This is my first Linky Party! I planned to share my classroom routines for listening centers and then thought, why not turn this into a linky party! Link up to share your ideas!
I love using my classroom computers for the Listening Center! We have 6 computers in our first grade classrooms for student use and they are fantastic for setting up listening centers.
There are a few free sites out there with stories for children. Some that I have used in the past have added a subscription fee and others have so many ads that I am worried about using them in the classroom. Storyline Online is fantastic! However, I caution you about the Tooth Fairy story. Check it out and see if you want to use this site. I have used it more for a whole class listening activity rather than me reading a story aloud. The Magic Keys is also a good site, but a bit limited. StoryNory, Tumble Books, and Speakaboos have all gone to a fee-based format.
National Geographic Young Explorer gives children access to their past issues of National Geographic. This has been fantastic in my classroom. We subscribe to the magazine and put the issue on the Promethean Board for an interactive experience, but I also love that the kids can go on to read and listen later at centers.
Next, I have 2 sites that are subscription sites. Our library has subscribed to both sites for classroom use and they are indispensible for most of our classroom teachers. They are great to use with the Promethean Board. Pebble Go is a non-fiction database on animals and the world around us. The kids love to read and listen during centers. It is great for research. Bookflix is another site that I have mentioned before. It has a fantastic collection of fiction and non-fiction books for students to listen to and read.
I also have a listening center that is not computer-based. I struggled with the old tape-deck players and cd players for years and finally decided to go with MP3 players when I saw a good deal through Scholastic. There are a few great MP3 players out there for children, but they can be pretty pricey. I have seen some good deals on Ebay, but have stuck with my old players at this point. They were $8 on clearance at one point and I bought 8 with my bonus points. I can’t find my picture of them right now.
I have also gradually acquired books with cds through Scholastic. This is a nice system because I only need one copy of the book and students have their own listening tools. I load the cds into my computer and transfer one story to each MP3. With 8 players, that gives each child 2 centers for 4 weeks. So, I have them use the MP3s twice a week and the computer twice a week. I store the MP3 player and the book in a baggie and put the stories in a basket. This gives my students a bit of choice during this center.
I also bought earphones from the dollar store a few years ago, one for each student. They are stored in baggies with student numbers on them. I have toyed with the idea of putting them on a supply list too. The earphones are stored in a Sterlite container with magic numbers 1-7 in the top drawer, 8-14, and 15-21 in the next two.
I store my listening books in a crate with a hanging file for each month. They are filed by month so I can pull appropriate theme and content books for the month. Once the books are loaded onto my computer from the cd, I organize them the same as the crate so they are easy to transfer to the MPs when it is time. Once the system is set up, it takes 15-20 minutes to switch them out each month.
I love this system because it allows students to work independently and make choices. It also cuts down on the behavior issues that occur when students don’t know how to use the players and argue over things – you know how that goes.
Last year I began to incorporate Leap Pads into my classroom. Now that the prices have gone down, I found 3 on Ebay and have found the books and cartridges on Ebay and at thrift stores and garage sales. I put these in as a listening center once a week. The books are not always pure listening, but it works. I store the Leap Pads in a Sterlite file box – 3 fit nicely. The games go in a second one.
Does anyone have any great, free sites for listening? Any other ideas for the listening centers? Link up to share your ideas!