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    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      What was the most impactful thing about creating your sound map? How might you encourage the children you teach to use their senses to observe the natural world more fully? Share your thoughts in the comment box below, and add an image of your sound map by clicking the small “image” icon under the comment box.
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    • Anna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      akleinsorge
      The most impactful thing about creating my sound map was sitting still with my eyes closed, and honestly not bringing anything outside me except for my pen and notebook.  We so rarely sit and 'don't do anything' for such a long time it's habit for us to fiddle with things and try to distract ourselves.  I would ask students to leave all devices inside and only bring something to write with and something to write on.   I would encourage them to close their eyes for at least part of the time and get past the noises they know are there, to the less obvious ones.
    • Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Banjojanie
      I decided to do my sound map at night. We live on a wetland. Our RV is parked conveniently near the wetland edge. I lay on the bed with the windows open to avoid staying outside and hearing the sound of mosquitoes chewing on me! Sound Map
      • Anna
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        akleinsorge
        I love the idea of doing the sound map at night!  It would make it harder to see, and you'd be more reliant on your ears.  Also, there's a host of different sounds at night than during the day.  Plus, it sounds like your setting would be pretty perfect to listen to nature any time of day!
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      MIFRANKO88
      IMG_7087 I live in the city so my sound map has a lot of human produced noises. Sometimes it is heard to hear past the noisiness of the cars, buses, people and air-conditioners. When you do get past these, you can hear some of the natural aspects around you... such as insects buzzing and birds chirping from every direction. I like how with an activity like this you can instruct your students to just be present. Even though we are listening, do not focus too intently on one direction of one sound. When we are able to do this, I feel as if I can hear more. It takes the ability to dismiss or fixate on a noise you think of as a "distraction".
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      Curious621
      I thought I had already posted this but oops, I did not!  I thought it was interesting to focus only on sounds.  I think it would be interesting to do 10 minutes on sound and then 10 minutes on vision.  Maybe smell too but not for long.  This would be great for introducing observation as part of the scientific method. cornellsoundmap
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      Pam Hosimer
      I had never made a sound map before, or even heard of this! I went out in my backyard, sat in a comfortable chair, closed my eyes, and listened. It was the noisiest cacophony of sound! I could not believe how noisy it was – layer upon layer of sounds! There were deafening cicadas buzzing extremely loud, all kinds of birds chirping and singing (I’m new to birding so I was not able to identify any of the birds by their song or sounds), cars on a local road nearby that were louder than I had ever noticed with one even honking, a dog barking, a person shouting, my fountain splashing, air conditioner fans running – all simultaneously. It was amazing! I know my students would enjoy doing this. And what is nice is that this is an activity that can be done anywhere. It can be done at school or at home this fall if students are still virtually learning. During the pandemic I have been learning more about being mindful and in the moment. This activity ties into that practice. It is an easy way to get students to be more mindful and aware of the world all around them by focusing on one sense – hearing!Sound Map - Pam Hosimer
    • David Lockett
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      DavidLockett
      Sound maps are a sensory activity designed to help people connect with nature. We are located around a large lake that provides ample opportunities for outdoor studies. By taking the emphasis off the visual, and tuning students into the sounds around them, they have proved effective with all the groups we have used them with thus far.         IMG_5802
    • Jessica
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      jmckenna
      For both adults and children in our fast paced society it can be difficult to just be still. This activity forced me to be still and to focus on sound. At first it was difficult to hear anything but my neighbors lawn mower but after a few minutes I was able to isolate and block out that sound and hear more. I was able to hear tree branches swaying, leaves brushing against one another, birds chirping and the gentle hum of an idling car in the driveway of a neighbors home. I enjoyed this activity and think it would be interesting to do with children in various places so they could compare their sound maps.
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      CoachGoody17
      In the past, I have also completed an activity much like the Lemon activity, using sticks and nature journaling. I love the lemon or clementine idea because this better emphasizes the need to make careful observations, measurements, etc... as oftentimes, there are many distinguishing factors with sticks.  I can easily incorporate this into my first lesson of the year.
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      CoachGoody17
      I have done sound maps before and with my students, however today I am in an urban setting where the man-made sounds are taking over. I am not used to this type of environment but I felt it interesting that I actually had to close my eyes and "tune into" the sounds I was hearing.  It wasn't until I did that, that I was able to hear the sounds of the cicadas over the sounds of the generator or cars around me. Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 9.53.52 AM
      • Jessica
        Participant
        Chirps: 27
        jmckenna
        I had a very similar experience. It took me a little while to isolate the sounds and hear nature over the man made sounds.
