Writers Workshop Tip: Headphones Help Them Concentrate


Writers workshop in kindergarten can be made easier and headphones can help. I have found that using headphones during my writers workshop time helps my kindergarten students concentrate better, reduces noise and adds a “hook” of interest.

Writers Workshop Tip - Headphones Help Them Concentrate

Writers workshop time can be super-productive with the help of some old headphone sets. Here is how I organize my headphones and how they work for me.

Why I Included Headphones into Writers Workshop

I have found that making headphones available regularly to my students has been beneficial.

It started because I knew I was going to have a student who would use noise cancelling headphones regularly and I wanted headphones to feel “regular” in our room.

I also wanted to give my students who enjoy quiet times a mini-escape while they work.

Writers Workshop Tip: Headphones Help Them Concentrate

I didn’t know how powerful they were going to be. I had one student who regularly asked for them even when it wasn’t writing time but independent work time.

While they do little to block out noise when compared to the occupational-therapy version, they did work for many students.

How I Included Headphones into Writers Workshop

I simply let students know the purpose of them and modeled using them when I was doing a write-aloud. It really was that simple. I created a hanging space for them on a wall in the classroom.

We even use an old pencil sharpener fixture to hang a pair. (Because that’s how I roll)

KindergartenWorks: Writers Workshop Tip: Headphones Help Them Concentrate

The blue hooks pictured above came from the Dollar Tree. I should add them to my list of things worth purchasing from the dollar tree!

Tips for Headphones During Writing Time

I think that you should have a plan in place for when multiple students want to use them and you don’t have enough.

You have to decide for yourself and your classroom what that looks like for you. This plan should cover whether you have them available for only during writers workshop or for the entire day.

Just as with anything, I most often approached it with “sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t” philosophy since I am big on recognizing that sometimes life ‘appears’ unfair.

‘Cuz let’s be real, when you’re 5 and you don’t get your way… most things feel unfair.

KindergartenWorks: Writers Workshop Tip: Headphones Help Them Concentrate

I eventually began to let students use the headphones anytime throughout the day (except whole group lessons but that never seemed to be an option they considered).

But I only let them use headphones anytime of the day once I felt comfortable with them and the new procedures we had set up for using them. Often students felt they just needed them even for a few minutes before passing them onto someone else or returning them to their hooks.

How to Make Headphones for the Classroom

Here are some quick ways to get headphones for your class. I took headphones that no longer worked from our classroom stash and also made a deal with our computer lab tech to save some for me.

On the old headphones, I simply cut the cord with scissors to keep just the band with ear pieces. You can easily do that with the next set that goes bad.

I also earned a “whisper phone” from my points with scholastic book orders. This whisper phone is the one I model specifically for using to hear the sounds when writing and reading.

Writers workshop tip - whisper phones and old headphones for kindergarten

The key to making your own headphone sets is to pick ones that muffle sounds (classroom noise to a more ambient sound level) or funnel sound (like your own kinders’ voice) when they are trying to sound out words on their own.

I don’t recommend hand-held devices (like the ones I use in the detective center) during writing time since they really need both hands free for writing and stabilizing their paper.

More Options

I found these affiliate headphones and whisper phone options on Amazon so you can see more options if you don’t want to make your own or have banked points like I did.

Now – are you ready to help those writers build independence? Check out how to teach kids how to sound out words without you during writing time.

Teaching Kindergartners How to Sound Out Words Without You

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More Kindergarten Tips

Use old pairs of headphones in kindergarten writing time to help focus

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