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McREL Standards Activity

Guess What I Heard?

Purpose:Students will listen to understand the topic, purpose, perspective, and sound elements of a radio segment. Students will report their analysis of a radio message in a graphic organizer and a short presentation.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
Language Arts
 Standard 8.Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
   Level III [Grade 6-8]
   Benchmark 4. Listens in order to understand topic, purpose, and perspective in spoken texts (e.g., of a guest speaker, of an informational video, of a televised interview, of radio news programs)
Language Arts
 Standard 8.Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
   Level III [Grade 6-8]
   Benchmark 10. Understands elements of persuasion and appeal in spoken texts (e.g., purpose and impact of pace, volume, tone, stress, music; images and ideas conveyed by vocabulary)
Language Arts
 Standard 8.Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
   Level III [Grade 6-8]
   Benchmark 6. Makes oral presentations to the class (e.g., uses notes and outlines; uses organizational pattern that includes preview, introduction, body, transitions, conclusion; uses a clear point of view; uses evidence and arguments to support opinions; uses visual media)
Student Product:The teacher will evaluate a completed listening chart and a short presentation that outlines the topic, purpose, perspective, and sound elements of a particular radio segment.
Material & Resources:Copies of a listening chart for students to fill out as they listen.

A pre-selected radio segment and equipment to play it in the classroom as a model for students.

4–6 teacher-selected radio segments for student evaluation. To be valuable, the segments should be at least 3–4 minutes long. Interviews or news programming are ideal.

Access to appropriate technology for students to listen to the segments at home or at school (e.g., copies of the segments on CD, free mp3s that may be downloaded from the web, media clips provided by textbook publishers online).

Teacher's Note:As an extension to the activity, students may create visual aids for their presentations. Such visual aids may include an overview of the topic, purpose, and perspective of the media message through illustrations and symbols.

If access to technology to listen to the radio clips for individual students is not available, students may work in groups. Each member of the group should be assigned a specific role in the group (e.g., one student may focus on listening for quotations/facts, another for speaker’s perspective, and another for sound elements). The final product should reflect group discussion of each element and be a collaborative effort.  

Similar to the process of reading, critical listening is aided by the use of note-taking and graphic organizers. In this lesson, students listen to a radio segment and take notes in a graphic. The graphic organizer, which can be laid out as a chart, should be designed so that students record specific quotations containing key facts or ideas from the oral message in the left column; in the two columns adjacent to those quotations the student writes what he or she thinks each statement reveals about the speaker’s perspective and the sound elements used. Notes about the speaker’s perspective may include such things as implied meanings, word choice, or bias. Notes about sound may include such things as the tone, pace, or sound effects. At the bottom of the chart, students should write a sentence that summarizes the overall topic and purpose of the message.  

To familiarize the class with the activity, the teacher models listening to a pre-recorded radio segment and completing the listening chart. While listening to the message, the teacher writes key facts and ideas presented as quotations in the chart. He or she may also add notes about sound elements. After the message is over, the teacher uses think aloud strategies and solicits class input when deciding what each particular quotation from the message reveals about the speaker’s perspective. The teacher also opens a discussion with the class to define the overall topic and purpose of the message.

Students complete a graphic organizer on their own at home or at school based on a radio segment provided by the teacher. In class, students give a short presentation of the information in their graphic organizer. Students may take questions from the audience. It may be useful to discuss the similarities and differences between student evaluations of the same radio segment. Using both written (graphic organizer) and spoken (presentation) modes to respond to an oral message provides students multiple means to show comprehension of the message and gives them practice in both writing and speaking skills.

Presentations and graphic organizers may be assessed for overall coherence, insight, and completeness.

Another possible assessment of the presentations may involve verbal or written summaries from the student audience to show their comprehension of the presentation and to provide feedback to the presenter.