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June 01, 2010

Sound Gardens

Sound Kids love to be LOUD! One universal truth about the pre-k classroom is that no matter how loud a teacher can tolerate sound, children can get louder. During this time of year, pre-k kids tend to pump the volume even more, whether it’s in class or at home. Maybe it is the new blooms or the nice weather, but for some reason, in locales across the country, students seem to forget the “inside” rules. And these rules, for example using your “inside voice” or your inside feet, seem to disappear entirely when you pull out instruments.

And, that is my point. No one − teachers or students − can be heard in a class full of children with instruments you shake, bang, and clang. Maybe we should throw those instruments out the window and let them bang on pots, pans, buckets, and trash cans outside. Recently, a blog titled “Let the Children Play,” by a pre-k teacher in rural Australia caught my attention. In her recent post, Jenny highlighted several outdoor music projects created in pre-k classrooms. I especially enjoyed the pictures of the music tree from the Filth Wizardry blog and the sound garden from Teacher Tom’s blog. Teacher Tom offers a great example of play-based learning through his regular posts. His reflection on his practice is really enlightening to read.

So teachers, spend your well-deserved summer vacation thinking this: When is it okay for kids to get loud? How can I raise the volume in their learning? What might happen if the opportunity to get loud became incorporated with a garden, a science project, or an outdoor gross motor play space? Please let us know what you are doing in your classrooms. We would love to hear from you.

Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_w1BrWfOP08A/S-Ecj62_ihI/AAAAAAAACTI/ZlzP8TjtRe8/s1600/DSC_0043.JPG


I actually agree and disagree with is post. I love for my students to have "periods" where they can be loud and have fun doing it, but I do not like the instruments, and I do not incorporate them into my lesson plans often. I do think they need periods in which they are able to be loud. It gives them a break from the normalcy that sometimes can turn to boredom, and they are more inclined to listen attentively when you want them to, knowing that they have the option to choose "loud play" once the learning time is complete. One of things that I incorporate that my students love, love, love, is Cha-Cha Sliding. It uses music and movement, they can be loud and jump around, and it uses gross motor body skills, to follow the directions in the song. It is a "Friday" treat that we rotate with others and it is a favorite.

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