    • laurie
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Vagabondgirl
      IMG_5494Sound map with compass rose and informal legend. Front stoop of my apartment building was my vantage point. Personal impact: Sad realization that there is a lot of construction noise in my small town which drowns out the sounds of nature. Happy realization that there is some wonderful native bird species that are making their homes in the centre of the city and grateful for the sound buffer created by the maples and locust trees that surround my home. Professional impact: Sound mapping provides a challenge for my students, all of whom are Deaf or hard-of-hearing. My first thought was that this activity is not accessible to my students but I revisited my bias and determined that I would like to introduce my students to sound mapping in the fall to create at least one sound map per season during the 2020-2021 school year. This would be done as a fully guided group project on a large piece of chart paper. Some students will hear many more sounds that others. Students would also be encouraged to look for movement within the environment and predict if it makes sounds and what type of sound it would make. We would watch for animal mouths/beaks opening and shutting. Are the animals making sounds? or just breathing? or eating? how do we know? If the animals are making sounds, why? What are they trying to communicate? In class extension would take place by watching videos of the animals we observe on our school ground. We would slow the video down to carefully watch the mouth/beak movement and patterns. We could also watch sound waves through the app "Spectrum View" on our iPads when in the field.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      Lingibbs63
      sound map I am continually impressed by the variety of sounds in my backyard at any given time. This time I did not hear the high pitched cack-cack-cack of the neighborhood sharp-shinned hawk, but much more variety of mechanical sounds than usually heard within 10 minutes. Mowers, traffic and helicopters, oh my! I heard bird activity primarily close by due to the tree cover and my neighbor's well-stocked bird feeders :D. Always a cardinal and house wren singing. The dogs barked before the sudden siren, which I found interesting. The combination of all of these sounds together, including my husband's voice on the phone through the open window of our house and the sound of the breeze through the trees just felt like a very rounded representation of home to me.  I have used sound mapping exercises a lot during outings with families or groups. It helps calm everyone down to focus on the world outside themselves and all around them. I often will stop and do a one-minute 'sounds around' inventory at different points on a walk, in different types of habitats, so we can discuss the similarities and differences between stops.
    • Deanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      DeannaW
      I laid in my hammock for 45 minutes and recorded ever natural noise I heard which included 15 different birds, 3 very active squirrels, wind rustling in the leaves above, and 10 chickens that decided to come hangout under the hammock. I tried to identify some of the sounds using Merlin.
      • laurie
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Vagabondgirl
        Identification of sound through phone apps is quite amazing, isn't it. I was also recently made aware of a sound spectrum app to look at the sound waves made by birds (and other sources of sound). It is called Spectrum View and it is quite interesting to see the range of pitch and the complexity of calls in a visual way.
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      Ladyhawk85
      IMG_20200718_212307I have done the Sound Map many times with children. I enjoy engaging in it also. I have never done this activity in my own backyard;  a few of the sounds, I realized later, were daily occurrences at the time I did the activity. One of the activities I have had my students do, I'm sure other people have done also, is sitting back to back. One student finds an object to describe in detail while the other student tries to draw what is described to them. It is great for honing observation skills and enhancing descriptive techniques besides being a lot of fun.
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        Lingibbs63
        I love the extension of having two people back to back communicating! Planning to add as a sensory activity for my walks.
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        Pam Hosimer
        Thanks for sharing the back to back idea! I am going to add that to my list of activities for students to experience the outdoors in a new way and hone their powers of observation.
    • Nikki
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      mswallacexth
      This activity highlights the fact that we tend to ignore a large part of our sensory system. If you make intentional time to listen and observe, you will uncover things that are often ignored.   Crickets, Train, Frogs, cars, owl,  three different insect or small animal noises, movement in the attic (yikes!!)
    • Cara
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      carafern
      Screenshot_20200717-133839_MemoWhile I was doing my sound map, I think the most impactful thing that I noticed was just how if you focus, you can hear wildlife all around the loudest human made noise (lawnmowers!!). I like to encourage children that I work with to listen to wildlife by cupping their hands around their ears, and turning them into "deer ears". Especially for younger children, this helps them focus on what their hearing and which direction it's coming from.
    • Kristen Mae
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      kmaecarpenter
      One of the main lessons we try to teach our program participants is the importance of biodiversity. When we go out into the field, students get disheartened pretty quickly when they do not see any animals or they exclaim that it's not a healthy ecosystem because we aren't seeing any animal biodiversity. At this point I usually sit them down and do a "be silent and listen" exercise for a minute. I ask them to count how many different birds, insects, or other animals they hear. They are almost always amazed to find they hear way more than one animal. I then ask if we heard every single animal that may make use of the area we are in and why. This short exercise seems to open their eyes on how much biodiversity is around them, whether they can see it or not. It reveals itself when you take a moment to stop and listen.   CamScanner 07-16-2020 11.03.21_1
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        Lingibbs63
        I recently read an article about scientists collecting general recordings of different world habitats using AI technology so as to evaluate healthy and impaired systems. I love that you get your students thinking this way about the diversity of sound as an observation technique regarding the whole ecosystem!
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        Pam Hosimer
        Kristen I like how you use this activity to let your students discover biodiversity and disprove their initial assumptions. Powerful! And also a great way for students that may be in a more urban setting to realize “nature” is not absent from their neighborhood either.
