Listen To and Follow Directions: Day 2

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SWBAT listen to and follow directions to create a project.

Big Idea

Your students listening skills will evolve as they translate verbal instructions into a tangible result.


One important aspect of common core is to prepare students to be able to participate in conversations, and contribute accurate and relevant information. (CCRA.SL2: Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally) What we all know, in order to actively participate and maintain the conversation, students need to be able to actively listen.

This lesson is a follow up to the previous day's lesson, in which students had a chance to compare two characters from two rich texts. Now they will take what they've learned about listening and speaking throughout this unit, and they will apply it to following a specific set of directions.

Lesson Overview:

After reviewing Ben Franklin and His First Kite, my students listened to my directions to create a kite.


  • Ben Franklin and His First Kite, by Stephan Krensky
  • Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme 5: Let’s Look Around, The Kite by Alma Flor Ada
  • Kite Template (to Xerox onto construction paper)
  • White or colored construction paper (with template): one per student
  • Scissors
  • Straws: two per student
  • Crayons
  • Sharpened pencils
  • Yarn: 14 to 18 inches 


5 minutes

As my little ones sat on the rug we quickly reviewed what it looks like to sit and listen to the speaker.  A rhyme we use is: Crisscross, hands in lap, cherry on top, eyes up front.  After reviewing what it looks like to sit quietly, I told them today they were going to use their listening skills to create a project.  But before we got started we were going to play a listening game to help us practice listening to directions.  We then played a quick two minute round of "Simon Says." 

Guided Practice

20 minutes

After playing "Simon Says" for a short two minutes,  I told my little ones that today they were going to listen to the directions on how to make a kite, and that when we were finished we would hang them from the ceiling.  I then had them stand and float to their desks like a kite.  I usually try have a movement that goes with our subject to peak my students interest and help my active students engage.

Once settled at their desks I held up a copy of Ben Franklin and His First Kite and a copy of The Kite and used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to select a student to tell the class details about he characters we compared in yesterday's lesson.  As this student related back the Mom and Ben, the rest of the class showed me they agreed with a thumb up (Demonstration: Thumb Up, Thumb Down).  I then asked my little ones what did the Mom and Ben have in common.  This time I called on students raising their hands.  The answers I got back included: both were smart, both did not give up, and both liked kites.  I agreed stating it is hard to make a kite, or to try new things, and asked: 'What would have happened had the Mom or Ben gave up'?  My students all agreed that had this happened we would not have any stories to read.  True I agreed.

That is when I told them they were going to listen to directions on how to make a kite and when they were finished they were going to write on the back what they want to be when they grow up.

I showed them the materials we would be using to make their kites.  I explained that I would tell them the directions and give them time to work, however, I would not show them samples or pictures.  They had to listen and do what I directed them to do. (SL1.2: Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media) They could ask questions, but they could not talk to their table partners.

I then had student volunteers pass out the materials.  Once settled I gave the following directions, along with time to finish each one.

1. look at paper and notice kite shape with small dots

2. turn paper over and put name on back

3. turn over and use scissors to cut out kite shape

4. helpers pick up scrapes and put in recycle

5. use pencil to punch holes in small circles

6. put kite shape down so the longer end is pointing to you

7. think about what you want to be when you grow up and write it on your kite

8. put  you finger on one hole on the short end

9. start with that hole to thread the straw in and out of the holes the width of the kite

10. put your on the hole at the end of the long end

11. start with that hole to thread the other straw the length of the kite

12. tie the yarn to the hole at the end of the bottom of the kite (the long end)

13. turn to your table partner and share what you want to be when you grow up and write that on the back of your kite.

Once they were finished making their kites I gave them an opportunity to share their Finished Product with their friends.  I then hung each Student Kite from the ceiling to be enjoyed until the end of the year.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

After they finished sharing I picked their kites up to by hang from the ceiling.  To finish this lesson I had my students think about what they just did and what they were able to do.  I gave them a moment to think then had my students whisper to me (Demonstration: Whisper to Me) what they did and how they did it.  Having all my students whisper an answer to a general question such as: What did you do and how did you do it?  Allows all students the opportunity to not only share, but to practice their speaking skills as well.

After they all whispered to me what they just did I directed them to write in their journals how they made their kites.  I usually end a lesson with a quick journal write because writing helps students further synthesize what they just experienced.

To help my less independent students I put this prompt on the board:

I listened _________________ and I was able to _________________.

I checked their journals when they brought them to me during their differentiated reading rotation time.  The video samples Describing How to Make a Kite: Independent Reading GroupDescribing How to Make a Kite: High Reading Group, and Describing How to Make a Kite: ELL show the reading and writing ability level of three different groups.

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

At the end of the day students earned a sticker when they successfully demonstrated that they remembered the importance of following directions. 

To further reinforce the importance of listening to oral directions, I had my students partner share what they learned.