarding, over a $7000 value.  

APPLY HERE: http://ow.ly/6F1e30mHNJk


Submission Deadline NOW EXTENDED: February 15, 2019
Winners will be notified directly by the end of February 2019


Questions? info@listenwise.com
PDF Download to share with colleagues

The idea that every person is born free and with certain liberties is one that is very central to the U.S. “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal…..”, This commonly cited passage from the Declaration of Independence may be addressed in the civics curriculum, but discussing human rights is not always as easy as it may seem. At Listenwise, we offer a wide selection of stories that can facilitate meaningful discussions of human rights and various moments in history when human rights have been challenged and defended.

December is a good month to talk about human rights is because in 1948, as human rights violations from WWII were being investigated and prosecuted and the Nuremberg trials were fresh in many people’s minds, the United Nations declared December 10th International Human Rights Day. On this day in 1948, the UN published “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” This document, composed of 30 different articles, delineates the basic universal rights that every member of the human race should be afforded. Check out the document in its entirety here.  This year2018 is the 70th anniversary of “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” and celebrations will be going on around the world as governments and people around the world honor the day and what it represents


A good place to start talking about human rights with Listenwise is the story Remembering the Rwandan Genocide.” The Rwandan Genocide was brought to the world’s attention in 2004, 20 years after it happened, through the film Hotel Rwanda. Use this story to talk to students about the ways that people may justify horrendous crimes against others.


Engaging students in a global mindset can be difficult without a point of reference for them. Use this story about the 1968 Prague Spring to help students understand how events in other parts of the world can affect a global audience. Refer to these stories about different protests around the world to explore how these events relate to each other:

Education in Kabul, A World of War is another Listenwise story that could be a helpful resource for educators interested in talking about how human rights are affected by politics. Argentina’s Dirty War explores how the military coup of 1974 changed Argentina and how the politics of the U.S. affected the lives of Argentinians. Using stories like these to talk about the ways that individuals might be oppressed by large entities like governments can help students understand the value of each person’s civic engagement.


Celebrating and observing themes like these in the classroom can be challenging because of the sensitivity of the matters at hand. However, empowering students to be comfortable, knowledgeable, and skilled in discussing complex issues like Universal Human Rights can to help prepare them for navigating the world outside of school.


Browse our lesson collection here to find more stories that fit your teaching goals.


https://hallr.com/december-dilemma-acknowledging-religious-holidays-classroom/It’s December, which means for teachers and students that winter break is coming up soon. While the upcoming winter break aligns with some winter holidays (Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Day), others have already started this year (Hanukkah.) Regardless of whether or not you or your students celebrate any of these holidays, you can explore these Listenwise lessons and other resources to learn more about them and discuss a diversity of religious and seasonal traditions.  Opening student ears and minds to the wonderful ways that people celebrate around these times can be a great way to promote inclusivity.


PBS has some informative videos to help you dig deeper into the winter holidays, which you can find here. Colorin Colorado also has a great blog post on “Culturally Responsive Instruction for Holiday and Religious Celebrations.” Teaching Tolerance also offers some resources to support “Rethinking Winter Holidays” in ways that are inclusive, respectful, and equitable.


We also have some great teaching resources related to winter holidays on Listenwise. Listen to the stories below to help you teach context around Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas, as well as other religious holidays that fall at different times of year.


Hanukkah (December 2-10, 2018)


Christmas (December 25, 2018)


Kwanzaa (December 26, 2018)


Other religious traditions and holidays


“The purpose of education is to cultivate thoughtful, informed, competent, creative, and compassionate students who, filled with a sense of wonder and an appreciation of life in all of its diversity, see themselves as active participants in creating a more just society.” -Facing History staffer and veteran educator Doc Miller


For our second collaborative webinar with Facing History and Ourselves, we explored how teachers can set up space for social and emotional learning (SEL) in their classrooms by teaching current events and using high-quality audio resources. Listen to this webinar to find great resources to help you establish safe and reflective classrooms and choose which current events and issues to address with your students.

Here is a link to the webinar slides.


These Facing History resources were mentioned in the webinar:

These Listenwise stories on immigration were also highlighted:

These additional Listenwise stories address SEL competencies and skills articulated in the CASEL Framework:

November is National Native American Heritage Month. Teaching students about the culture, traditions, music, art, and world views of indigenous peoples is important to celebrating our shared sense of humanity. Celebrate this month with your students, and check out some of the Listenwise stories and other resources that could be helpful in bringing Native American Heritage Month to your classroom this month and throughout the year.


As we head into Thanksgiving week, it’s important to recognize that, as Teaching Tolerance explains in their Thanksgiving Mourning lesson, “For some Native Americans, Thanksgiving is no cause for celebration, but rather serves as a reminder of the devastating effect of colonialism on indigenous peoples.” They offer valuable resources to use with students to help them think critically about American holidays and history and to read and listen to different perspectives. Here are some questions they provide to engage your class in thinking about the experiences and perspectives of Native Americans:


  • How and why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?
  • Why do some people think Columbus Day should not be celebrated?
  • What is the story of Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective?
  • How have Native Americans been impacted by population expansion in the United States?


Teaching Tolerance offers other teaching resources to help promote understanding of the Native American experience. For example, their lesson Teaching Thanksgiving in a Socially Responsible Way raises the point that “Native Americans have been speaking out and writing back against the colonialist narrative of Thanksgiving for as long as the American narrative has existed.”


Thanksgiving is just one timely topic to touch on this month, but there are plenty of others you can connect to the theme of Native American heritage. Explore our Listenwise stories that showcase voices and perspectives of indigenous people and discuss themes of culture, identity, stereotyping, racism, and privilege:


Here are a few more high-quality resources that can help you bring indigenous peoples’ perspectives into your classroom:


Please share with us in comments any other resources that you use to help promote understanding of indigenous peoples’ cultures, histories, and perspectives.