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      maroberts64
      I live in an apartment complex, and it is fairly quiet. I mostly heard crows talking to each other, along with a few other birds here and there. A big thing that I noticed happened when the neighbors outside air conditioner unit stopped (ours was also off during the first part of my sound map activity), was how much difference the background noise made to listening to my environment! Which made me think about noise pollution that exists around us every day. with air conditioners not running, I could hear faint sounds of traffic and construction machinery, and birds that were further away. With and without air conditioning, I noticed a couple high flying aircraft flying by, sounds of the lawn maintenance crew around the complex with their various devices, and the noisy crows from all areas. I definitely think having students close their eyes and just record what they are hearing without talking about it during the observation time helps with observation skills. I also like the idea of noting distance (close or far away) of the sounds they hear. I would have students discuss what they heard afterwards, and then follow up with other activities such as observing with smell only, or touch only. soundmap
    • Julia
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      j.hardy
      For me when creating the sound map the larger the image of what made a sound the louder the sound the smaller the image the softer the sound.   The most impactful thing about creating the sound map was that some sounds further away were louder than closer sounds, this being due to whatever made the sound.   To encourage children to use their senses to observe the natural world more fully I would encourage them to not only listen with their eyes closed, but have them think about what the smells are around them, how do they feel (warm, cold, happy, excited, afraid, calm, etc.), and how do things within reach, without getting up, feel to the touch (this would require making sure area free of things like poison oak). Then at the end have students open their eyes and see what things look like in reality compared to what they imaged in their mind with their eyes closed and can journal write or draw the likeness and differences.   20200715_152348
      • Mark
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        maroberts64
        I like your idea of noting how far away sounds are by the size of your pictures! Adding feelings to the mix is interesting, also - there are definitely sounds that freak me out or give me serenity...I don't know it I could classify all sounds, though, in feelings. Great ideas!
    • Alana
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      C.cyaneus
      soundmap
      • Alana
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        C.cyaneus
        I did this activity with my daughter and it was very interesting seeing how we each depicted sounds differently. I was really able to appreciate how closing my eyes helped to focus on the sounds.
    • ej
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      tejer!
      tractor? (v. distant, constant) distant cars (occasional) bullfrog? (v. distant, occasional) leaves rustling leaves rustling leaves rustling                                                                                                                                                             cars insect                                                                                                               driving hitting                                                                                                                       past screen                                                                                                                          (slowing cicadas                                                                                          X                                                                                                        at  trilling toads                                                                                                                          stick                                                    curve) falling leaf skittering along stone walkway I often do a very similar project to the Lemons with oranges or pinecones (actually usually spruce cones) for nature studies. Like the Lemon one, try to get very similar looking ones and have some extras, but I only give vague instructions once they receive it - "look at your cone carefully" for a few minutes. Usually only a few students are able to find theirs - often ones with a distinctive mark but usually a few that were just more carefully observed. This immediately creates a desire for the rest of the students to look at their cone more carefully and we discuss/brainstorm ways before redistributing for a second look (randomly, not trying to give them their original cone back). This is sometimes part of a larger nature studies program that includes plant identification, taxonomy, nature sketching, etc and we return to the concept different ways: using for observational skills to draw more accurately, using to compare/contrast  features often used in identification guides, etc.
      • ej
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        tejer!
        Oops!  The text version of sound map did not retain its format when submitted!!
