Listening Engages all Students in Learning

by

Teacher: Lynne Greenberg

Students: Grade 6, ages 11 – 12

Audio Content: From the Mixed-Up Files of Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Location: Carnell Elementary, Philadelphia Public Schools


Introduction

Lynne Greenberg’s 6th grade class at Carnell Elementary in Philadelphia includes a mixture of successful and struggling students. Attempting to engage both, Ms. Greenberg went to Audible.com and downloaded E.L. Konigsburg’s: From the Mixed-Up Files of Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler to teach valuable listening skills while also connecting the story with vocabulary and art lessons.

Use of Technology

Ms. Greenberg logged onto Audible.com, downloaded From the Mixed-Up Files of Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler and burned it onto a CD, which she played for the class on a stereo. Ms. Greenberg learned that she would have to burn multiple CDs at a lower speed setting—much slower than her computer was capable of—for the CD’s sound quality to be at its best. One notable frustration was the infrequent tracks, which would stop only every 4 chapters or in the middle of a chapter. She had no way to mark the place and would have to scan through the CD to find where they had left off.

Experience in Class

Ms. Greenberg conducted audio listening lessons over a series of days. Each session began with a student volunteered recap of the previous day’s action. The class would listen to the book in 15-minute segments and stop to discuss, clarify, and reiterate the action. Ms. Greenberg tried to foster a place for open discourse, challenging students to relate what was happening in the story to modern day life. She would ask, “Could this happen today? Why or why not? If you were in this situation, what would you do? What kinds of events have you seen in the news that makes you think this would be unlikely?” She explained what an “aside” was and would challenge the students to discern when particular people were speaking and in what time frame. (The story shifted between past and present tense; a dialogue taking place in the present, and acted out action in the past.) “Who is the I?” she asked. “Who is telling the story?” Ms. Greenberg also often pulled out vocabulary words to discuss in between listening sessions including words such as miser, as well as more dated words like automat, petticoat and sissy. She also used the story to help students identify homophones. Ms. Greenberg asked the class to explain the phrase, “The quiet seeped from their heads to their soles and into their souls.”

Summary/Results

At first, Ms. Greenberg’s shy students were reluctant to participate. But as the lessons progressed, the students became more and more involved. “I never expected my typically quiet kids to participate,” she says of her class. “But they did.” After listening to several chapters, students volunteered answers more readily than they usually did. When Ms. Greenberg asked what words could be used to describe characters in the story, a sea of hands shot up. Students called out suggestions like “determined,” “adventurous,” “brave,” “resourceful” and “clever.”

Ms. Greenberg began each lesson with a short recap of the story so far and asked students what they thought would happen next. She was surprised at how intently they listened to the story and especially at the astute observations they were making. She was especially pleased to see how some of her more challenged students responded. “One of my students has a processing problem and [during the study] he participated all the time.” Overall, Ms. Greenberg was very pleased with how the students took an interest in the audio books and especially in their desire to learn more about the topics discussed in the stories.

Teacher’s Quote

“The most rewarding part has been seeing that the kids enjoy as much as I do… and to get them to love listening!”

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One Response to “Listening Engages all Students in Learning”

  1. Mr_P Says:

    I’m an ESL teacher in Washington Heights and my 6th grade class is reading From the Mixed Up Files…
    Since the whole idea of this blog is listening and learning and using Audible, I’d like to say that I can’t find From the Mixed Up Files… on Audible at all. I wish I could. If anyone knows where it could be found so I could preview it before we actually purchase it, that would be helpful. Thanks.

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