Musically Montessori:#4 Listening Games Galore!

LET'S PLAY LOTS OF MONTESSORI STYLE MUSIC GAMES THAT SHARPEN CHILDREN'S LISTENING SKILLS AND ENHANCE THEIR ACADEMIC LEARNING, TOO! 

***©Carolyn Lucento 2015. You are warmly welcome to use any of the ideas I have posted here, however, the content & photos are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without my permission.

This is the fourth article in my series: "Musically Montessori, A Sequential Curriculum for Everyday Music." You can read the 3 previous articles here's #1 and here's #2 and here's #3.



Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club 


Listening Games for Circle Time

In all early childhood environments we, as teachers, spend lots of time planning activities for children to develop listening skills. I love the one pictured above: simply pass a large shell around the circle and allow each child to listen to the sound of the shell. (It's like the ocean!)

In the Montessori environment there is the wonderful "Silence Game" developed by Montessori when she observed the children's fascination with silence in the first Casa dei Bambini in Rome. 
Here is Dr. Montessori's explanation from her book, The Secret of Childhood.

"One day I entered the classroom holding in my arms a four-month-old baby girl that I had taken from her mother in the courtyard...She was so still that her silence impressed me greatly and I wanted the children to share my feelings. 'She is not making a sound,' I told them. And jokingly I added, 'None of you could do so well.' To my great surprise I saw that the children were looking at my lips and to be feeling keenly what I was saying. 'Notice,' I continued, 'how soft her breath is. None of you could breath as silently as she.' Surprised and motionless, the children began to hold their breath. At that moment there was an impressive silence."

 I have found that experience with "listening" games are  good preparation for children to succeed at the classic "Silence Game" in Montessori. Here, I've have written about a few!


LESSON TITLE: “What’s That Sound?”


FEATURED SKILLS TO DEVELOP:
  • Concentration
  • Auditory Discrimination
  • Understanding how to sit very still & listen (indirect preparation for the Montessori “Silence Game”) 
MATERIALS NEEDED: 
  • Open space for movement
  • A collection of ordinary & familiar objects that make sounds, such as: 
         1. keys on a key chain (for shaking), 
         2. a hair comb (running fingers along the edge will
             make a sound), 
         3. a writing pen that you click to make it write, 
         4. a pair of blunt children’s scissors (the cutting 
             motion makes a sound), 
         5. a coin purse filled with coins (shake it), 
         6. a salt shaker with a closable lid half filled with salt 
            (shake it), 
         7. a small book (turning the pages will make a little
            rustling sound).
  • Basket to hold the objects

PROCEDURE:
1. PREPARE: Before the children arrive, place the objects in the basket. 

2. EXPLANATION: The idea is to have the children close their eyes while you make a sound with one of the objects, then the children tell you which object it was. OR, you can also hold the object behind your back (out of the children’s sight) and make the sound that way.

3. MODEL: I like to model to the children how to prepare their ears for listening and also how to close their eyes and NOT peek!

4. SAY: “Let’s get our ears ready for a listening game. Gently rub your ears along the edges like you are giving them a little massage…Now, I’m going to make sounds with these objects in this basket while you keep your eyes closed so you can’t see which object I am making a sound with.” At this point, I do these motions with the children. 

5. REQUEST: Then, I ask that everyone get very quiet so that they can hear the sounds. 

6. SHOW: Take one of the objects out of the basket (ex: keys) and give the children the name of the object. 
           I usually ask them to repeat the name after I say it. 
           Then I tell them to listen carefully as I make a sound by shaking the keys. 
           I continue this process with each of the objects in the basket.
           Next, I introduce the “What’s That Sound?” Game
           You can say something like this: “Now it’s time for the ‘What’s That Sound Game.’  You all are going to close your eyes and I am going to pick one of the objects out of  the basket and  make a sound with it. Then, you are going to tell me which object you heard.”
           Ask the children to all close their eyes (No peeking!) and then take one of the objects from the basket and make its sound.
           The children will excitedly say the name of the object that they heard!
           Continue this little process with each of the other objects in the basket. 