    • Sylvia
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Sylvia_Qualls
      I have done this activity before and with my students. Today when I went outside my neighbor was chipping branches down the hillside. So that was definitely the most prominent sound in the landscape. Although I live up a hill, I can hear the roadside down below as the cars pass along the road through our little valley. With all the wood chipping noise I wasn't able to hear that well, but I did hear Chestnut-backed Chickadees calling back and forth from several different spots in my yard. There is very little that deters them. To me, they are always the bravest birds. They are not particularly afraid of people. I could hear a pair of hummingbirds doing their scritchy-scratchy scree talk. They were probably Anna's Hummingbirds, as that is who is usually around here and they tend to be very territorial with the feeders. Off toward the barn I could hear the California Jays first with a mild alert call, and then several jays with the general squawk they tend to make. Up in the Acacia's I could hear a Hooded Oriole doing its clicking talk. They are very shy, and tend to hide out in the Acacia's or the Box Elder Trees before swooping down to the feeders I have set up for them. They bring their children, who are less shy, and bring them to feed. It is my first year they have come to my yard, and I have been really excited to see them over the last few months each day. I heard another call, like a to, to, to with a ping pong ball drop, but I don't know who that was. Given my neighbors loud chipper it wasn't the best time for listening, but everyone is busy with projects, and also prepping for fire season. So we have all been working on our trees and landscape to keep our community safe. I observe my yard everyday both from inside and outside the house. It is nice to take time to focus solely on hearing what is in the landscape and developing a keener awareness of what is occurring within just 1 sense field. Kids enjoy this, but it tends to take them a few times to really bring their attention to this activity and how to describe what they are hearing to help them get a sense of how to map this out on paper. IMG-0058 (1)
      • Mark
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        maroberts64
        You are very knowledgeable about what you hear! This would be a great activity for trying to note sounds and try to figure out what birds you are actually hearing. Then start showing birds and their sounds, followed by revisits to the listening activity to see what birds they could identify :)
    • Kathy Nerdy Birdies
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      kbalman
      I wanted to say that I love the lemon activity.  I have used that activity at the start of all my ECO programs since the first time I took this class  many years ago. It is such an amazing activity that gets students to use all if their senses plus it also gets them exploring with science tools.II have scales, tape measures, magnifying glasses, etc available for them to use. The most impactful thing about the sound map was hearing all of the natural sounds, even in an urban area filled with houses. Observation skills are such an important part of the programs I run and we spend a lot of time learning this skill. I notice, I wonder and it reminds me.... are phrases I introduce my students to, not only in my environmental programs, but also my art club, zoo club, etc. One sense that students take for granted is sight. They often just look at something and think they are seeing everything. One thing I have introduced, besides magnifying glasses and/or a digital microscope so they can see smaller details, is a dental mirror. The mirror gets them to look at things a bit differently from different angles and maybe look at parts that are harder to see or obscured. The kids absolutely love this simple, inexpensive tool. I also get students touching things. Loose parts are a large part of our early childhood program. The loose parts allow them to touch and manipulate various natural objects. I have done the sound map before with students and I've also done an activity where they record the sounds using describing words. And I've done it where they draw the sound waves: pitch, frequency, etc. (This is a good one for older students) 20200714_102922
    • Allison
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      allisonmurphy
      I most enjoyed hearing a sound and then figuring out where it was on my map. It was like a spacial exercise or puzzle for my brain. I could hear a bird chirping and try to decide how far away it was. Whenever I'm outside, I usually listen for small sounds around me that help me find creatures, like insects, herps, or birds. But when I did this exercise, I noticed constant sounds farther away that I would normally block out. I also had to make sure that I didn't focus on what I was writing so much that I could miss sounds. This would be a great activity to do with kids and adults to help connect them with the nature around them and to help with multitasking! Sound Map
    • Smriti
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Smriti Safaya
      SS sound map 14 jul 2020 Cornell Lab lesson 2 This time I decided to measure the noise using my Decibel X app on my phone (I use this for other fieldwork around Hong Kong), just to see what the averages and maximums were - it says it is still a quiet street.  I beg to differ with all the construction nearby and the general urban buzz that permeates my space! Once you get in the mode to do this activity, it sometimes is hard to stop after the set amount of time because one's curiosity has been triggered and you want to know: (1) what else is out there?; (2) how frequently do I hear the things I've heard before?; (3) what do I recognize vs. what I don't recognize?; and of course, (4) what is that? and (5) why is the noise happening? When I've done this activity with students before, it has usually been in the country park areas, rather than amongst buildings, but this being Hong Kong, you can often still hear a variety of city noises that bounce up the hillsides, so students still mentioned construction or urban transport noises alongside bird chirps.  I encourage them to consider distance and direction, and to try to represent them on their sketches as accurately as they can.  Certain noises repeat and often in the same area, so I ask them to keep a tally of frequency.  You can end up with quite a lot of data this way, and can be analyzed using some descriptive statistics too (depends on how analytical you want to get)!  Usually it is with eyes closed for the first chunk of time, and then with the eyes open.  Students recognize that it's helpful to start with just "listening" because it reduces the information overload, unlike with "seeing" - where there is lots to distract you.  The listening first exercise helps to focus the second "seeing & listening" part of the exercise and they 'look' for the noise, rather than just look anywhere and everywhere.  When I've done it with younger students (primary and middle school), it hinges on curiosity and questioning; with older students (high school), we layered it with mindfulness and well-being as well. If students are generally in the same area, it is interesting to also consider the similarities and differences in what the students picked up on - a great opportunity to consider consciousness/awareness and how it is linked to what we know.  e.g. some don't 'hear' birds having different songs because they may not recognize these differences based on lack of experience or knowledge about different bird species.  Or, sometimes the habitualization of noise means that some noises are really heard anymore.  There is fascinating research on urban birds that have shown that they've adjusted the pitch of their songs to be higher than the background urban noise just to be heard (U. of HK ecology department research).
