The books, Whole Body Listening Larry at School, and Whole Body Listening Larry at Home, have become invaluable resources for my new venture at school this year. Authors, Kristen Wilson MS-CCC, and Elizabeth Sautter MA-CCC have provided educators an engaging children’s storybook that teaches learners that “listening” is more than just hearing with your ears. Listening is a holistic process – engaging multiple senses and self-regulating behaviors to help focus your brain and body to be engaged in learning. These books are fittingly published by Think Social Publishing, Inc – (https://www.socialthinking.com/books-products/products-by-age-range/preschool/whole-body-listening-larry-at-school-detail) – these books align perfectly with the goal of teaching early childhood and young elementary age learners about all the components and social behaviors of good listening skills.
As you review the Common Core Learning Standards under the ELA category of Speaking and Listening for kindergarten and 1st grade learners, you will find standards that directly relate to specifically developing good listening skills in the classroom. Consider the following standards:
- Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy SL 1.1)
- Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion). (CCSS. ELA-Literacy SL 1.1A)
- Build on others’ talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges. (CCSS ELA-Literacy SL 1.1.B)
Wilson and Sautter’s books, Whole Body Listening Larry at Home
, and Whole Body Listening Larry at School
are the precise tools an educator needs to explicitly teach the skills discussed in these standards. These books would be at the top of the list of “anchor read aloud texts” for preschool, kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade classroom teachers, speech-language pathologists, parents, special educators, social workers/school counselors, etc. Through the experiences of two sibling characters, Leah and Luka – children learn what “paying attention” means, as originated by the work of Susanne Poulette Truesdale and Nita Everly (More information about the original work here: https://www.socialthinking.com/images/stories/WBLL%20Crediting%20SP%20Truesdale%20-%20Final%20for%20ST%20website.pdf
Tier 1 – Collaborative Learning Lessons
This year, I have been thinking about how I can bring some of my social skill resources and lessons into general education classrooms. At my elementary building, we are continuing to reflect and adjust our teaching based on student data and growth – all the while using an Rti framework, implementing proactive positive behavior practices school-wide, and aligning instruction to the Common Core. This year, I have committed to trying to weave some of my social/emotional strategies into 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade general education classrooms. I am calling my efforts, “Tier 1 – Collaborative Learning Lessons.“ “Tier 1” = core instruction for all. “Collaborative learning” = over the past few years, I have personally noted classroom activities are much more constructivist, interactive, and utilize social communication skills more than ever. My intention this year is to go into each 1st/2nd/3rd grade classroom once per month and lead the students and teacher through a lesson that promotes positive social interaction necessary for learning in small groups and in the collaborative manner we are moving toward in education. Stay tuned… I will take you on this journey and see how it pans out.
This month (October) is my first month of lessons. It was without any hesitation that I chose to use the resources from Wilson and Sautter’s Whole Body Listening Larry series for this first round of lessons. Each target grade level has learning standards related to active listening – I am finding that teachers are thrilled to find this resource to have in their classrooms to refer to throughout the day, and use the specific language to give feedback to students, “I need you to listen with your eyes”, or “I am noticing that everyone at table group 2 is doing a great job listening with their mouths!”
I look forward to adding this resource to my primary classrooms! Check out this poster available from Think Social Publishing as well!
Stay tuned for more posts about my venture with Tier 1 Collaborative Learning Lessons! – Jill