I wanted to share a quick tip today about something I've been using in my class for years: Noise Blockers.
If you aren't familiar, these are typically what you see construction workers wearing while using a jackhammer! They are sometimes used as an accommodation for children with sensory issues, but I have found that many children like using them when we are working on Read to Self or Independent Writing.
Because our room is just one big rectangle and much of my teaching is done in small groups, there is often a hum or buzz that's happening throughout the morning. I am a person who *loves* to work while surrounded by low-noise activity. Proof? I'm listening to Coffitivity.com as I type this! It simulates a coffee shop without having to pay $5 for a latte ;)
But for some of my students (and for some of you, I'm sure), background noise can really get in the way of the work and be more of a distraction than a help.
These Noise Blockers are available in our class supply area in a large tub for any student to use during *independent* work time. Students are welcome to grab a Noise Blocker and work comfortably, returning them to the bin when they are finished.
At the beginning of the year, there is always a mad rush to use these, but over time as the novelty wears off, the use dwindles down to around a handful of kids throughout the day. Because of that, I only have about 10 pairs (and I have 26 students, so less than half).
I do teach and reinforce the proper use of these so they aren't handled too roughly, as they are not indestructible. I also have one of our Classroom Leaders (Clean-Up Crew) responsible for wiping them down with a Lysol wipe each week to make sure we aren't transferring germs all year long.
I do know these can be expensive, which is why I was so hesitant to build on my small collection a few years ago. If you do a search online, they can range anywhere from $25 and up, so even replacing two was a challenge.
I am happy to report that at the beginning of this year, I came across FullSource that has an inexpensive pair for only $6!
(Disclaimer: I am not being compensated, I just really like this find!)
I definitely jumped at the chance to build my collection with that price tag and I hope this link can help if you're looking to start or build your own!
Do you use Noise Blockers in class? Any tips or tricks you would recommend?