Our school also has a strict "no i-pods during the school day" rule.
Actually, when I first started teaching at this school it was a strict
"no walkmans during the school day" rule. ;-)
Despite that, years ago I went to our headmaster, pleaded my case, and
students were given the opportunity to use them, on a conditional
basis. Most kids did great, but a few didn't (Walkmans started
turning up in other classes after they were allowed in my class...),
and the privilege was lost across the board.
It really WAS very successful in my class and wasn't distracting.
Kids came in, turned their music on, were quiet and WORKED the whole
time. I really saw an increase in productivity.
Hmm... so yeah, maybe I SHOULD revisit this issue with the powers that
be.... We have a new headmaster this year (same director of
academics, though, and he was part of the original veto) but I'd like
to try it again.