Update and Rejuvenate Your Listening Center
This Is My Listening Center?
I want to laugh and cry at the same time when I see this OLD tape recorder. It brings back wonderful memories from childhood.... but it shouldn't be in our classrooms today. They are out of date and do not teach relevant technology skills to today's children. There are way too many of these still floating around in our school systems. If you are still using one of these because you want to provide your students a listening center...... I have an alternative for you!
Recycle Your Old iPod
You know that you have what you consider an old iPod laying around. If you don't you have a friend that would donate it to your classroom. I had quite a few just sitting in a drawer and now they are being put to use in classrooms! Yayy! After you have the iPod that you will recycle clear all of the materials off of the device. Now you are ready to record books and load them into your new listening center portal. If you think ahead you can create multiple audio books for students to listen to over a long weekend or break. On my iPod I created a listening center folder where I keep all of my recorded book files. Then there is a folder called "PLAY THIS ONE". Using sight words that students should be able to read (my students are in first grade) easily guides them to their listening center book for the week.
Gather Your MaterialsChildren love listening to books being read to them. For those students that can't read the words in the text yet, turning of the page is something that needs to be prompted. Grab a game from your own family stash! Get your buzzer ready (I used our TABOO game) and press that button every time you want your students to turn the page. One of the books that I chose to use for my listening center is Miss Nelson is Missing! You can choose books from your own classroom library or your school's reading room/library. Armed with my buzzer, book, and cell phone on recording mode.... I was ready to start! Remember that you need to read every single page (include the dedication page) and press the buzzer every time students need to turn the page. Give your students time to turn the page before you start reading again (a few seconds will do). Get your family involved too! I've had my husband, daughter, and friends record books. My
students are intrigued by the different voices.
Now An Entire Group Can Listen!
When I found my headphone splitter I was so excited!!! This little apparatus revolutionized my listening center. The cost is low! I spent approximately $10 on Amazon. This is the exact one that is used in my classroom. It is sturdy and fits five sets of headphones at the same time. During the first week of school I show students a very simple "how to" guide for the use of the iPod and splitter but they are independently using it in no time!
Headphones are key! Buying the dollar store headphones are economical but the cords tangle easy and when students are involved..... the headphones may not last very long! After sets and sets of headphones were ruined I purchased these headphones (left). You can find these beauties for approximately $9 and they are worth every penny! The students keep these in gallon size bags when they are not in use and they are as nice as the day they were purchased (and the cords never get tangled).
Student Response to the Listening Center
Listening itself can be an enriching center or station in your classroom. I wanted there to be accountability for the time after listening where students could strengthening metacognitive strategies. My students listen to the same story for two weeks. That may seem like a lot but they rotate through five stations. This means that each student may be in the listening center 2 - 3 times a week. Each week the students are expected to complete a response activity that links to the metacognitive strategies that they are learning in our English block. These response activities are given on Mondays. The basic format stays the same and the second response activity is a little more in depth. Remember, once you create these activities you have them for years to come (with maybe a simple change here for there). You will be amazed at the responses you get from your students. They are truly engaged in these activities and enjoy the station. In my Miss Nelson is Missing station the first week's activity is above and the second week's station is below. Feel free to use them!
The Bottom Line
You can do this! It may take some time and effort to record the books but you will have fun and it will be worth it. Remember to look for that iPod that no one is using and recycle it (even if you have to ask friends - they'll be glad to donate it to a classroom). Depending on which headphones you choose (and help from Amazon Prime) your total cost would be $15 - $60. This would be an inexpensive Donor's Choose project too! If you want to work smarter and not harder.... have each person on your grade level record themselves reading and create coordinating station activities. What a way to bond as a grade level!
Let's Do It!
The listening center is always one of the most popular in my classroom. The students are engaged in reading skills and learning how to use the most up to date technology. This post shows how the listening center works in my room but I look forward to hearing from you! Are you inspired? I'm here to help you if you need/want advice or assistance.