I'm so glad I finally posted a project on DonorsChoose.org earlier in the fall. After a few months, the "Listening to Stories" projectis fully funded and will be shipped out to my classroom in January! My students and I will receive four iPod Nanos and a new set of kid-friendly Lakeshore Learning headphones. Hello new listening center!
In previous years, I used one CD player and a junction box that was provided by my school. I quickly learned that it had limited uses and even more annoying, the children would argue over what story to listen to and who got to press the buttons. I decided that the listening center would be more useful, enjoyable and less disruptive if the children got to choose their own story and listen independently. My first solution was to use Discman CD players. I spent a considerable amount of time and money at the local thrift store buying used Discman CD players hoping they were still functional. Sometimes they were, sometimes they weren't. While the children were thrilled with the idea of listening to a story of their choosing, the station was always riddled with problems. The CDs would get scratched and not play, any bump of the player (hello wiggly six-year-olds!) and the CD would skip, or the players would just stop working for no reason...well reason being probably because they were over a decade old.
After years of frustration, I decided I needed to invest in a better solution. I wanted the children to use current technology instead of technology that I used in high school (that was the 90s!) so I decided to go with a set of iPod Nanos and a set of new kid-friendly headphones. I've witnessed my 4-year-old niece navigate an iPad with better ease than my 62-year-old father (no offense daddy!) so most of my students will probably learn how to use the iPod Nanos quite easily with a quick and easy tutorial from me.
So out with the old and in with the current! Thanks to all the generous donations of family, friends and strangers through DonorsChoose.org. This amazing gift we received will benefit children and spread the joy of literature for years to come. I couldn't ask for a better way to start 2014. Happy new year and happy reading!