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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 a 26-minute podcast focused on the story of a reluctant high school football player. (Note: The language of This American Life’s amusing podcast on NPR is mostly clean, but the interviewee does say, “Fuck, yeah!” twice early in the episode as a tool of characterization to describe his enthusiastic assistant football coaches. The story is appropropriate for high school students, but you should listen to the podcast before purchasing these lesson materials to make sure the content is a good match for your classroom. Click on this link to listen to the story, where you can access both an uncensored copy and a clean/bleeped version: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/676/heres-looking-at-you-kid. Also, the second half of the episode deals with issues surrounding childhood sexual abuse and repressed memories. I don’t use this “part 2” segment of the podcast at all; instead, I instruct my kids to stop listening at the 26-minute mark.)
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 stream the podcast online. A downloadable version of the podcast is also available via those links.
• 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 answers with your students.
This lesson, designed for students in grades 9-12, will take about 40 minutes to complete or a bit longer if you review answers/allow students to debate some of the questions.
Want more podcast-based listening skills lessons? Click here to grab a value-priced Listen & Learn 5-pack of lessons or click here to view the entire of Listen & Learn podcast lessons.
Need more print-and-teach materials on modern, high-interest topics? Be sure to click here to check out a bundle of non-fiction text-based lessons.
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Cover image used with permission:
Marcus Quigmire, Flickr, CCBY-SA2.0