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BEEP! Listening activity for class

August 10, 2021

Ready for the easiest listening activity you've ever rolled out?

“BEEP!” Is a simple listening activity in which students listen to the teacher read or describe a familiar text or familiar information that contains errors. Whenever the students hear an error, they interrupt the teacher with a loud, "BEEP!".

Listen to me describe the game in this video, or keep reading!


How to play BEEP!

BEEP! is a game with lots of variations out there, and I have seen Justin Slocum Bailey, John Bracey, and Elicia Cárdenas play this kind of a game with slightly different rules.

Here's how I BEEP!

First, share a text or a piece of content with your students. Help them to become familiar with it; at least enough so that they can notice if something about it changes. This might look like you telling them a story (via ClipChat, for example) or co-creating a class story via TPRS®. It could also look like you teaching students about an informational topic, or having students read an article or other informational text and then following up with BEEP! In the newly updated Somos 1 Unit 2, the teacher shares information about the Running of the Bulls and then reviews it with BEEP! the next day. Whatever it is, the goal is to have students know enough about something so that they can tell when something is not right.

Once your students are familiar with the text or topic, it's time to get tricky! You are going to retell the story to your students or describe the topic, but you're going to make some mistakes. Change some of the details in the story or the information about the topic so that it is no longer correct or accurate to what the students had already learned. You can do this on the spot, or you can script out your mistakes ahead of time!

Sample BEEP script in English

Here's what this could look like:


Alaska is a state in the United States of America. It is part of the continental United States, but it is not a contiguous state because it is separated from most states by Canada. Alaska is the northernmost state. It is also the largest state. It is way bigger than Texas. And, it is the best state.


Alaska is a city in Canada. It is part of the contiguous United States, but it is not a continental state because it is separated from most states by Hawaii. Alaska is the southernmost state. It is also the smallest state. It is slightly smaller than Texas. Texans say that Alaska is the best state.

As you can see, there are MANY mistakes in the second text! As you read aloud the error-filled BEEP text, students should shout out, "BEEP!" any time that they hear a mistake.

When you hear a “BEEP!”, stop and confirm that you had indeed made a mistake or let them know that they beeped you needlessly. If their BEEP was justified, discuss with the class what the correct detail should have been.

Here's what the interaction between you and your students might look like as you read the error-filled BEEP text. Example student responses are bold.

Alaska is a city (BEEP!). Oh my gosh, silly me, I said that Alaska is a city. Alaska is not a city, Alaska is a... STATE! Yes, yes, you're right. Alaska is a state, not a city. Alaska is a state in Canada (BEEP!). Ah! There I go again! Alaska is not a state in Canada, it's a state in the United States of America! Not a city, not in Canada... Alaska is a STATE in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Phew! Alaska is part of the contiguous (BEEP!) Wait, why did you beep me? (IT'S NOT CONTIGUOUS) Oh my word, I always mix up those words. What was I trying to say? It's not a contiguous state, but it's part of the... CONTINENTAL! Oh yes, continental, that was the word I was looking for. CONTINENTAL United States. Alaska is part of the continental United States, and it is also a CONTIGUOUS (BEEP!) gah! I mean it is NOT a contiguous state. It IS continental, it is NOT contiguous...

...and so on and so forth. This entire conversation would be in the target language, although you may use your shared language at times to check comprehension and support understanding.

Continue telling the story or talking about the content, and keep making mistakes for your students to BEEP!

Use a signal to let students know when the game is 'on'

As you read, it may be helpful to use a signal so that students know when you are continuing the story and when you are discussing a mistake. For example, when you are reading the text or sharing the information, riddled with mistakes, hold a hand up in front of you with an open palm, as if you are emphatically reciting a poem. Then, when it comes time to discuss a mistake that has been BEEPED, put your hand down while you talk to your students. When it comes time to resume reading, put your hand back up in the air so that students know that the activity is back “on”. Alternatively, you could use the space in the room as a physical cue: step back toward your board while reading, step forward toward your students while discussing.

More activities to review content

I've shared dozens of ways to keep playing with stories and review content over the years. Here are some starting points!

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