      • Nini
        Participant
        Chirps: 32
        Ninich
        You raise some interesting points that I hadn't considered.  First the Decibel X app to measure the depth of the sounds.  I also like how you use this in different ways to work with different ages and include the mindfulness/consciousness/awareness component.  I thought your point about not 'hearing' the different birds was very interesting and this reminds me of how challenging it can be to share the excitement of bird songs with beginners, but how challenging it can be for them to differentiate.  I also was interested to consider the habitualization of sounds.  I walk the same road many days of the week and listen for bird sounds.  I try to keep a mental note of them each morning, but as I proceed through the spring and summer, I think I don't always note the ones I hear, like robins in early spring are so very special, and then I don't always recognize them later on.  Finally, your reference to urban birds and how they have adjusted the pitch of their songs is very interesting.  I wonder if this happens where they are breeding, or if adjustment happens in their non breeding place as well.
    • Edna
      Participant
      Chirps: 26
      wvteacher87
      The most impactful thing about creating my sound map was listening for 10 minutes without doing anything else.  I think students would find this a bit difficult, as well.  We multi-task constantly.  The challenge for me this school year will be to make modifications for the sound map for my hearing impaired student.  I will consult the teacher of hearing impaired to make modifications for this student. Some of the things I heard included leaves rustling in the wind, crickets chirping, a neighbor's air conditioner, traffic on a highway (Rt 50) down the hill, a motorcycle revving his engine, the metal part of the flags and flag poles clanging, and 3 different kinds of birds chirping. This is a great activity.  I have taught a similar activity when I focus on onomatopoeia during my poetry unit.Sound Map  
    • Sara
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      SaraPi
      The space to fully observe, without technology dinging or ringing. I've done this activity a few times, both in trainings I've attended and those I've led. For me I find it helpful to pick a place that's far enough away from very obvious distractions (and temptations) to open your eyes. So, a spot far from a road or gathering - at least for the first time doing a sound map. One of my most memorable maps came from a very relaxing wellness retreat - though you would never know that looking at my map that day. I chose to represent sound intensity with lots of wavy and obnoxious lines, that consumed anything else on the paper - as this was how it felt while I was experiencing all the motor sounds from boats, cars, and planes. I think it's important to guide students through observation, so providing prompts like : - listen for the closest sound - what sound do you hear the loudest, the farthest away -what sound makes you feel happy? This helps children, even adults, focus their attention on the experience and the senses by giving them suggestions of HOW to pay attention. Love this activity combined with a sit spot so the observer can compare changes over time, season, weather, etc and start to explore questions, patterns, trends...
      • Edna
        Participant
        Chirps: 26
        wvteacher87
        I like the prompts for observing.  This is a great idea.  I guess I never thought of distance of sounds and how sounds make us feel.  I plan on incorporating both of these ideas when I do sound maps in the future.  Thanks!
      • Laura
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        Curious621
        OOOH, I like the prompts too!  I will use these!
    • Robin
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      Salthouser
      Sitting and focusing on the sounds around you is most impactful. Repeating this exercise at different times of the year, or year by year could lead to interesting discussions. Questions about what different sounds are heard at different times of the year; if there are more sounds or less sounds from year to year. Does the weather affect the sounds you are hearing; have any changes occurred that may affect the sounds (a pandemic causing less people to be driving, a new road causing more traffic, a new shopping center or housing nearby. I heard mostly birds chirping which makes me wonder what species I may have around me. Stopping everything else, and listening can help us relax, and start noticing our outdoor surroundings, which in turn will cause us to start asking questions. I've been working outside today, (one of very few nice weather days this summer) and have observed a hummingbird visit various flowers, and a tomato plant on my deck, but it isn't going to the hummingbird feeder. Does it see the feeder, is there enough food in the feeder, what kind of hummingbird am I observing? When I take the time to listen, I always have questions. qhRTFAB403B8-D25A-4510-B384-2BF8353517BC
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 41
      Acorn Woodpecker
      The sound map is somewhat of a Zen experience.  Taking time to stop and just listen is rare.  The experience was restful and almost restorative because you just listen.  This quieting time helps anyone stop and collect your thoughts.  For adults this time is just the opposite of multi-tasking.  The world is filled with distractions and the quieting experience from the sound mapping activity helps improve one's focus.  I think that doing this often and practicing this activity may help establish a habitat of thinking first. It also creates a space when you can evaluate your thoughts and organize them.   In reading some of the comments, words like being mindful, critical thinking and present in the moment were used.  For teachers this activity provides a great balance during a class by spending quiet times interspersed with discussion.  The quiet times develops keener observational and thinking skills. Here is my map done during lunch break on a weekday in the subdivision.  There are several mature oak trees where I live. I am sure that doing this activity in a nature area or a park would be better.  This is a great way to spend instructional time with students. IMG_2317 - sound map
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      amyeroche1
      I enjoyed doing the sound map. I did it with my six and eleven year old daughters.  It caused us to be more mindful of our surroundings.  I would like to try this in different settings around town.  We'll give it a try when we go to the local park later this morning. sound map
      • Sara
        Participant
        Chirps: 30
        SaraPi
        Try doing it with your eyes closed next time! It's a lot of fun and allows even more attention to sound.
