Last literacy blog post I dived straight into a specific objective – homophones which appear in year 2, years 3&4 and years 5&6 and how images can support. This week I’m starting a 3 part post on the fundamentals of literacy beginning with speaking and listening. James Britton wrote in the 1980s about reading and writing existing on a ‘sea of talk’, hence why posts on reading and writing will follow this one.
As you will be aware, speaking and listening got downgraded in the 2014 curriculum. At a parents meeting at my son’s secondary school, the head was presenting their plan to ensure speaking and listening remains a core part of each year. I was really pleased, as the danger of taking it out of the statutory curriculum document is that is no longer a focus. Hardly surprising if this happens, as there are so many other things to focus on.
However, it is really important that opportunities for speaking and listening are built in throughout every day in every classroom. I thought I would offer 3 different activities using resources from Discovery Education Espresso to support this.
1. The Sound gallery is within Music in the Music search modules. A great activity is to choose two sound effects to play without the students seeing what they are. Have them discuss in pairs what they think they are. Feedback to the class – you will probably find some difference of opinion! Then have pairs create a story to retell using the two sounds. Limit the time and allow beginning of stories, as this is not about reaching the end and completing the story, but using the sounds to generate imagination and work collaboratively on an oral story.
2. One of our Spotlight on strategies is XO let’s go which is a great summarising activity for pairs after you have watched a video. It would work really well for a video with a lot of factual content, here are some suggestions, depending on what your topics are:
This activity can lead on to class questioning, setting up Q&A pairs, analysing or summarising content orally and presenting key parts to an audience, possibly using digital tools.
3. The speaking and listening modules (collection of resources) in English KS1 and English KS2 have a wealth of activities, over 35 in each. Some of my favourites are the storyboard activities in KS1 such as Feeding the lambs which really encourages students to listen as well as look, and the prepared images can be talked about then ordered. Or from KS2 under Performance, using authors speaking such as Dinosaur School with prompts next to the video.
- If you haven’t seen this video already; talking twin babies, it’s a great one to discuss language, fun for both teachers and children.
- It might be nice to lead on to looking at making podcasts as a form of presenting. The Podcast workshop is a nice starting point. Audacity is a good free option, but as with all software, you will need to check your school’s policy on installing software and if possible speak to your IT support as they may already have a solution available to you.
- This is a great resource full of ideas from Lancashire grid for learning Assessing speaking and listening.
The NoisyClassroom.com have some really good speaking and listening activities.
I hope you click through to some of the resources above and enjoy exploring. Please use the comments box below – we’d love to hear from you.