Friday, April 25, 2014

communication: a listening exercise + visible thinking (10x2)

We're just beginning our new Unit of Inquiry, Communication Systems.
As a grade level team, we've decided to put a big emphasis on the five semiotic systems - linguistic, auditory, visual, spatial, and gestural - along with a look at cultural expression.
Rather than explicitly teaching each one, I'm going to be introducing my students to each system by immersing them in it to help them better understand what these big ideas mean.

First up, the auditory system, all about music and sound effects.
A great streaming website for this activity is The Silk Road Project:
If you click Music & Artists, then Listen to Music, you can access a variety of interesting music from around the world.

As a class we listened to one song. 
I stopped the playback to ask a few questions:
  1. How does the piece make you feel?
  2. What images come to mind?
  3. Where in the world might this music be from? What makes you say that?
Then we listened again with the questions in mind and discussed afterward.

For the visible thinking routine, I passed out our Inquiry books and had the kids write the title 10x2.
I put on a new song and again, we just listened.
Before we listened a second time, I explained the 10x2 routine: basically the kids try to write down ten words or phrases that come to mind while listening. (This is then repeated after another listen; the x2.)
We had such rich discussion afterward.
When I asked them what they thought the communication system might be all about, they were pretty much bang on: music, singing, cultural songs to communicate, expressing something without words, listening, tune.

The kids really enjoyed this listening exercise!

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