    • Jackie
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      JackieScott
      IMG_1636 I think for me it was a lot of heard was expected. For many of my student not having a "name" for the sound might be an issue and they may not write it down. I think we would need to talk about the fact that they may not have a name for the sound but it is still an observation and how important that is. I might be able to identify the bird call but a student might be able to tell that he bird sounds are different. When it comes to doing the observations in general and using all their senses I think it will be important to note that taste will be the hardest to note. I think having a conversation with kids about what it means to fully participate and observe will be one of the first things I have to start.  Brainstorm ideas of what that looks like and maybe even feels like. Sometimes middle schoolers have a hard time just sitting and listening.
      • Smriti
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        Smriti Safaya
        I agree - the not having a 'name' for the sound is an interesting discussion that I've had and it becomes a guessing game with gestures, noises and associations of other sounds that are similar.  I think some students were challenged by that and started to focus on other sounds they did more readily recognize, while others really dug in to try to identify it, sometimes collaboratively, which cut into the noise! I would often have to remind them about the student silence side of the whole activity.  With older students I've had them spread out further apart from each other, but with younger students along trails, for safety we did keep them a little closer  (than the activity would actually warrant).
    • Kandis
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Kandis+1
      soundmapSound maps are a great tool to use with kids and adults alike.  Not only does it help with observation skills but we all need to take a moment to take the time to focus on what we have and what is around us, instead on focusing on where we are going or what we need to do next.  Emotional Health and mindfulness are an ever-growing topics.  If we can get youth to slow down, gain a better sense of the world around them and pay attention to small details; and maybe ask them how they feel at that moment we will be teaching youth life skills they need to be successful.  Does taking a break to be present help you feel calmer, relaxed?  Sound maps are also a great way to get youth to observe and just be present in their surroundings.  A jump for a more in-depth conversation later with youth making predictions, asking questions and following with open inquiry learning opportunities. I also like the idea of “sit-spots.” A sit spot is an outdoor place that you spend at least 5 minutes while observing everything around you. When you choose a sit spot you want it to be easy to visit, free of distractions, comfortable and close to things that you want to observe. Encourage youth to use their senses to observe and write in a journal about their observations to make inferences on changes they see overtime. Look for movement. What animals do you see, what are they doing? What did you hear in your sit spot? Do animals notice you?  Do they get more comfortable with your presence? What can you touch around you? Are certain plants softer when they are young? Do the mosses, rocks, trees and plants feel different when they are wet or dry? Does the sun feel good on your neck today? Can you smell anything? If so, can you find it?  Can you identify it? Using a sit spot gently encourages us to be mindful of our surrounds and to appreciate ALL of the things that are happening around us. They help us to pause in our daily routine and to make sense of our natural surroundings while relying only on our own senses. Sit spots encourage critical thinking, independence and self-reliance while also getting us outside! Week 2 Sound maps are a great tool to use with kids and adults alike.  Not only does it help with observation skills but we all need to take a moment to take the time to focus on what we have and what is around us, instead on focusing on where we are going or what we need to do next.  Emotional Health and mindfulness are an ever-growing topics.  If we can get youth to slow down, gain a better sense of the world around them and pay attention to small details; and maybe ask them how they feel at that moment we will be teaching youth life skills they need to be successful.  Does taking a break to be present help you feel calmer, relaxed?  Sound maps are also a great way to get youth to observe and just be present in their surroundings.  A jump for a more in-depth conversation later with youth making predictions, asking questions and following with open inquiry learning opportunities. I also like the idea of “sit-spots.” A sit spot is an outdoor place that you spend at least 5 minutes while observing everything around you. When you choose a sit spot you want it to be easy to visit, free of distractions, comfortable and close to things that you want to observe. Encourage youth to use their senses to observe and write in a journal about their observations to make inferences on changes they see overtime. Look for movement. What animals do you see, what are they doing? What did you hear in your sit spot? Do animals notice you?  Do they get more comfortable with your presence? What can you touch around you? Are certain plants softer when they are young? Do the mosses, rocks, trees and plants feel different when they are wet or dry? Does the sun feel good on your neck today? Can you smell anything? If so, can you find it?  Can you identify it? Using a sit spot gently encourages us to be mindful of our surrounds and to appreciate ALL of the things that are happening around us. They help us to pause in our daily routine and to make sense of our natural surroundings while relying only on our own senses. Sit spots encourage critical thinking, independence and self-reliance while also getting us outside!
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 41
        Acorn Woodpecker
        You have shared lots of good applications - I am grateful.  Thank you.
    • Phanh
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      phanhnguyen
      • Creating the sound map, I realized there were many more sounds around me than I expected. Working at home, I often notice sounds from nature, but didn't think there are so many I can hear in 10min.
      • Another thing I noticed is the process: First when I closed my eyes, there were many sounds at the same time, and I had to slowly go through to guess what they are, trying to remember them in case they don't come back again. Then there was repetition of certain sounds, like the cicadas, and wind, and cars. And lastly, keeping background sounds in check, I looked out for new sounds. It's quite a fun activity!
