I have been playing around a little with John Johnston’s Five Sound Stories, adapted from Alan Levine’s Five Card Stories (itself a derivative of a well-known game). It occurred to me that people (children mostly, perhaps) can get quite creative with sounds, as with pictures.
You, of course, need a good bank of sounds to begin with, as you do with any material. Freesounds have a number of good free sounds you can use, but some of them are not so interesting. (I need to start uploading some of mine then)
And coming up with a suitable story is a little harder than I originally thought.
Here is an example: (http://johnjohnston.info/5sounds/share.php?i=8)
What I’m interested in is of a series of activities that could be suitable for a range of children. I’ve thought of the following ones:
1. Learning to read. Age group around 5-6 years old.
Teacher selects 5 sounds, e.g. 5 animals. Kids are first asked to identify animals (whole class) then teacher writes short story involving all 5 animals, leaving some letters out. e.g. A ti-er used to live on the savannah…. etc. Kids are arranged in groups and asked to write missing letters on a piece of paper. Then five kids are asked to choose 5 new animals and the whole class creates a new short story. Teacher writes it down leaving letters learned this week out.
2. Mastering reading. Age group around 7-8 years.
Similar activity to the one above, but instead of one computer only used by teacher, each group of kids have a tablet this time. Now the teacher should demonstrate first with an example. Each group of 3 types 5 words accurately so that they are recognised by database. (Considerations: exercise will get noisy!) and swaps their 5 sounds with another group. So each now writes a story based on another group’s choice of sounds. Teacher circulates and helps with spelling.
3. Learning a new language. Age groups: children and adults.
Not sure about teenagers.Similar to exercise above. The purpose still to master spelling but in a foreign language. (Considerations: database needs to handle foreign words… not the case at the moment, I believe)
4. School visit to the zoo, or a specific museum. Age group: 11-13 years old.
If the zoo or museum has tablets available to group visits then each group of 4 kids could be given a tablet, and be asked to sit down and come up with 5 words that are suitable for the situation. For instance if you have just learned about meercats’ way of life, a group could choose 1. meercat 2.society 3. desert 4. danger 5. nursery.
Then each group would have to explain why they chose these words in their story. So this activity is not so much about creative writing as it is about showing how you understand the animal (or other museum artifact) you have observed.
Considerations: it may not be practical to do this in groups or 4s, pair work would be a lot easier to handle, if enough devices at disposal.
The exercise could be a nice way to break the visit up, getting kids to sit down and think, while still enjoying hearing sounds found by the database.