How I Use It
Listen Current is essentially curated National Public Radio (United States) stories posted online. As such, this is a great site for current events, but because there is such a wealth of stories on NPR, it's also possible to use this site for research purposes since students will find information for almost any topic here.
I have used Listen Current in a variety of ways.
1. I have used it for current events. Students listen to news stories and either write an analysis of the story or present in small groups about the story.
2. I have had students listen to author interviews (there are quite a few) and write about how hearing from the author might change their interpretation of a novel.
3. I have used it with the whole class to just do some fast listening comprehension.
Sometimes I use their lesson plans, but I often just let students choose a story (or assign based on a topic relevant to our curriculum).
I can't think of a single teacher in my career who has not complained at some point about student listening skills. Whether it's listening to and following instructions or listening for information. Listen Current really helps address this issue effectively. Perhaps most importantly, it helps some students realize for themselves that they have difficulty focusing on and truly hearing information presented orally. When they end up pausing, going back, and reviewing over and over again, it becomes apparent that they 'listening' is not a strength to the student him/herself. What's more effective than that? Way better than me nagging about paying attention, right?
I initially offered this as a current events option for some students who struggle with reading. I have a few students who really rely on listening/participating in discussion as a way to compensate for their difficulty in reading, so I figured that this would play to their strengths. Other students got interested as well and, when I realized that some were struggling with but benefitting from relying on oral comprehension, I decided to make it part of my repertoire.