In the Classroom: The Rainbows
A sound study
Rainbow teachers were confident that a sound study would engage the Rainbows since they amuse us with sounds that they themselves create as they play.
We noticed they show awareness of the sounds of our PIC neighborhood and the sounds we hear from the preschool classroom above us. The Rainbows ask, "What’s that sound?” and the teachers guide a discussion of what we thought the sounds might be.
Books consistently support thoughts and ideas of our studies. We paired our neighborhood walks with our bi-weekly trip to the 40th street library, and books that Simon’s mom contributes to our classroom monthly. This gave us a wonderful literary start.
The Rainbows especially enjoyed the rhymes, instruments, and colorful, contrasting illustrations in the book Bring on That Beat by Rachel Isadora. Another favorite that we have repeatedly read during this study was The Busiest Street in Town by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Sarah McMenemy. This book highlights the transforming sounds of a neighborhood that connected friends and families to each other.
Experiencing and exploring sounds turned us into scientists as we experimented with sounds from our heads to our toes. Rainbows blinked their eyes, they wiggled their toes, as we tried to make sounds.
We questioned the sound that our hair makes as it grows. “That doesn’t make a sound!” they first puzzled. We explored silent sounds that may come from gestures, facial expressions, and things that are void of sounds entirely. Our scientist Rainbows concluded: “that’s a quiet sound.”
Teachers could assess what children were learning by the demonstrations of sounds they could make with their own bodies. Anecdotes from parents about children’s conversations at home also gave us a sense that they were connecting their exploration of sound in ways that were meaningful.
We have especially enjoyed collaborating with preschool teacher and vocalist Kia Knight. Rainbows ask and seek her out on the playground as they actively engage in drumming, jumping and dancing. Recently they sampled sounds from a drum pad. Some Rainbows chose to use their fingers on the pads and others gently used traditional drum sticks.
Teachers and children have thoroughly enjoyed our study of sounds. We are thankful to our After school for lending us a keyboard, various instruments, and types of drums. We are also thankful to our parents for sharing their Rainbows' experiences.