Friday, March 28, 2014

Whole Body Listening: Sponge Bob Style

Whole Body Listening is a concept that was introduced by Susanne P. Truesdale and first written about in the Language Speech and Hearing Services in the Schools.

It teaches children the skill of listening by breaking down what each part of the body does.  For example, our hands help us to listen by being quiet or staying in our lap.  Our brain helps us listen by thinking about what the speaker is really saying.

It's brilliant because the skill of listening is really complex.  But when we break it down, we can really help by giving our students and clients specific feedback about what we want them to do to "listen."  It's also a skill that can be taught to all children, which would make it a perfect lesson to use if you are pushing in to a classroom.

Here are a few resources and crafts that I've used when teaching this concept.

1.  Can you Listen With Your Eyes by Nita Everly
I didn't realize that this book was out of print when I made up my picture above.  I liked using it for preschool children.  Linguisystems has a variety of Early Social Behavior Books which are printed on coated behavior which makes them great for holding up over time.

2.  Whole Body Listening Larry:  I love the illustrations in this book.  There are two different versions-one for listening at home and one for listening at school.  You can find them at

3.  Whole Body Listening Picasso Style:  This is how I've typically introduced it.  I cut out different "body parts" and have the child I'm working with glue on the pieces.  We talk about each part, and write out what they do as we are making the craft.  To make it quicker, you could type in what each body part does and then have the child glue that on.   I liked using their words as we were making it but in a group I would probably do it differently.

4.  Whole Body Listening Sponge Bob style.  I had one client who loved Sponge bob and who I didn't think would be able to sit still for my typical activity.  But he did really well when I incorporated his special interest.  In this one, I printed off the concepts and had him glue them on the back.

It usually takes a few weeks for my clients to understand the concepts.  Once they do, I can give them more specific feedback about what they need to do for the rest of the year.  (Example, I'll start when I see that your eyes are listening.  Or Did your brain listen and think about what I was saying?  I love how your hands are listening right now.  They are right in your lap.)  It's also fun to practice these skills within listening games/activities.

How about you?  What are you doing to help your students or clients learn good listening skills?


ImaginationPlay said...

Hi Kelly, Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea. I am in my first year as a K-Special Ed Assistant working with a child who needs help with some "s" speech and staying on task. I am not sure but I think he has some sensory challenges. I am not sure he actually knows who spongebob is but I think he will love this activity because it ties in nicely with his wonderful sense of humour! Thank you so much.

Speech2U said...

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'd love to hear how the activity went.

Alexis Albee said...

Thanks for sharing these great ideas! I love my social skills groups! Whole Body Listening is very hard for my kiddos. I also like to videotape them and watch the video back with them to see what they could have improved on.

Alexis @

Alexis Albee said...

Thanks for the post! I love my social skills groups! Whole body listening is tough. I also like to videotape the kids and watch it back with them to see if they can point out what they could improve on.

Alexis @

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