Extended Listening Portfolios

Extended Listening Portfolios are an idea that I created when trying to figure out a way for students to listen to vast amount of English outside of their textbook whilst also keeping them engaged. The gist is that Netflix (or any other streaming service) becomes a required “text” for the course, and as a class we watch a TV show that I have selected (note that students watch the TV show at home). The result has been classes that have a shared context, which ultimately has created more active classrooms filled with discussion. What has been unexpected is that this shared context has become incredibly useful as an instructor because now I have the ability to use it as a point of reference when I want to explain a difficult concept, define a vocabulary word, or make connections to class lectures; students grasp the ideas that much faster because they know exactly what I am referring to.

These listening portfolios provide students with an opportunity to engage in extended listening practice over the course of an entire session. What this portfolio does is allow them to experience and understand authentic English voices, improve their ability to learn and use new vocabulary, and critically engage with the ideas and topics in each episode. In addition, this assignment asks students to document and reflect on their development as a learner over the course of the session (teaching organizational skills). At the end of the semester students are asked submit a portfolio binder containing all assignments for the required episodes of whichever TV show, documentaries, or podcasts that were selected.

When introducing the portfolio, my students and I watch the first episode of whatever I’ve selected together in class. This usually gets students excited and motivated to keep watching. For the remainder of the course, we do some sort of activity related to the show once a week for approximately 30-45 minutes; the majority of work is done outside of the class which promotes autonomy.

Thus far, I have used the following:

  • TV: Sherlock, LostOnce Upon a Time, Parenthood, and Black Mirror (w/ Adam Hembree)
  • Podcast: Serial (w/ Kathy Moulton)

Types of Assignments in the Portfolio:

  • Weekly Assignments: Vocabulary worksheets
  • Periodic Assignments: Quickwrites, which can be content focused or when collaborating with grammar teacher, they can be targeted to reinforce a grammar point.
  • Throughout Session Assignments: informational documents for characters, setting, etc. that students add to episode by episode; presentations on different episodes or themes; graded group discussions
  • Creative Assignments: independent assignments that students self-select from a list of options and are due on specific dates
  • End-of-Session Assignment: self-reflection

Below you will find examples of materials created for Once, Upon a Time, Lost, and Serial.


Below are documents created for the Serial Extensive Listening Portfolio designed for both Advanced II and University Preparation Listening and Speaking courses. This was the first time I decided to use a podcast as the central text. Kathy Moulton was a co-collaborator on this portfolio project. Portfolio Guidelines Pre-Listening Activities & Slides Over-the Semester Assignments: “Setting” & “People Involved” … Continue reading Serial

Once Upon a Time

Below are documents created for the Once Upon a Time Extensive Listening Portfolio designed for an Advanced I Listening and Speaking course. This was the first iteration of an Extensive Listening Portfolio. Adam Hembree was a co-collaborator on this portfolio project. Portfolio Guidelines Building Context Listening Exercise Over-the Semester Assignments: “Setting” & “Characters” Independent Assignment Options: All students are … Continue reading Once Upon a Time


Below are documents created for the Lost Extensive Listening Portfolio I designed for a Undergraduate bridge course for conditionally admitted students. Portfolio Guidelines Over-the Semester Assignments: “The Island” & “Characters” Independent Assignment Options: All students are required to do an in-depth character analysis, where they have to create a play list for a character.  Weekly Vocabulary Worksheets In-Class Icon … Continue reading Lost