Tangle Free Classroom Listening Center




Introduction: Tangle Free Classroom Listening Center

About: I've been teaching about 20 years. I love it. Kids are brilliant and fun to work with.

A listening center enables young kids to build comprehension skills while listening to stories--unfortunately young kids get headphones cords tangled very easily.  This is a cheap and simple fix to a classroom listening center that will allow young kids to listening to books on tape without tangle cords.

In this build, the headphone cords are fastened to the bottom of a table, so cords can not get tangled.  A tangle free listening center will allow kindergarten students to listen to books on tape without having to deal with tangled headphone cords.  A reduction of tangled cords will also increase the life span of classroom headphones, because kids will not have a reason to pull on the cords.

Any table will work for this project.  All you need is a bag of Cord fasteners-$4, 4 squares of velcro-$2, a drill, 2  half inch screws-1$, a pencil, and a 20 inch nylon strap--I took one off an old backpack.

This simple and cheap modification keeps a listening center free of tangles and allows young kids to explore stories independently.  Listening centers are a great way for kids to build reading comprehension skills. 

Step 1: Mark Were the Junction Box Should Go

Turn your table upside down.  Then put junction box in middle of table.  Trace around junction box with pencil.

Step 2: Put Tape on Drill Bit to Mark the Half Inch Mark

It's important that you don't drill all the way through your table, so wrap a bit of tape around the drill bit.  The tape will give you a visual clue of when to stop drilling.

Step 3: Drill a Hole to the Right and Left of the Box You Drew

Drill a hole on each side of the box you drew.  The holes should be about 3 inches away from the box you drew.  These holes will hold the screws that hold the junction box in place under the table.

Step 4: Add Velcro to the Bottom of the Table

Put four squares of velcro in the corners of the box you drew on the bottom of the table.

Step 5: Add Velcro to Junction Box

Put four squares of velcro on corners of the bottom of the junction box.

Step 6: Mount Junction Box on Table

Place carefully place junction box on square that you drew.

Step 7: Connect Headphone Cords and Screw Nylon Strap Into Place

Plug headphones into junction box.  Then use screws to mount the nylon strap over the junction box.

Step 8: Fasten Headphone Cords to Bottom of Table

Once headphones are plugged, fasten the headphone cords to table with the cord fasteners.  Fasten the cords about 4 inches from the edge of the table.  Make sure there's enough left over headphone cord for kids to be able to put the headphones one while sitting.

Step 9: Turn Table Right-side Up

Turn table right-side up.  Connect tape player to junction box.  I taped down small pieces of construction paper to mark were students should put the headphones when they are finished.

Step 10: A DVD TV Combo Player Works Very Well at This Center Too.

There are a ton of books that have been turned into a cartoon animation.  It is possible to buy these books on video fairly cheaply.  The DVD version of a book gives students a third modality to explore a story.  It's an awful lot of fun reading a story from a conventional book and then having kids explore the story via video independently--The video versions have sound effects and music.     

Once kids are trained, they can select the stories they want to watch.  The listening center and video center concept is great for a wide range of students.  The stories tend to last about 8 to 10 minutes.  After listening/watching students tend to enjoy writing a book report on the story the experienced.

**Always check the sound levels before letting kids use a listening center

**A few people have suggested using ultra sound speakers to set-up direction sound environments, thus negating the need for headphones.  Some research has found that ultra sound waves might  not be suitable for daily use.  

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    10 years ago on Introduction

       Great idea; prevent damage by setting things up in advance.

       Good mounting system for the junction box. One tip that can make Velcro easier to mount: put both male and female parts together. Remove paper from the male part, mount to cleaned junction box. Then, leaving the Velcro attached, remove the paper from the female side, and press box-and-all onto the (cleaned) table. (I use alcohol wipes for this.)
       This way you're placing the Velcro patches with perfect self-alignment.

       Velcro tape (two pieces here) can make for a sturdier build, as more square inches of stuck stuff means better sticking. Since this is just to keep the box from shifting under the main strap support, your use is perfect.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is an excellent and easy adjustment for listening centers. Thanks for sharing.