7. INVITE: After my little presentation, I invite a child to come up and make a sound with one of the objects while the rest of us keep our eyes closed and listen. You can continue to have each child choose an object from the basket and make the sound while everyone else closes their eyes, listens, and then tells which object they heard. 

8. SHELF WORK: The little basket can be placed on the Music/ Movement Shelf for children to play the “What’s That Sound Game” during work time or free choice time. This work is not really an individual work for one child, but involves 2 or more “players” in the game. However, one child can explore by simply making the sounds of the objects and listening very carefully.

EXTENSIONS & EMBELLISHMENTS: 
 ~  Play this game using body noises instead of objects (ex: scratching on a pants leg, clearing throat, making a loud sigh, sniffing, clicking the tongue, clapping the hands, patting the thighs, snapping fingers, pretending to “sneeze,” stamping the foot)
 ~  Play a cd of sound effects (ex: Animal sounds, Vehicle sounds, Musical instrument sounds, Various human voices) and have children listen and identify the object making the sound (a great cd is “Sound Bingo” available from Kindermusik International)
 ~ Teach the Song, “What’s That Sound” to sing before each object’s sound is made:
(to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle”)
What’s that sound
What’s that sound
Close your eyes and listen now! 


LESSON TITLE: “Ringer, Ringer, Where are You?”

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

FEATURED SKILLS TO DEVELOP:
  • Concentration
  • Auditory Discrimination
  • Understanding how to sit very still & listen (indirect preparation for the Montessori “Silence Game”) 
MATERIALS NEEDED: 
  • Open space for movement
  • A small bell with a handle
  • Another adult to assist the teacher 
PROCEDURE:


1. PREPARE: Make sure the children are sitting close enough in a continuous circle formation so that the bell can be passed along from child to child.

2. EXPLANATION: The idea is that one child (who is designated as the “seeker”) will be in an area out of sight of the circle group, then the teacher will start by having the children pass the bell around the circle while singing: “Ringer, ringer, where are you?” repeating the song 4 times  (Tune: “Rain, rain, go away”). At the end of the song, the bell stops being passed and that child (the “ringer”) holds the bell behind his/her back. Then the other children all put their hands behind their backs, and the child who is “seeker” will return to the circle. The child who is the “ringer” rings the bell  behind the back and the “seeker” guesses who is ringing the bell. After, the “seeker” finds the “ringer” of the bell, the “ringer” of the bell becomes the new “seeker”. Continue for as long as the children are interested.

3. MODEL: I like to model to the children how to place their hands behind their backs. It helps to suggest that they fold their hands together behind their backs. Then, I demonstrate ringing the bell while holding it behind my back. Explain to them that everyone folding their hands behind their backs is an important part of the game.

4. SAY: “Let’s get our ears ready for a listening game, called ‘Ringer, Ringer, Where are you’.  Gently rub your ears along the edges like you are giving them a little massage…Now, let’s practice putting our hands behind our backs. See if you can fold your hands together while they are behind your back. 
Listen, while I ring this bell behind my back. Did you hear it? I’m going to turn around and show you how I am ringing this bell while holding it behind my back. 
In the game, we will pass this bell from person to person around the circle while we sing the song: ‘Ringer, ringer Where are you.’ At the end of the song, the person with the bell is the ‘ringer’ who will ring the bell for the 'seeker' to guess who the ‘ringer’ is. We'll invite the 'seeker' to come back to the circle and listen for the 'ringer' to ring the bell. We must all fold our hands behind our backs so that the ‘seeker’ doesn’t know who the ‘ringer’ is.
We will start with Ms Flower (your adult assistant) being the ‘seeker’. She will leave the circle and go over beyond the corner of the room where she can’t see us at the circle. Then, we will start our passing the bell!” 

5. REQUEST: Then, I ask that the adult assistant be the “seeker”, leave the circle, and go to the designated area out of sight of the circle area. 

