Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Small Group Reading: Listening

The next activity I'm sharing with you in my mini-series about small group reading time is listening.

My school has invested in a a few sets of listening book sets that contain an audio cd of the book and 8 copies of the text.  We listen to novels and I assign a section each week, usually dividing the book into 8 sections so we are finished at the same time as genre activities.  

With mp3 players, each student is in charge of his/her own listening and can go back when needed and start and stop as needed.  Here's how I've organized my listening activity station for this next year. 

I wanted a way to be able to quickly see that all MP3 players were returned and kept in an organized and safe way.  I'll have a full post of how I made the pockets work for me on a Monday Made it post next Monday.  The basket on the counter will hold the books for students to grab.  The sign on the wall is an enlarged version of the reference card that came with the players.   I numbered each player so it gets back to it's organized spot. 

At our school registration this year, we'll be asking that students bring in their own pair of ear buds or headphones.  These will be kept in a ziploc bag, marked with the student's name, in their reading boxes.  This way, students are responsible for their own listening headphone device and we don't share ear germs. 

You can read about how I organized my listening center in my first grade classroom here.  

I've used a few different types of MP3 players over the years.  They have to be cheap, user friendly, chargeable (no batteries), and somewhat durable.  Knowing that cheap and chargeable are my two top priorities, durability can be somewhat questionable and I understand that when I purchase.  This is the first year my school has provided the players for me.  I'm super happy about that because my previous set was starting to have a few get broken. (I've had my first set for about 4 years.) Here's the style of players that my new set is. Note that they do need an additional SD card added to them, they don't have on board memory.

This will take you to an Amazon listing of a 4 pack, which is what we ordered. 

I love mp3 players for listening.  Cd players with multiple headphones were a pain for me.  The group had to wait for everyone to arrive before starting and there always seemed to be an argument about something.  Sometimes, you might find a recording or video of a book online that you want students to have access to to listen.  If you don't have a tablet or computer for a small group of students in your classroom, you might consider using this splitter. You just plug it into your audio output in one computer and then connect headphones in each of the ports.  Then several students could follow along to an audio on your computer.  If you click on the picture, you'll be taken to view this product on Amazon. 

I"m still deciding whether to have my students respond to their listening station this year.  I do meet with the group for about 10 minutes toward the end of the reading block to discuss the section they listened to.  Last year, students answered a few questions, and I think that helped them be better listeners and focus, knowing they needed to answer questions.  My teammate, however, doesn't require students to respond.  She uses listening as the student's enjoyable reading time.  What are your thoughts?  Should students respond to their listening or should it be a more relaxable reading experience? How do you set up your listening activity station?

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  1. I have a quick dumb question... How do you get the CD transferred onto the mp3 player? Is it as simple as put cd on computer, drag onto SD card? I've been trying to figure out how to get inexpensive mp3 players for listening to reading. Thanks so much for this post.
    Grade 4 Buzz

    1. Lisa, not a dumb question. The players connect to the computer through USB to charge or to transfer files. I add the files from the CD to itunes and then just copy and paste to the MP3 folder when the player is connected to the computer. Make sure you have itunes set to download in the file form of MP3, not the default form it's set to. Most of these types of players will only read MP3 files.

  2. I love it! I would love to use it in the intervention setting! Not sure how yet but I'm going to try. An idea for comprehension check: One of my second grade teachers used an interactive journal (in her own way. It's open ended enough that they won't feel like they're just filling out another worksheet (plus it gave some freedom of choice) but it gives you the opportunity to check for specifics.

    1. Tara, Thanks for the idea with the comprehension check! Perhaps I'll add it as an Edmodo topic each week for students to discuss, hmm. I'd just grade that each student participated. Thanks!

  3. Love the shoe bag idea! Never thought about cutting one off. Brilliant!! :-)


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