Monday, October 26, 2009
National Day of Listening
One of the hardest areas of literacy to assess, in my opinion, is listening. How can an instructor tell when students are lacking or excelling in this area of literacy? Over the years, I have tried to incorporate opportunities for students to flex their listening muscles. This year, I'm going to ask my students (and myself) to participate in the National Day of Listening, which will be held on November 28th, 2009.
At first, I was dismayed that this day falls during our Thanksgiving break. After some thought about how I would ask students to choose and record an interview, though, I feel like this is the best possible time of the year to ask for an interview. Traditionally, this is a time when families come together and talk. There is no other holiday like Thanksgiving that allows for talking and listening. Even students whose families do not have a Thanksgiving celebration will have a few days off from school to seek out a potential interviewee.
As for material, there are some stock questions available at the National Day of Listening site. There are also some sample interviews and some powerful photos to go along with the stories. This site is powerful in its simplicity. I am totally inspired to hear the interviews students bring in and to listen to the people who surround my students' lives. I am also excited to use this assignment as an opportunity to record one of the most influential people in my life, my grandmother. Check back after Thanksgiving to see how this exercise in listening worked out in my classroom.