View Content #18795

Content Type4
TitleSample Activity for Listening: Bottom-Up

by Larry Vandergrift

This week's InterCom features two Activities of the Week focusing on listening.

In both activities, students are led through the process of listening: predicting, monitoring, problem solving and evaluating. They are developing their metacognitive awareness of listening, leading them to become the smart listeners envisioned in Principle 1 of the Topic of the Week article. See the key stages and the related metacognitive process illustrated in the Figure below.

Key stages in the metacognitive pedagogical sequence, and the corresponding metacognitive processes, for listening instruction as exemplified in the two listening activities.

Activity 2:

While Activity 1 focused on a ‘top-down’ approach to listening; that is, using the context and text-type to predict content, based on world knowledge, discourse knowledge and metacognition to arrive at reasonable interpretation of the text, Activity 2 focuses on a ‘bottom-up’ approach to listening. In this case, students use a decoding approach to complete a listening activity based on a text where words have been deleted. This kind of ‘cloze activity’ is commonly used but students are not often encouraged to engage in a metacognitive approach to task completion.

The activity below, ‘Camping,' is only a suggestion for illustration purposes since teachers will likely use a text related to the theme currently under study and geared to the language proficiency of the students. If a recorded text is not available, the teacher can read the text.

While teachers often begin such an activity without any preparation other than ‘Listen and fill in the missing words’, it can be made more meaningful and more metacognitive in orientation. Teachers are encouraged to proceed as follows:

  • Teachers ask students to read through the text with the gaps in order to arrive at a general understanding of the text.
  • On the basis of this general understanding (the context), students are encouraged to fill in tentative word possibilities for each one of the blanks (using pencil) based on logical inferences.
  • At this point, students can share with peers their word choices, making changes as required or leaving their choices as they are, if the cannot reach agreement. This will result in more active monitoring as students listen and verify.
  • At this time, students listen to the text for the first time to verify their word choices and/or make appropriate corrections.
  • Final verification can now take place either 1) between peers or 2) through a class discussion. If you opt for students to verify with each other first, a final class discussion should still take place to verify final word choices and to discuss how students resolved the more difficult choices.


When the weather starts to get warm, many families like to experience the __________ air of the country away from the ______________ of the city.  They pack up their ____________ and a _____________ full of food and head out to the woods near a body of water such as a ___________ or a _______________. After arriving at the _____________, the first thing to do is  ___________ up the _______________.

At night, people sit around the ____________ and __________ scary stories or _____________ songs. Somebody has to ____________ wood for the fire. To do this, they’ll need an _______________. If anybody gets hungry, they can ____________ hotdogs or ______________ over the fire.

One thing people like to do in the woods is put on their boots and go ______________. Another thing they like to do is grab a rod, some hooks, and some worms and go ________________.

(Adapted from

SourceCASLS Activity of the Week
Inputdate2015-01-02 18:41:05
Lastmodifieddate2015-01-05 09:32:02
ExpdateNot set
Publishdate2015-01-05 02:15:01
Displaydate2015-01-05 00:00:00