The best classroom teachers play music throughout the day: slow music to work, brain breaks to break up the day, and more.
Using a classroom speaker amplifier is good for students who might not have perfect hearing, or perhaps they are sitting next to a noisy hallway. Having a way to amplify whatever you wish for the students to hear can actually improve unwanted behaviors in the classroom too!
Maybe I am just saying that because I have always used music in the classroom, but I really do love using it – and for more than just students.
Sometimes just cranking up your favorite 80’s big hair band playlist while doing lesson plans after school really keep the energy up. I can’t be the only one who still loves Poison?
But there are lots of times throughout the day when you might want to turn up the volume from a video or playlist for your students.
Some examples might include:
- Playing the story of the week from the basal
- Brain breaks
- Practicing phonic sounds to a video
- Watching an educational movie
- Attending a virtual field trip
- Playing music during student independent work time
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The Evolution of Sound Systems for Teachers
When I first started teaching we had a cassette player in the classroom and that was pretty much it. If we wanted to watch a classroom movie, we wheeled in a TV on a large cart from the library.
Eventually, we moved from cassette to CDs and we had our very own TV cart in every classroom. Those were exciting times!
From there, we moved to interactive whiteboards that worked via a cable connection from our desktop computer to the wall mounted unit.
While the technology continued to improve, I usually still struggled to get the sound from the IWB or from a movie to be loud enough for all to hear. My desktop computer speakers just weren’t cutting it anymore.
I tried to rig up a wireless voice amplification system microphone to set next to the computer speaker in an effort to turn up the volume for the students. Sometimes it worked, other times, someone would always bump it and I would have to fiddle with it again. Ha!
Now, there are portable speakers that are wireless, many that have bluetooth technology, and even “smart” speakers using features such as voice commands. I can’t imagine saying “Alexa, play our KidzBop playlist with volume of 4” even just a few short years ago.
While these are some major advancements for educational technology, not all teachers have classroom budgets to afford some of these luxuries. And some struggle because even though they could purchase the tech, the school network might not be configured in a way that allows for use of the new tech,
Sometimes, the best ideas are old school and simple.
This is one of those ideas.
Inexpensive Solution for Your School
No matter your preference in music, I have a fun way to amplify those fun tunes if you don’t have a portable speaker. And it uses basic materials you probably have at home or school already!
Grab the following items:
- Empty TP roll
- Washi tape in any colors you choose
- Binder Clips or Pushpins
- Your phone that has previously created playlists
Use the washi tape in whatever classroom colors you have on display to decorate the toilet paper roll. You can make it as pretty or as plain as you like it.
Next, cut a slit in the top of the roll as wide (or even a little wider) for your phone model.
Add a couple of binder clips to the side as a stand. Pushpins would work as “legs” too! This helps the roll from actually rolling away when you want to use it.
Last up – pop in your phone and you will be rocking out with a mini speaker that doesn’t even require power! It’s a good way to amplify the sound if you are doing an outside project too.
There you have it! Simple, economical, and serves a purpose. Perhaps you will want to make one as a backup in case your normal wireless speaker runs out of batteries.
Now – on to my next portion of my to-do list to tackle today. I might need some Poison to help keep me moving – haha!
How could you use this idea in your classroom? We would love to hear in the comments below!