      • Another thing I find interesting is there was a rattling sound that I can't recognize, I think it's from some insect, and I'm very curious to know what it can be.
      • I think the focusing of only 1 sense at a time could help children to observe better. Also, the time should be long enough for them to recognize things and patterns, but I wonder if there should be a maximum... For me, the longer I sit, the more I get into it, but children might get bored. Or not. It'll be interesting to find out!
      • Here's my Sound Map: IMG_20200713_135940
    • Annette
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      AnnetteSteele
      sound map This activity forces you to stop, think and concentrate on what is already around you. Not on what you are cramming into your brain via smart phones etc.  I think the time of ten minutes was needed because it took a while to settle down and really focus on everything. I sat for a while with my eyes closed and that helped me focus even more. I think having students complete this activity  is a good way to introduce them to the world around them and make then start to see / hear. it would be interesting to complete the map only focussing on other senses such as touch and smell. I can see a lot of extension activities for this concept.
    • Veronica
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      vhorton
      What impacted me mostly as I created my Sound Map were ideas related to "time" and "repetition".  I realized how long 10 minutes might seem for young children and thought about alternatives like building up to 10 minutes or adding additional time to observe depending on the students.  I also considered the idea of sounds that were repeating and questions came to my mind like "How do I record repetitive sounds?", "Do I hear sound patterns ? (3 chirps of a bird 4 times)", and "What am I missing with my eyes closed?"  I might have students do observations with just their ears for a while, and then with just their eyes, and eventually with both ears and eyes in order for students to be able to compare the quality, amount, and detail of the observations they are able to make of the natural world.Sound Map
      • Nini
        Participant
        Chirps: 32
        Ninich
        I like the just doing sounds and then just sight and then combining them.  Interesting.
    • Dianne
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      dhaley1
      The most impactful aspect of creating my sound map was stopping and closing my eyes in my small backyard.  I did not expect to hear all of the sounds I heard.  It made me wonder, I am guilty of not stopping and "smelling the roses"?  Do I hear the sounds all around me?  Am I busy running around and not taking time to appreciate all of the nature and sounds surrounding my world.  I think this would be a great activity for my students.  We have a beautiful courtyard and a pond with a fountain filled with Koi fish and frogs.  Trees, shrubs, and perennials attract lots of birds and ducks have been known to nest here, as well.  Allowing my students to take time to use their senses will nurture the scientists within!IMG_1891
    • Kinta High School
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      KintaZoology
      Abundant sounds impact me the most.  Cicada insects "NZ" pulsate like a large temple choir.  A whisper, "crunch, crunch" in the dry grass of a doe quietly passing by.  The wind tickles my ears from the southwest.  An AC unit hums on the roof.  A metal roof percussion "Tap, Tap" as a cloud trades heat with the sun. Two miles away an 18 wheeler transports what someone needs. Middle school students would love this activity.  Ten minutes of quiet would be like an eternity.  Most of the students would quickly move to the "I wonder" part of learning.  What makes the noise? Why is there a noise? Why is the big doe so quiet?  How come there are so many loud insects?  If the insects are so loud, why doesn't something eat them?  I would encourage the use of listing and compiling the questions. High School students would benefit from this activity as well.  The multiple complications of their world would have to peel back to focus.  Once back in the class the "I wonder" part would begin.  Or at least the search for a bird, bug noise app.   I would encourage the consideration of seasonal changes, yearly changes, even historical changes. IMG_4234
    • Antoinette
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      ahatzop
      Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 10.06.04 AMScreen Shot 2020-07-07 at 9.46.30 AM A favorite read aloud for this lesson is the Listening Walk by Paul Showers, illustrated by Aliki.  The students quickly learn to observe and listen to the sounds around them once they are introduced to this lesson.  Every time they are outside, they are more in tune to the sounds of nature and are excited to share.
      • Kandis
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        Kandis+1
        Thank you for the suggestion on the book, love connecting books to activities!
    • Beverly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      bschieman
      I think the most impactful thing about this experience is the mindfulness it instills in the observer.  It forces us to be "in the moment".  Bringing this idea of mindfulness to the attention of students before and after the lesson might be a nice way to frame the act of observation. (Image to come.)
      • Dianne
        Participant
        Chirps: 31
        dhaley1
        Beverly, Yes, I agree that being mindful will instill the observer, for and us and our students!  I have not heard of the book, Listening Walk, but I will be sure to read it!  Thanks for sharing.
