3 Easy Times to Squeeze Speaking and Listening Skills into Your Day

Learn how to integrate speaking and listening skills in your classroom. Find three  times to foster communication skills for your students, with lesson ideas, activities, and tips for making your time work for you!

In today’s blog post we will talk about incorporating speaking and listening skills in your elementary classroom! Finding time to focus on these crucial skills can be challenging amidst a packed curriculum. That’s why I’m here to share three easy and effective times to seamlessly integrate speaking and listening activities into your daily schedule. Whether it’s during your morning meeting, transition times, or the end of the day, I’ve got you covered with practical tips and engaging ideas. So, let’s get started and discover how to make the most of these golden opportunities to foster communication skills in your students!

Speaking & Listening in your Morning Meeting

Firstly, your morning meeting is a prime time to cultivate speaking and listening skills as it sets the tone for the rest of the day. This daily gathering provides an opportunity for students to express themselves, share their thoughts, and actively listen to their peers. Incorporating speaking and listening activities into this routine not only fosters communication skills but also strengthens classroom community and builds confidence in students’ abilities to articulate their ideas.

To maximize the potential of your morning meeting for enhancing speaking and listening skills, consider the following tips and ideas:

  • Directed Lessons: Use this time for short mini-lessons about appropriate speaking and listening. (Seen in the photos above, a 2nd Grade lesson from my CCSS SL Units).
  • Circle Share: Allow each student to share something about themselves or discuss a topic of interest.
  • Question of the Day: Pose a thought-provoking question and encourage students to share their opinions and reasoning.
  • Pair and Share: Pair students to discuss a prompt or question, followed by sharing their partner’s response with the class.
  • Listen and Reflect: After one student shares, ask another student to summarize or reflect on what was said to encourage active listening.
  • Role Play: Incorporate role-playing activities to practice different scenarios and communication skills.

Making Transition Times Intentional

We all know that transition times can be chatty and distracted, so why not make these times more purposeful. Transitions can be moving between subjects, lining up for lunch or specials, or even switching activities. These transitions often go unused in terms of instructional opportunities. However, these brief moments are great times reinforce speaking and listening skills in an informal setting. By embedding quick and engaging speaking and listening activities into these transitions, you can maintain student focus, facilitate smoother transitions, and continue to nurture essential communication skills throughout the day.

Giving students structured opportunities to practice speaking and listening skills will improve their non-structured conversations. Like the activities above, having printed topic cards, conversation starters, speaker and listener tags, etc., can help students be intentional when practicing speaking and listening.

Here are some tips and ideas to seamlessly incorporate speaking and listening during transition times:

  • Turn and Talk: Pose a question or prompt related to the upcoming activity and allow students a minute to discuss with a neighbor before moving on.
  • Quick Debates: Present a fun, light-hearted debate topic for students to discuss briefly, such as “Would you rather be a pirate or an astronaut?” This encourages students to articulate their thoughts concisely.
  • Exit Tickets: Ask students to share one thing they learned or found interesting during the previous activity as they transition to the next subject.
  • Listening Walks: During movement between locations, instruct students to listen carefully and identify specific sounds they hear, encouraging active listening skills.
  • Story Starters: Provide students with the beginning of a story and ask them to continue it with a partner during transition times.

End the Day on a Positive Note

The end of the day offers a valuable opportunity to reflect, recap, and reinforce speaking and listening skills. Use this time to encourage students to share their learning experiences, articulate their thoughts, and actively listen to their classmates. By incorporating speaking and listening activities during this period, you can help students consolidate their learning, promote peer interaction, and foster a positive classroom culture where communication is valued and practiced daily.

This is such a great time for students to reflect on their learning. Again, having intentional topic cards, or conversation starters will improve these practices.

To make the most of the end-of-day slot for enhancing speaking and listening skills, consider the following tips and ideas:

  • Reflection Circle: Invite students to share one thing they learned or achieved during the day, promoting self-expression and attentive listening from peers.
  • Classroom News: Allow students to share news or updates from their lives, encouraging them to listen and respond to their classmates’ stories.
  • Group Discussions: Pose an open-ended question or topic related to the day’s learning and facilitate a group discussion, promoting critical thinking and communication skills.
  • Peer Feedback: Encourage students to provide constructive feedback to their peers on a specific task or project, emphasizing active listening and thoughtful responses.
  • Story Sharing: Invite students to share a short story or anecdote related to a classroom activity or their personal experiences, promoting storytelling skills and attentive listening.

Looking for structured resources for your grade?

The activities seen in today’s blog photos are from the Speaking and Listening Units in my CCSS bundles. If you already own the ELA bundles, you can utilize the Speaking and Listening activities like discussed above. If not, grab yours below:

Each unit comes with structure lesson plans, and center activities. It is everything you need to keep your kiddos speaking and listening like experts! Click your grade-level to get a closer look:

Grab a Free Reader’s Theater to Practice Speaking & Listening!

Get these two activities sent directly to your inbox. In first grade, students are asked to simply identify who is speaking or narrating parts of a story. When students move to second grade, they are asked to identify how characters feel about certain events. You’ll receive two freebies that cover both, one today and one later this week!

Want more ELA topics to learn more about?


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