Friday, May 13, 2011

The New Listening Center

One of the first thoughts that I had in regards to using the ipads in the classroom involved our Listening Center. In fact, the first thing I opened on my iPad was the iBooks app. I can easily imagine filling that empty shelf with picture books from our Listening Center. Our books take up so much room - at least 6 copies of each book, 1-2 books each week for the entire school year. That's a lot of books (nearly 75 titles) and they take up a whole lot of shelf space in the classroom!

Imagine having all of those books on a virtual bookshelf on the iPad...

In our class, when students have finished their work or during free choice times, listening to an audio book and following along on the actual book is an option. We have the kids sit and wait until we have at least 5 ready and then we hit play. They all listen along together.


We could keep 6 iPads in our listening center with headphones. Each week, we would simply post or queue up the book for that week. When a student makes the Listening Center choice, they could sit down and start the story. If they listen at their own pace, more kids could take a turn.

While I haven't completely explored the iBooks store yet, I did check out an app that Jenni loaded for us - Beast Nian (2010 Rye Studio). I love the illustrations, the story, and the page options! The book can be set to automatically turn the page or the reader can use a quick touch to flip pages. Rye Studios has a variety of ebooks available, many are Chinese stories, but there are others about artists, musicions, animals. The illustrations are bright and colorful and beautiful. I already want most of these books on my iPad bookshelf!

In the "pro" column:
-freeing up shelf space for more manipulatives, tactile and spatial materials, rocks, shells, counters, anything
-allowing kids to listen at their own pace
-reinforcing skills for beginning readers (some books highlight words as they are read)
-room for a much larger Listening Center collection of stories
-less wear and tear = less book tape, fewer bucks spent replacing damaged books
-the ability to share stories in multiple languages - what a great way to increase the variety of exposure to a modern language for our students!

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