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Learning to Listen Linky

*You can right click to save the graphic above to use in your link up. 

Teaching students to listen is no easy task. Sometimes, I feel like I am trying to herd a bunch of cats! 
I use a “Whole Body Listening” poster in my classroom.  The speech pathologists and ABA teachers at my school inspired the Whole Body Listening posters.  They use a Whole Body Listening Social Story they created through Boardmaker to give the students an idea of what whole body listening looks like.  Whole-Body Listening is a term coined by Susanne Poulette, a New York speech pathologist, in this article (click {here} to read it): Whole-Body Listening: Developing Active Auditory Skills, Susanne P. Truesdale Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools Vol.21 183-184 July 1990.  

As you know, many students on the spectrum struggle with eye contact while speaking.  I have found that through my years of mainstreaming, the social story worked well for all of my students.  So I decided to make a poster instead of social story to remind them.  When I need students to listen, I simply say “Whole Body Listening.” Click the pictures below to hop to my blog to download my posters and a class-made book activity for free.  

I have always used this book, Listen and Learn by Cheri J. Meiners as an introduction to listening in my classroom. 

Another adorable book is called Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow.
Through a bit more internet searching, I found this book called Whole Body Listening Larry at School!.  It was also inspired by Susanne Poulette's article.  I think this book would be great to read to your students on the first few days of school.  

Please, do not make "Whole Body Listening" a rule.  Most students cannot sit still for long periods of time.   Listening should be modeled through "Whole Body Listening" and exceptions need to be made for students with various needs.  I know I cannot sit still and listen for long periods of time.  

Here are some tips to help kids focus and listen:
  • Point to the "Whole Body Listening" Poster when you want students to listen.
  • Shrink the poster, laminate it, and place it on your students' desks.  When a student is not doing one of the characteristics of "Whole Body Listening," point to that characteristic.  So if he/she is not looking, touch the "my eyes are looking" part of the mini-poster. This is a good non-verbal reminder for the student and does not distract your other students from the lesson.  
  • Allow students to stand while working, as long as they push their chairs in.  I find they like to stand during center time and while creating art projects.  
  • Purchase "Movin' Sit Cushions."  These help the especially fidgety children by letting them bounce or move a bit in their chair while still sitting down.  
  • Place Velcro inside the student's desk.  He/ she can run his/her fingers along the soft and hard Velcro instead of playing with/cutting things in his/her desk. 
  • Give students a squeeze ball to squeeze so that he/she has something to do with his/her hands.
  • Abilitations Integrations "Chew"lery Chewable Jewelry  helps those students who tend to chew on inappropriate things.  This is a safe way for them to chew and focus at the same time.

*Susanne Poulette, a New York speech pathologist coined the term "Whole-Body Listening" with this article (click {here} to read it): Whole-Body Listening: Developing Active Auditory Skills, Susanne P. Truesdale Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools Vol.21 183-184 July1990.


  1. Great idea for a linky. I love the whole body listening approach and have used it for many years. I have also joined in on the linky to highlight the 5L's of active listening. I hope this helps! :)

    Emma :)

  2. I have a chart similar to what you displayed above. We talk about it often generally before we start a story or discussion. I am looking forward to reading everyones' suggestions. I use songs or fingerplays. I have several favorites.

    The Very Busy Kindergarten

  3. What a wonderful linky party! I'm always looking for more advice/techniques in the area of listening. I love the posters. Thanks for sharing.

    Miss Nelson's blog

  4. Hi!! I am your newest follower!! I have used the seat cushion in my classroom. It does help some kids sit still a little longer. I would love to have you visit my blog when you get a chance.


  5. I love using the book Nobody's Listening. It is a Winnie the Pooh book (I usually try to avoid movie/tv books) The characters try to have a picnic, but no one listened to what they were supposed to bring and do.

    Chickadee Jubilee

  6. What a great link up! I love the velcro idea. Maybe I won't have a pound of paper on the floor at the end of the day?? I am you newest follower and I added your button to my blog. Hop on over and take a look if you get the chance. Thanks,
    Kickin' it in Kinder