Halloween Soundscapes

Grades 4-6




Objective:  Students will learn what a soundscape is and how sounds are vital to learning.


            Since it was Halloween, I thought a soundscape of a spooky experience and atmosphere would be meaningful and fun.  It could also set us up for group projects in my reading class as well.

First I had students independently list any spooky or scary sound that they could think of.  I then, had them talk about it as a group.  We then listed various scary sounds on the board.  We then discussed how it would be possible to create these sounds.

            What was really interesting was the creativity of ideas they came up with.  Many wanted to keep it to a human noise, where others realized that things in the classroom like paper could be used for an effective sound.

After we talked about the various sounds, each group chose ten sounds they particularly liked and thought they could produce best.  They were give fifteen minutes to work on the sounds they had chosen.  I had many different tools, instruments, devises, paper, found sound objects etc… 

They were so excited as they went through these and especially proud when they found a sound that matched something close to what they wanted. 

After some time spent practicing, we then got together and decided which team would go first, second, etc….  They also created symbols like we did in the music class, and it worked out nicely. 

The product was very successful.  It reminded me of the spooky soundscape that my group did in the soundscape group project.  Even though it wasn’t quite like ours; a lot of the sounds were similar.  They had so much fun doing it.  They then wanted to perform it for the other sixth grade class in which we did.  The other sixth graders really enjoyed it and said that they actually were scared! 

About a week later, I had them to team soundscapes where they could choose their environmental surroundings.  They had no difficulty with this.  It was nice was to see how many students were on task and working together.  I did not have one student not participating.  They were so into the lesson that I was able to sit back and relax despite the noise.

These short lessons only helped me to set up the next lesson.  I used this soundscape as a way to help emphasize setting.  I also began to use it with all of the stories and poems we read, especially at Camp. 

As we were at Camp Waskowitz, I did a few lessons during our class meetings.  I used the short stories, “The Origin of Mount Si and the Forests, by Ella E. Clark and “Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen.  Now that they were comfortable with creating sounds, they were able to narrate the story and add effective sounds to the stories.

            As I read the stories aloud, I had students mark with a pencil places they thought a sound could be added.  We then discussed it as a class and gave out specific parts.  Every person was then assigned a role.  At the end, we performed it  together.  They love the stories and had a blast creating the sounds.  I have included the short stories that we used at camp.



Making an effort to increase student learning by integrating  music will help children gain meaningful context to their lives.