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Building A Listening Lab in Your Classroom 

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You may be asking…what in the WOW is a listening lab?? A listening lab is just a space in the classroom where students can listen to podcasts individually or in small groups. TinkerClass user and K-5 Science teacher Carole Paterson recommends all teachers create a listening lab.

“It helps to generate this classroom listening culture and builds an area where you can practice your listening skills.”

Check out these tips and tricks for creating a listening lab and get ready to watch it become your students’ favorite space in the classroom!

Keep it simple!

It doesn’t take much to get your space ready to WOW! All your listening lab needs is:

  • A small space in your classroom, preferably in a corner or against the wall
  • Somewhere to sit (chairs, bean bags, or a carpet)
  • Headphones and a iPad, laptop, or other podcast playing device

Do you already have a reading center, an audio book station, or a calm corner? These can all also serve as a listening lab!  

No space for a listening lab? No worries! Students can bring the listening lab to their desk!  Consider making a listening basket filled with some headphones, a podcast playing device, pens and pencils, and a few handouts such as our WOWs and WONDERs and Brainstorming WONDERs worksheets.

Make it your own!

Get creative with your listening lab, and bring your students into the process! Work together to brainstorm ideas and themes. We love themes like space, jungle, and ocean! Check out a fun example of a listening lab we helped a teacher build for her 5th grade students in Los Angeles!

Ears Open, Hands On!

To help students get the most out of their listen lab experience, we recommend providing a few materials and resources:

  • Drawing materials – Gone are the days when doodling means distraction! Did you know that drawing while listening can help us learn? In one study, participants listened to a 2.5 minute reading of a monotonous email, and participants who were asked to doodle while listening recalled 29% more information! Drawing not only increases knowledge retention, but also keeps students engaged! While listening, encourage your students to draw pictures related to the episode (the setting, characters, etc.).
  • Writing materials – This article by E-Student looks at the research and benefits of taking notes while listening, including enhancing memory, promoting active listening, and improving comprehension. One of our favorite writing prompts is to ask students to write down all the things they heard in the episode that make them say WOW! You can find more ideas for writing prompts here! We recommend printing some copies of our WOWs and WONDERs and Brainstorming WONDERs worksheets for students to collect their thoughts and ideas!

How to WOW on a budget

When it comes to building a listening lab, all you really need is to listen – the laughter and learning come free! Here are some tips for creating an amazing listening space without BONKERBALLS spending. 

  • Need some headphones? Try DonorsChoose to request items like headphones and speakers for funding. 
  • Need decor? No purchase necessary! Host a classroom craft day or create flyers online using a free site such as Canva! We’ve got a few freebies ready for print!
  • Sign up for TinkerClass, an interactive, K-5 educational podcast program that provides free tools and resources for teachers!

Share your Listening Lab!

We can’t wait to see how you WOW with your listening lab! Inspire other teachers to create a listening lab by sharing your pictures to the Teachers Who WOW Facebook group or tagging us on Facebook and Instagram @wowintheworld! 

For more listening research, tips, and tricks, check out our blog post Listen Up! Cultivating Active Listening Skills in the Classroom!