How do you get kids not to just goof off with them? My kiddos are usually very respectful with books, listening centers, science/math manipulatives...but they just go wild with my whisper phones. They make dumb noises into them (farting noises, which make everyone laugh), they "pop" them on their hands or the floor or just pretend they are talking on the phone to a friend. I bought them with the best intentions, but feel they were a management nightmare. Any suggestions?
I don't use them. I model and have the kids practice how to sit eye to eye and knee to knee. It also helps to have them sitting in chairs to do this. Have the students positioned so that they are side by side, yet facing each other in chairs. Then, we practice using whisper or soft voices to a partner. I pair a fluent reader with one that needs fluency practice and they take turns reading to each other. Lots of praise for expected behaviors does wonders in the beginning and they love reading to each other like this.
I ordered some last year that are hands free and the kids love them. I love them for the fact that students want to be uninteruptedwhile reading (sp) and inturn don't interupt others. THey are great for early readers who still read out loud and for my title readers as well! They can even go in the dishwasher for quick sterilization! http://www.whisperphone.com/
These are whisper phones for $2.50 a piece. If you buy 24, the cost is $2.00 a piece. I did purchase a class set a few years ago. I use them mostly as a choice for independent reading, or during a reading test if students need to read the passage to themselves, and hear the words. It is rare that all students are using the whisper phones at once, so I probably would have been fine ordering half the amount. It depends what you are intending to use them for. As mentioned in some previous replys, some teachers use them with class activities. Here is the link to the "phonic phones"
The pvc piping is much more difficult to use in the real setting with children, as one of their hands needs to be occupied holding it. The Whisper phone that attaches with a headset to the child's head is so much easier and more managable to use. The cost after you make several is not that much more expensive. I purchased ours thru a company called Adaptations for $7.95. I would highly recommend this brand over the others, as I have tried the other brands, and the pvc pipe.