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I Can Listen — Preschool SEL Lesson

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I Can be Kind lesson can be found HERE

I Can Share Happiness can be found HERE

I Can be Patient can be found HERE

You can get this full lesson (I Can Listen) HERE

Just for fun, and totally off-topic…

This week, my adult son on the spectrum went and got his hair cut. He does not have a good track record of getting flattering haircuts. He just doesn’t seem to know WHAT do tell them, so he comes home with, frankly, Sheldon Cooper hair often. Happened again. This was the conversation at the table:

Husband: Dude, what happened to your hair? Looks like they cut it with an angle grinder. (or some other goofy comment, I can’t remember. Keep in mind, we have a very good relationship between us all at home. Joking is welcomed.)

Kid: Well, there goes my blissful ignorance.

We all laughed. Just thought his wit was well placed. He never ceases to amaze me. Pretty cool guy.

Anyway….. here is this week’s social-emotional book chat with an inclusion preschool class.

Learning Target: I can be a good listener so that I always know what to do to keep others thinking good thoughts about me!


Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow and Susan Cornelison

I Turned My Mom into a Unicorn by Brenda Li

I Can Listen Boom Cards™ or Google Slides™

Make a Silly Face Boom Cards™ or Google Slides™

When I came in, the students were already at their desks in their learning circle. Teacher suggested if we were going to do an activity after reading, that maybe they could just stay there instead of going to circle and then back to the desks. Of course! Less transitions!

Introduction (1-3 min)

Start the lesson with a brief introduction and instructional control activity.

Suggestion: “Tell me about your pets.”

Bridge to lesson: E.g., “Does your dog sometimes forget to listen? If you throw a ball but you tell him to wait, is he able to do that?”

My bird mask did not have the same amazing reaction with this group (which is totally fine!), so I just switched back to my regular one and started in with small chit-chat before the reading. I showed them the two books and told them how excited I was to read the silly book, but we needed to use our “attent-o-scopes” to focus (a term they use in class). I appreciated that the teacher had two students I knew needed extra attention close to the teacher area, so it was easy for me to attend to them when they were engaged in expected behavior, right in the moment.

Book Chat (10 min)

Tell the students you’ll be reading two books, one learning, and one fun. Show the book covers and talk about what they might be about.

Read Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen and stop throughout the book to check for understanding.

“What are Howard’s friends thinking about him when he’s not listening to the story? What do you think will happen if he doesn’t listen to be careful? How did Alligator feel about Howard when he didn’t listen to her AND got paint all over her dress? What do you think Howard can do tomorrow?”

At the end of the story, ask again what the students think Howard’s friends think and feel about him and what his teacher and parent think about him when he learned to listen. Talk about the “#1 Listener” star he got. How did that make him feel about himself? Show the visuals and practice together what good listening looks like (i.e., Pause/Open/Listen/Think/Be). Show them the sticker stars (if you made them) and tell them that they will get a #1 Listener star of their own sometime today if they show teacher that they can be a good listener.

You can then read I Turned my Mom into a Unicorn for the fun story. This is a great “fun” story that works well with listening. Is Ted listening to mom at the beginning of the story? How does that make mom feel? Then, the story gets silly and is just fun to read. Talk about how the students love mom or dad (or their grown up) and how they might feel if, for some reason, they disappeared!

The class did a great job of making good inferences of what might happen during the story and what people were thinking and feeling about the characters. After the read, we went through the visuals (Pause/Open/Listen/Think/Be). I showed them the stars that I printed and told them that teacher would be watching for their good listening skills the rest of the day so they could earn their own “#1 Listener” star. We were then so excited to start the silly unicorn book, and, as expected, it was a hit. We were able to connect listening to the first part of the story, but we especially liked when the unicorn made the rainbows and gold coins (they came out of unicorn’s bottom! So it was stinky!). This age group LOVES silly and irreverent humor, and maybe that’s why I like them so much!

Boom Cards™ / Google Slides™ (5 min)

Use one learning activity and one fun one. Suggested: I Can Listen and Make a Silly Face The Boom Cards version will allow for audio, but the Google Slides version is just as good if you want to simply have a discussion throughout. The first slides are the social story™ of what it means to listen. The middle of the deck gives the strategies we can use to be a good listener. The last few slides allow the student to interactively “practice” their listening skills.

You can use any “fun” digital activity after the learning one. Make a Silly face is the suggestion as you can continue to talk about ears and eyes and mouth for good listening skills.

This classroom did not have a digital board, but what I decided to do was, while they were coloring their pages, I would pull the Boom cards up on my iPad, and they could listen and interact as I walked around the room. I would show a slide to everyone, then I would go to one student and let them do the interaction on the slide. They had to work on patience and waiting their turn. While I like a large smart board best, this was an acceptable substitute!

Worksheet Activity (10 min)

If you want to do the star sticker, you can print the star onto sticker paper. I printed the ones I used on sticker paper that was already in circle shapes (I used the “Labels” option in Microsoft Word™, but you can also print onto a one-page full size sticker page and then cut apart). Also prepare beforehand the listener coloring worksheets.

As students color, remember to walk around the room and support those who need extra help. Connect the activity to “listening” with statements like, “You were an excellent listener to the story today. I noticed that your eyes were on me when I was reading, I knew you were thinking about me and the story!”

“I like how you listened to the instruction and cleaned up your area before you started coloring!” End with a group share about how they are going to practice listening today, earn their star, and also listen they go home tonight.

I spent some time after the Boom Cards and while they were still coloring paying attention to a couple of students I know wanted to talk to me and show me things. They fill my bucket! Looking forward to my next group!

You can get the full lesson here.

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