student interprets by developing a personal interpretation of the work
The student rehearses, adjusts, and refines through evaluation and problem solving
student uses listening and observation skills to gain understanding.
student uses communication strategies and skills to work effectively
student writes in a variety of forms for different audiences and
Write individual poetry based on the “symphony”
Use the sound of
the playground to write a group “symphony”.
found or ready made
Students had previous experience in creating sound patterns and
assigning symbols to sounds, when, in another activity, we created a
pattern of sound with objects just in and around our desks, then
assigning symbols to those sounds to create a kind of musical score.
This pervious experience made the following activities much easier.
Before lunch, ask
students to take note of the different sounds they hear while at recess
and be prepared to write about them in their journals.
After lunch (or
whenever the assignment is given), ask students to write about those
sounds. This is the only
direction given. Students
asked if they could draw a picture to go with the descriptions, which
easily led to the next step.
Students were asked
to create symbols to go with the sounds their heard.
In this case of someone hearing an airplane, the needed to assign
a symbol that was easier and quicker to draw than an airplane.
Students were then
asked to select sounds from their journals they wanted to turn into a
one minute presentation (we called it a symphony). They could use anything around them to help reproduce those
sounds (the found sound instrument).
I did not introduce the ready made instruments until they had
been working a while so they would be forced to think more about the
sound than the novelty and play factor of the instrument.
presented their compositions to the class. In doing presentations, they
soon discovered that to make two or more sounds at once, they needed to
use more than one part of the body. For instance, not all sounds could
be reproduced with only hands, or only the feet, etc.
They needed to involve all parts if they wanted more than one
sound at once. This was
quite a feat of coordination which called on some kinesthetic
Students were then
placed in groups of four and asked to combine their sounds into a group
symphony. Here is where the
symbols they assigned to their sounds came in handy. Each student contributed sounds to the group using the
symbols they had pre-selected, creating a sound score to then be
presented to the class. I told them they could tell a story, write a
collection of sounds, whatever they wanted as a group.
They needed to draw their symphony as it was to be played. I
encouraged to overlap sounds, and therefore overlap symbols, to make two
sounds at once. I wanted
them to avoid just a linear progression of sounds but to experiment with
rhythm, tempo, etc. We quickly reviewed how notes played at the same
time appear in a score.
their symphonies to the class.
Groups used the title of their symphonies to create an acrostic
poem. They were asked to do
more than assign a sound to the acrostic, but to try to relate the flow
of their score to the letters in the title, telling a story or extending
the sounds with further description.
The poetry was displayed along with the sound score, i.e.
out to play
to be released at last
I play basketball with you?
Groups or individuals write a brief radio type play to accompany
their sound score. I used a recent short piece from NPR radio that I
downloaded and played for the children right in class.
This NPR series is called Sound
Making an effort to increase student learning by integrating music will help children gain meaningful context to their lives.