I got an email several weeks ago about a new online teaching tool called Listen Current. It sounded interesting but threw it on the back burner because of other stuff going on at the time. I got the chance to play with Listen Current this week and I’m thinking that I should have looked at it a lot sooner.
Cause it is very sweet.
According to their own propaganda, Listen Current “makes it easy to bring authentic voices and compelling non-fiction stories to the classroom. We curate the best of public radio to keep teaching connected to the real world and build student listening skills at the same time.”
Basically that means that Listen Current provides access to audio clips from National Public Radio and other public networks from around the world that cover both current events and historical topics. The clips are short and easy to use with students. But that’s not all that the site can do for you.
As we all continue to focus on literacy skills – reading, writing, listening, speaking – Listen Current seems like a perfect tool to add to your toolbox.They understand that you don’t always have time to build standards based lesson plans yourself, so they offer a series of powerful lesson plans that are Common Core from the ground up – aligned to standards and ready to use.
You get the audio clips but you also get vocabulary words, comprehension questions, listening guides, handouts and related teaching materials, whole group resources, suggestions for associated video clips, small group readings, contextual background info, extension activities, assessment ideas, and additional resources. Find the lessons you like and add them to your Favorites list for easy access later.
And if I told you that this was all you’d get with your free account, I’m guessing your response would be
But wait. Yup. There’s more.
This is the part I really like. If you are using Socrative with your kids – and you should be – Listen Current has created ready to use Socrative quizzes for each of their Current Events pages. Want to lead a discussion about the Ebola crisis and possible treatment options? Head to that Current Event page, use their guiding questions / discussion themes and then punch the SOC sharing code into your Socrative account and . . . boom, you’ve got a quick review ready to go.
And if you use the equally cool StudySync tool, there’s a Listen Current alignment tool for that too.
Sign up for the Listen Current mailing list and you’ll get a weekly roundup of all their latest Current Events and Lessons. And their blog has some great teaching ideas and helpful literacy conversations.
What are other teachers saying about Listen Current?
I love that public radio helps me keep my curriculum current. Whenever I’m driving to work or thinking about it I hear a story and think – Oh that has to do with immigration and we are studying immigration and it has to do with today’s news. And I love that then on Listen Edition I can log in and put in a key word and I’ve got a lesson plan, I’ve got the story I don’t have to go searching back for it. It’s just there for me. It’s a great resource.”
Jenn Kay Goodman
7th Grade humanities teacher
Listen Current also has a Premium version that you can upgrade to that I haven’t played with yet. But it also looks very cool. Upgrade and you’ll get the chance to create student accounts and create custom online assignments for each of your classes. And you can give additional support to individual students who need it by providing online graphic organizers or enhanced language support with their interactive transcripts.
You can also differentiate assignments for individual students. And you’ll receive class reports on student progress.
So, yeah. You can blame me for not sharing this with you sooner. It really looks like a no-brainer tool that you should start using next week.