Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Listening Centers - Setting Up the Classroom Series

{Click to see more of my posts on how to set up a classroom.} 

When I made the switch from K, 1 and 2 to 3rd grade, I packed up all of my listening center materials. I figured the big, bad third graders would be "beyond that." Was I ever wrong. They love the listening center and it can be used in so many ways with the older kids. So even if you've never had a listening center before, I suggest you give it a try.

How to Build Your Listening Center Collection:

-Share with other teachers.

-Borrow them from the library.

-Ask parent volunteers to make them for you. This is a great job for parents who work and can’t volunteer in the classroom. They simply need to record themselves reading the book with a turn signal at the end of the page. With computer technology they could do this in digital form or you can have them kick it old school with a tape recorder and a bell.
Tips for Having the Students Use the Center:
-Place stickers on the buttons they need to use. I used a green dot for play, a red dot for stop and a yellow dot with an arrow drawn on it for rewind.

-I always found it best to store the books and tapes/CDs in gallon sized ziplocs and then put those bags into a tub.

-When they are available for use, it worked well to use plastic drawers to keep them in. You could also use baskets.
Misc. Tips:
-We have students bring in earbuds or headphones as part of their supplies so they use their own in class and in the computer lab.

-I asked for donations of old discman’s and received a lot. Be sure to ask for donations of batteries as well.

-It’s best for each child to have their own copy of the book.

-In order to make the listening center an accountable activity, I highly suggest having a follow up activity that they are responsible for.
Alternatives to Traditional Listening Centers:
Tag Reading Systems by Leapfrog
Online options like www.Tumblebooks.com
Ipods or other MP3 players

If you can get your hands on one of these headphone holders then be sure snag it. They're great. Brenda explained how she put this center together over on her blog.

Anna Brantley showcases and explains how she differentiates her listening station on her blog
Mrs. McDavid explains how she keeps her listening center in shower caddies from the dollar store on her website.

Mrs. Bond uses a commercially made organizer to keep her materials in order.Mrs. Parker does a nice job of explaining how she uses itunes in the classroom.

I love how Ms. Male used hooks to keep her headsets from getting tangled.

This cute little listening center includes a little bit of everything: color coded directions for the player, an extension activity and an I Can chart.

Andi at Pencils, Glue and Tying Shoes (cutest darn blog title ever btw) explains how she switched from this traditional listening center to ipods.
Learn more about these tag readers at Kinderpond.

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  1. One more suggestion with iPods is signing up for audible. They have a special kids section with tons of novels and some shorter books as well. I can download two titles per month and I've have gradually collected a bunch of stories. Some kids will listen to them individually but I also have a cheap splitter that allows 5 students to listen to one iPod together. It's quite a bit less bulky as well.

  2. Thanks for mentioning my blog. You were one of my inspirations to start blogging.

  3. Thanks for posting my picture! I feel oh so special to be mentioned!
    -Ms. Simoneaux

  4. Hello,

    I was just looking through your post on listening stations and noticed my classroom :) my class is the picture of the two red chairs with the frog table. It is hard to see how I organized the station but I thought I would explain. To the right is a hanging file folder organizer. This organizer contains files with the cd and book. To ensure nothing goes missing there is a check list on the inside and a picture of the front cover of the book on the folder. This ensures that every book and cd has a home. Also in this station are Tag readers and pens. The readers are in a carrying case so the students can move about with them and they are also kept safe. Above the frog table are reflection forms. The students have an I can lister this station that was created together. The students work through these reflections have listening to a book or reading a book with the Tag pen. Hopefully this explains a little more!

    Thank you!

    Renessa at rbkindergarten(dot)com

  5. At the end of the school year I bought a wireless listening center. It is awesome! There are 6 wireless headphones for the students to use. I love that I don't have to worry about untangling cords! The kids can sit almost anywhere they want in the room; they don't have to sit in a designated spot since it's wireless and the sensors make it so kids can sit on the floor, at their desk, etc. to listen to a story. Another thing that I like is that it comes with a remote that I can operate from across the room if needed. So there's no arguing over who is in "control" of the buttons.

    WILD About First Grade!


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