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Icons 1423866152 tools listening Listening

Listen. What do you hear? Can you listen inside of your body? Can you hear sounds in the room where you are? Can you hear anything outside? Can you tell the weather by listening? Close your eyes and ‘open your ears’. You will be surprised at what you become aware of in terms of vibrations, resonations and sound. Hold your breath and REALLY LISTEN. More to come!

Activity 1 – Listening to silence

What does silence sound like? How do we listen to silence? Visit the Exploratorium’s Listening Tools. See how isolating different sounds allows for better listening. If all of the sounds are removed, what does it feel like? The silence of sound is quite beautiful. Take a look at Invisible Places. It opens up the possibility of ‘listening’ to the sounds that are inaudible to the human ear. These are earth’s languages. Make a horizontal line that shows decibel and frequencies of sounds inaudible to human ears. Make an ellipse that shows the range of the human ear. Mark what we cannot hear! Find earth’s invisible languages!

Activity 2 – Listening to nature

Can you hear nature? Nature sometimes take very quiet listening. Listen for the smallest sounds with Exploratorium’s Listen to Nature Activities.Listen for air movement. Listen for the rustle of plants. Can you hear any insects? Are there animals talking? See how sounds of air, earth, insects, plants and animals all come together to create a quiet symphony. Make a drawing of a nature listening site. Label the sounds you hear and then try to guess what is making that sound.

Activity 3 – Listening to water

Water splashes and gurgles and drops and pours. It is lovely and refreshing to hear. Some scientists and artists listen to the water. Take a look at River Listening. the work of artist Dr. Leah Barclay. She records underwater sounds of rivers in different cities in the world. Take a look at some of the hydrophonic equipment Dr. Barclay uses to listen. Listen to the sounds of different rivers. What do you think these sounds can tell us? Take one week and listen to as many types of water as possible. Create a word poster of all of the sounds you hear and that you imagine.

Activity 4 – Listening to each other

We talk, and then we listen. Listening is a key skill of curiosity and concentration that helps others want to talk to us. Listening requires attention and focus. It helps to look at the person as they are talking. Maintain eye contact. Remember the person you are listening to is not you. If you are close, you can even watch their facial expression and movement of their mouth so as to catch clearly what they are feeling and the exact words that they are saying. Listening requires using conscious and unconscious observations. Follow their body language. Listening requires that we allow time to take in what is being said and to ‘digest it’. Being a good listener is important in most interactions with other people. Reflect on your listening practice. Is it attentive? Are you focused or is your mind wandering? Are you looking closely? What facial expressions do you see? What emotions do you register? Good listening builds empathy between you and your friends!

Activity 5 – Listening strategically

Strategic listening is hyper focused. It means that your attention is one hundred percent on a person talking or the sound of an environment. It means highly tuning your perception to minimize distractions. You will need to use energy to close off external distractions. You will also need to concentrate on closing down internal distractions like random thoughts, etc. Strategic listening synthesizes what is being said. Rather than memorizing every word, summarize key points and positions of a person. Taking notes can help listening and memory skills. Take a look at Visual Note-Taking and Practice listening and recording. Listening is a skill of engagement that develops the skill of memory as well! Listen and record your teacher presenting new subject material. See what you hear and what you record!

Activity 6 – selective listening

Selective listening means that sometimes we have to ‘tune out’ certain noises to be a better listener. If you look at the Sound Journey Activity 4, it asks you to listen to the all of the sounds in the room. Inside listening requires selective listening to tune out background noise. Background noise might be music leaking in, or wind blowing on the windows. It might be the hum of machines that heat and cool the air. It might be sounds of appliances. In an auditorium, it might be the sounds of people shuffling their feet, or the programs or sneezing and coughing. Your ear and mind are amazing in that they can turn off certain sounds to better focus on others. Make a list of all of the sounds in your classroom. Put a line through the ones that you select not to hear. Put a star beside the ones that are important!

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