A Fun Listening & Communication Skills Lesson

Something I always find myself working on with students is really listening when their peers or friends are talking. We practice letting go of our own thoughts, really paying attention to their words, and not planning what we want to say. Listening with the intent to hear, not the intent to respond. A favorite small group counseling listening activity is what we call back to back drawing. Keep reading for all the details:

Looking for a small group counseling listening activity? This is one of my favorite school counseling activities to help kids practice really listening!

Small Group Counseling Listening Activity

Materials

  • Simple shape images (i.e. a present, a house, a stick figure)
  • Blank paper
  • Writing utensils

Pre-teaching

Releasing your thoughts: This is really tricky, especially for younger students. We practice picturing our thoughts as a bubble in our minds. Then we imagine the bubbles floating away to release the thoughts.

Communicating clearly: We talk about giving simple, concrete steps one at a time. I give an example using one of the images and show students how I would give simple instructions in a step by step way.

Listening: Here, we talk about picturing the partner’s description or words in our minds. We talk about how we can do this with anyone we’re listening to!

Remaining calm: We talk about how instructions might be confusing or they might come too fast and that might frustrating for the person who is drawing! We all practice calming asking for directions to be repeated or asking for more details. We use I statements such as, “I feel a little confused. Can you please repeat that last instruction?”

Partner Practice

Students will partner up and sit back to back. One student will have a paper with a simple image. She will describe the image to her partner using simple steps. The partner will draw the image as it is described. For example, if the picture is of a house the speaker might say, “Draw a square. Then draw a triangle on top.”

The key to this activity is to use simple, clear communication and to listen intently to the directions. Students might feel frustrated during the activity! That’s okay. This is the perfect time to teach skills in the moment. Help students slow down, express themselves calmly and show understanding to their partners.

When they think they’re done, partners will compare the drawing to the image and see how they did!

Looking for a small group counseling listening activity? This is one of my favorite school counseling activities to help kids practice really listening!

Debrief

  • How did you push your thoughts away?
  • What was difficult about this? What roadblocks did you face?
  • How did you feel when your partner didn’t understand your directions?
  • What helped you get past these roadblocks?
  • How do think letting go of your own thoughts and tuning in to your friend’s words could help your friendship?

I do this activity in my friendship small group, and it’s always a fun activity to help students understand how much effort really goes in to communicating clearly and listening to others!

Looking for a small group counseling listening activity? This is one of my favorite school counseling activities to help kids practice really listening!

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Looking for a small group counseling listening activity? This is one of my favorite school counseling activities to help kids practice really listening! Friendship group counseling activity that's perfect for building social skills and listening skills in elementary school students. School counseling friendship game to help kids listen to their peers! -Counselor Keri

3 thoughts on “A Fun Listening & Communication Skills Lesson

  1. I love this idea, and was wondering if you think it would work in a classroom with about 20 students working in pairs?

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