Before man arrived on earth, the world was probably a
much quieter place. The skies were home to the sound of the
wind, thunder, rain, storms, snow, insects and birds.
With man came other noises, the world is now busier and
noisier than it has ever been.
Over the last hundred years, sirens, explosions, machinery,
cars, trains, ships, traffic, people, engines, construction sites,
alarms, mobile phones, televisions, the internet etc have
added to human noise pollution.
We need to slow down and to quieten,
in order to grow,
To use sound and imagination to encourage children to slow down and pay attention to their surroundings.
60 mins, preferably at the end of the school day.
Appropriate for all class levels
-Science: This exercise could be linked to studies of the native fauna and flora.
-S.P.H.E: this exercise fosters children’s well-being.
Audio player. Digital recorder or smartphone. Optional: To record and edit you will need a computer with audio editing software.
- You can use the suggested script or you can create one or find a suitable one online. Research and choose the one which you think best suits your class.
- It would be useful to create your own collection of nature recordings.
Warm-up and Introduction: 20 minutes
- Ask students which their favourite natural sounds are (water running down a stream, wind brushing a field of corn, blackbird singing, etc.). Encourage them to mimic such sounds. Do this for 5 minutes.
- Inform pupils that their work is done for the day.
- Invite the class to sit straight in their seats, be still, close their eyes and breathe.
- Be patient. After initial giddiness, children will respond well to calm instruction.
- Ask them to listen to their own breathing. To become aware of the sounds around them.
- Guide them through a simple journey – They walk through the forest listening to the birds around them, the sky is blue up above. They come to an opening in the forest. Here they find a beautiful oak. It is very tall. Ask them to look up past its canopy. A white cloud is high above the tree. Ask children to focus on this cloud. They can imagine how soft it could be. Remind them to breathe deeply and slowly and imagine they are floating on this cloud. Encourage them to take a journey on the cloud, to go wherever they would like to go – anywhere in the world, or perhaps to outer space. Allow them imagine this for some minutes, then gently invite them to come back on the cloud and sit in the forest. Ask them to focus on the sounds of the leaves, then on the sounds around them. Ask them to breathe in slowly and when they are ready, ask them to open their eyes.
After children have opened their eyes, ask them if they enjoyed this exercise. Wait and listen for their comments and encourage dialogue. Did anyone go to space? What did they see? Was there anything about this imaginary journey they would like to change?
Development: 30 minutes
- Using the nature sounds that students and teacher prefer, ask pupils to create an imaginary journey for your class. Decide on a place you would all like to go to in your imagination: ask each pupil to write or draw their ideas in their sketchbook. Ask them to work quietly.
- When they are ready, invite them to share their suggestions one person at a time. Your class can vote on the imagined place you will all be travelling to.
- Write ideas on the board and together with the children write a script for the imaginary journey that they would like to take part in and share with others. For this they have to include at least one colour - perhaps it appears in the form of a flower, a fruit, a mountain, a balloon, the sea etc. Ask
them what sounds they would include. Decide on a theme or place and create your scripts from there.
Suggested ambient sounds:
Waves, water flowing, seaside sounds. If school has instruments, a simple loop of three major chords played on keyboard using ambient synth setting, to be played at 63 bpm could be added.
- Once the group has decided on the story, recite the imaginary journey in a slow and clear voice. Record it on phone or digital recorder. Edit using GarageBand or free sound editing software such as Audacity. These pieces of software are easy to use.
Conclusion: 10 mins
Encourage children to talk about how they felt first listening to a story and then creating one themselves.
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