(I use the drawers, from IKEA, to organize my math manipulatives and the blue pocket chart is for class jobs. Posts on these to come later.)
I use inexpensive 1 and 2GB MP3 players and download one story on each player. Here's one that looks easy to use.
Ease of use is key when the kids are going to be the ones operating them. I have several lessons at the beginning of the year to train students on how to use the players and how to keep the center organized. The player is in a ziplock bag in the pouch with the book and the bag, player and book are all numbered. The headphones clasp over simple tubs to keep them organized. Students select a book and headphones and choose a spot in the room to listen. I love this system for several reasons:
- Students don't fight over the buttons
- Students can go at their own pace, starting and stopping as needed to follow along.
- Students don't have to wait for each other to all be at the center and ready to begin playing the book.
- Students can listen to books at other times in the day like when work is finished early.
Here's a picture of the pocket chart up close. I only change the books about once a month, sometimes less depending on how often we did centers. Students only have each center once a week, so it can last a long time without changing. Students love to listen to their favorites several times too.
I have purchased most of the books on CD from Scholastic and the $20 listening sets they have in the SeeSaw orders. I have a pretty good collection now. I also use my Scholastic points for them. Another way to create listening books is to use a digital recorder and record yourself, the principal, custodian, lunch workers, parents, etc. reading books that you already have and creating your own listening books.
And here's a good digital recorder that links right up to your computer to easily save the file. I use a similar model. Be careful when purchasing a digital recorder, many do NOT have a USB hook up so files cannot be saved.
How do you organize your listening centers?