6. SHOW: When the “seeker” is out of sight, begin the bell passing and sing the song with the children, stopping at the end of the fourth verse. The child who is holding the bell is designated as the “ringer’. Show the ‘ringer’ how to place the bell behind the back and ring it. Then show the other children to fold their hands behind their backs. Remind them to keep their hands behind their backs and NOT tell the person who is the ‘seeker’ who the ‘ringer’ is! Then, proceed to play the game.

7. INVITE: After the first round of the game when the other adult (“seeker”) guesses who is the “ringer”, then invite the child who was the “ringer” to be the new “seeker.”

8. SHELF WORK: The bell can be placed on a little tray on the Music/ Movement Shelf for a small group of children to play the “Ringer, ringer, Where are you” game during work time or free choice time. This work is not really an individual work for one child, but involves 3 or more “players” in the game. 

EXTENSIONS & EMBELLISHMENTS: 
 ~  Play this game without singing the song, just humming the melody instead.   
 ~  The child who is the “seeker” can use a blindfold instead of leaving the circle while the bell is passed. The blindfold is removed when  the “seeker” is to guess who is the “ringer.”
 ~ The game can be played with the “seeker” wearing a blindfold during the entire game. 
 ~ There can be 2 “seekers” that work as a team to find the “ringer.” 





LESSON TITLE: “Name that Tune!”

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

FEATURED SKILLS TO DEVELOP:
  • Concentration
  • Auditory Discrimination
  • Understanding how to sit very still & listen (indirect preparation for the Montessori “Silence Game”) 
MATERIALS NEEDED: 
  • Open space for movement
  • Optional penny whistle, guitar, ukulele, or Xylophone to play a melody rather than whistling or humming it! (see extensions)

PROCEDURE:
1. PREPARE: Save this game for a time when the children have practiced & learned the songs you plan to whistle.

2. EXPLANATION: The idea is that the teacher whistles (or hums) the first few bars or notes of the melody of a song the children know very well. Then, the children guess what the song is!

3. MODEL: I like to model to the children how to make their bodies very still and to prepare their ears for listening. 

4. SAY: “Let’s get our ears ready for a listening game, called ‘Name That Tune’.  Gently rub your ears along the edges like you are giving them a little massage…Now, I am going to whistle (or hum) the melody of a song we sing in our class sometimes. Then, you all guess what song it is and call out the name of it."

5. REQUEST: Then, I ask the children to get very still and quiet since my whistling (or humming) will not be very loud and I want them all to be able to hear the tune.

6. SHOW: Begin whistling (or humming) the first few notes of the melody…it usually doesn’t take long for the children to guess the name of the song!

7. INVITE: After you have whistled or hummed several different melodies for the children, you can invite a child to hum a melody (or whistle if they choose!) for the others to guess and name the tune.

8. SHELF WORK: You can set up a little basket for the music shelf holding 3 or 4 cards with the names of the most familiar tunes the children have practiced and learned well. I put a picture on each card to give a clue of the name of the song (for the non-readers in the group). Two children play this game: The first child picks out a card, then hums the melody of the song that is represented on the card for the second child to guess the name of the tune. Then, the second child has a turn. You might have to remind the first child not to show the melody card to the other child before they have guessed the name of the tune that is being hummed.

EXTENSIONS & EMBELLISHMENTS: 
 ~  Play the songs on a penny whistle, guitar, ukulele, autoharp, or Xylophone instead of whistling or humming.  
 ~  Play instrumental recordings of the familiar songs in your class music repertoire and have the children name the tune from listening to the recording.



After having experiences with group listening games, the children are ready for the wonderful and challenging "Silence Game"! Watch for this and more in the next post in this series! You can have that delivered to your inbox by signing up here: Subscribe Here.

I am so excited to have this post included in the Montessori Monday Link-up at this link: Living Montessori Now Monday Link up.

Thank you very much for visiting my blog and I hope you have found something useful to introduce to your group. I love to hear your ideas, so please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the section below!

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2 comments :

  1. This is wonderful Carolyn. Nicely written and easy to follow. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy to hear from you and glad that you got something from this article! I love your site and the activities/ materials that you write about!

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