As standardized testing becomes computer-based, students will need to be able to sit and listen to a passage or short audio program, take notes, recall information, and then answer critical thinking questions about the material. To help prepare students for this challenge, I’ve scoured the internet to find high-interest, school-appropriate podcasts that fit within one class period.
In this Listen & Learn activity, students will listen to an 18-minute podcast focused on a police officer who volunteered to dive into the thick, toxic sludge of La Brea tar pits to recover evidence in a murder investigation. This high-quality podcast presents a compelling modern case of bravery and allows the listeners (our students) to draw their own conclusions about the nature of heroism.
The easy prep lesson materials in this download include:
• A list of suggested lesson procedures for the teacher (or just print and leave for a sub) with several links to use to access the podcast online. Several of these sites also allow users to download the program and keep it on their personal mp3 players, a great option if the internet isn’t always reliable in your classroom.
• A two-page handout with questions for students to answer both while they listen and after the program is finished
• A two-page answer key to make grading easy and to provide talking points as you review the answer with your students
This lesson, designed for students in grades 7-12, will take about 40 minutes to complete or a bit longer if you review answers/allow students to discuss some of the questions.
Want another podcast-based listening skills lesson? Click the links below to find more high-interest topics, including:
Listen & Learn #1
, the case of a tiger who lives at a Louisiana truck stop
Listen & Learn #3
, a mystery involving fraud and a teenager’s identity theft
Listen & Learn #4
, the case of an 11-year-old boy who was the sole survivor of an airplane crash near Los Angeles
Need more print-and-teach materials on modern, high-interest topics? Be sure to check out this bundle of non-fiction reading lessons.
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Main cover image used with permission: Marcus Quigmire, Flickr, CCBY-SA2.0.
Content images used with permission: Eli Duke, Betsy Weber, and Hilary Perkins, Flickr, CC2.0.