We want to congratulate the two educators who won a free one year subscription to Listen Edition!  Laruen Mabry of Salem, VA entered our Twitter Sweepstakes contest and was the lucky winner.  We’ll bring you the story of how she’s using Listen Edition in her class next week.

Amanda Minaker of Lowell, MA had her name drawn from the hat at the Massachusetts Teachers Association un-conference.  Ms. Minaker jumped right into Listen Edition and used it with her class the following week.  Read more about her experience

Ms. Amanda Minaker (Twitter, Blog

minaker1Please introduce yourself: My name is Amanda Minaker. I teach Middle School Humanities at Hellenic American Academy in Lowell, MA. We are a small Greek Orthodox school established in 1906.

What do you consider the most important factor to learning success?  To me, the most important factor in learning success is student engagement. Students are incredibly savvy. They want to learn and they want to be engaged while they are learning. This means you need a variety of tools to reach every learner as successfully as possible. It is an ever-varying challenge.

What is your teacher secret to getting students to listen in class? Well of course it depends on the situation, but if you capture their attention with a well-crafted and flexible plan you can succeed in opening their ears and their minds. And you have to know when a plan needs tweaking- and make that change on the fly if necessary. That means you need to be prepared and knowledgeable about your subject and your students.

How would you use public radio in the classroom? We have begun using this minaker2amazing tool. What is interesting is yes, nonfiction content- very Common Core! Also, they HAVE to be quiet or they miss out. I don’t always hand out a transcript because it really begs them to focus. I also encourage them to listen at home for our weekly current event assignment.

Why do you think listening is important? We are often visually bombarded in an overwhelming way. Asking the students to listen allows them to write responses, free from visually dominant prompts, as well as activates their single auditory sense. It can create a powerful focus.