Steal This Idea

STEAL THIS IDEA: A New Twist on Active Listening

August 20, 2014

Last Updated on by Jane Higgins

You probably already have your students using active listening protocols in your classroom, but have you thought about other ways that you can use active listening in your classroom?

Try using written active listening as a note taking strategy.  Having students jot in their notebooks things like “I heard so-and-so say…” helps students get the feel of active listening and to view the thoughts of their classmates as “noteworthy.”  This is also a way for the teacher to check the listening of the group and see what students are taking away from small-group and full-class discussions.

In order to generate discussion after an information-based read aloud, students can use active listening–either written or verbally with a partner–to monitor for meaning and comprehension.  Students can break into groups or work in their notebooks to say/write “I heard Mrs. Crabtree say…” and jot down what they remember.

Active listening can also be used in response to text, which can support students in using text-based evidence.  After listening to a reading passage read aloud or reading independently, students may say to a partner/group or write in their own notebook, “I heard the author say…” and restate something they heard, learned or read.


Steal This Idea is a roundup of submissions from NYCWP-affiliated teachers; in this space you will have access to the ideas and innovations of a wide range of classroom teachers of all grades and content areas.  The title says it all: if you like an idea you find here, bring it to your own classroom and make it your own!

Steal This Idea started as a component of the NYCWP newsletter and has become an NYCWP tradition.  However, this tradition relies on you to help!  We need you to send us ideas that you would like the community to have the opportunity to steal.

  • Have you done something in your classroom recently that went really well?
  • Do you have a great idea for a lesson, unit or essential question?
  • What’s a foolproof activity that everyone should have in their tool kit?
  • What is your favorite thing that you do in your classroom?

Send us your ideas at with the subject line “Steal This Idea” and you may see yourself featured in this section!