Hi friends! I'm very excited to be writing this blog post! Earlier this year, my friend and fellow kindergarten teacher, Theresa, and I submitted an application for a LEAF grant. We wrote this grant as the result of a very frustrating year with our listening center. In our listening center, we have very large CD players with a splitter and 6 headphones. As part of my listening center, I also have this huge "organizer" that we like to call the bug because it looks like a humungous bug! Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of this monstrosity. But, what I can say, is that it is the most difficult thing to manage in the universe.
Let me help you visualize this in your mind:
While I am meeting with a guided reading group, another group is at the listening center. The plug is falling out of the wall, the headphone cushions are falling off, each student is pressing a different button on the foreign object known as the CD player, someone breaks the antennae off, and 3 out of 4 students are yelling with their headphones on that they can't hear the story.
Sounds pretty, right? Well, this all happened during one of my unannounced observations. How lucky am I!!!! After dealing with this chaos every Monday for the first half of the year, I decided that something needed to change. So, I pitched the idea to my kindergarten team, and Theresa and I decided to apply for a LEAF grant.
We are so lucky, because in March we found out that we received the grant! This meant that each of us would be receiving 2 iPods, for a total of 4. We were so excited!! We then had to go through the long, strenuous process of actually placing the order which took several months. On Monday, we finally received the iPods! I have been working all week to work out the kinks of how this listening center will work. I have not completely ironed everything out yet, but I have synced all of my listening center materials to the iPods! I have an entire year's worth of the Scholastic kindergarten listening libraries that accompany the fabulous listening center products from DeeDee Wills and Kali West.
First, I downloaded iTunes on my school laptop. Then, I spent a few days uploading each CD from the listening libraries to my new iTunes account. Each CD comes with 3 tracks: the story with turn signals, the story without turn signals, and the comprehension questions. I uploaded all 3 tracks to iTunes, but I only synced the first track (the story with turn signals) to the iPods so far. My reasoning behind this is that I do not want my kinders spending time searching for which track to play, but rather listening to and following along with the story. If there is just one track, it should be easy peasy!
Finally, I really wanted the book covers to display on the iPods. I played around with it for a little while, but could not get the book covers to display like normal CD covers would if you purchased a song from the iTunes store. I wound up having to find an image of the book cover online, save it to my computer, and then upload it to the CD track in iTunes. This was a time consuming process, but I think it will save me a lot of trouble in the long run. I will not need to worry about my kinders having trouble finding the book on the iPod by just reading the titles. They will be able to search for the book cover!
My next two projects are figuring out how to connect the CD tracks to a QR code and ironing out the kinks of how the new listening center will work in my classroom. I'll keep you updated!
I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on my new endeavor!