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      michelle_quezada
      (see below)
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      michelle_quezada
      The sound map was a helpful activity for me to thoughtfully observe what I cannot see. I knew we have planes that fly by and I live close to a large street but I did not expect to hear so many sirens or planes. It forced me to focus on things I normally would tune out. I would use this similar technique to encourage my students to observe the world more fully. It is very easy for us to focus on the visible aspects, that sometimes we forget to focus on our other senses. This is also a good way to include students with visual disabilities into the group as leaders in an activity where they might excel since they have learned not to rely on visual stimulus. IMG_5907
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      alrichardson
      Creating this sound map was a great way to tune out all my other senses and focus on my sense of sound.  I personally have a difficult time sitting still and feel that I need to always be doing something.  This activity gave me a chance to relax and just absorb what was around me.  It was very peaceful.  The longer I listened the more I was able to specifically pick out sounds that would normally be blended into the background.  Most of the sounds that I heard would be ones that I would typically not notice.  For example, when I took the time to listen I heard four different bird chirps.  It truly is amazing how many individual sounds a person can hear in such a short amount of time.  I did this activity in the early evening hours and it would interesting to compare it to different times of day. I think students would love this activity.  I would take my students on a nature walk along the trails by our school and stop at a certain point.  With the clipboard and paper they would have the choice to sketch pictures or write words to describe what they hear.  At the end of the activity I know they would enjoy sharing their sound map with their peers.  A fun extension of this activity would be to keep these sound maps and go back to the same location during different seasons and compare/contrast the similarities and differences between the sounds they heard. SoundMap
      • Nini
        Participant
        Chirps: 32
        Ninich
        I love your idea of going back  to the same location and mapping the sound to see how it has changed over the seasons.
    • Johanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      jdelwood
      IMG_1136I I usually listen to the sounds outside because I am always trying to identify the birds that are near by me.   I have not made a Sound Map before today.  I think this is a great idea to share with students.  It is an easy way to engage students with their natural surroundings.  For students who enjoy drawing and sketching, the Sound Map could lead to activities in art for them.  Even if students don't know the name of the bird that is making the sound, the student will be able to use their imagination to draw what the bird might look like as it is singing.
      • Michelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        michelle_quezada
        Sound maps could be a great link into art. Students who hear the same thing could have different visual interpretations.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      LauraYoung
      II live in a pretty urban area, and the majority of the sounds I heard were man-made -- a lot of cars, people talking, the sound of wind chimes. It'd be interesting to do this activity with students in a variety of places. I also really like the way this sound map activity was organized --rather than just making a list of things you hear, you are mapping sounds and putting yourself in the center. I also like that you can use symbols and images, for students who may be new to reading and writing. I really liked the lemon lesson too -- I think adding a competitive edge and real reason behind making the observations makes the importance of both strong observations and strong evidence really clear to students. IMG_3088
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 41
        Acorn Woodpecker
        You brought up a good point in your comments.  Perhaps the students could separate the sounds by human made vs. natural.  Last summer when I was vacationing, I found a spot that was devoid of any human made sounds - it was truly quiet.  Both my husband and I commented on the fact that we had not been a place like this for some time.  Our lives are filled with noises daily.
    • Elisabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      evhartman
      The most impactful thing for me was closing my eyes while creating it. Doing so draws the attention to sound by eliminating the distraction of sight. Also, by eliminating sight I noticed scents that directed me to hear what I might be smelling, in my case the freshly cut grass, I then noticed the faint sound of the lawnmower. I could definitely use this technique with children, encouraging them to use their senses to detect things they may not otherwise notice and incorporate that into how animalssound map use their senses to locate food.
      • Amy
        Participant
        Chirps: 24
        alrichardson
        Elisabeth, I also thought that closing my eyes really helped me focus on my sense of hearing.  You had such a great idea when you discussed how you could incorporate this alongside how animals use their senses to find food.  I think children would love this activity and would also be able to make a connection between how they use their senses compared to animals.  Thank you for this idea.  I could use this with our science unit on animal survival.  I thought it was really neat that you used your sense of smell as well to help you detect other sounds like the lawnmower.
      • Dianne
        Participant
        Chirps: 31
        dhaley1
        Elisabeth, I agree.  I typically depending on many of my senses working together.  By completing my Sound Map it really helped me to stop and listen to the world around me.  Thanks for sharing.
    • Tamara
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      tamicrow
        Photo on 5-5-20 at 1.15 PM   My realization of how I became more and more able to be specific the longer I listened. Practicing and then reflecting bring the concept home in the mind.  
    • Taylor
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      TSimon95
      I live in an urban centre, and what I found impactful was how many 'nature sounds' I could still hear even amongst the roar of nearby cars. Despite the sounds of the city I could still here songbirds, the wind, and the rustling of leaves, and I bet if I sat for longer I would hear more animals as well. I think that this is a really great acclimatization activity for kids, as it really gets them more engaged in their environment. I think scavenger hunts can be a really fun way to have children observe the natural world more fully, especially if you include smaller natural items that people don't always consider, because you really have to use observational skills. Another way I think you can engage children in observing the natural world more fully is by doing a "5 Senses" treasure hunt in which you get the children to find objects that correspond with a different sense (however, don't let them actually taste anything, just hypothetically tasty). For example, you can ask students to find something that is smooth and allow them to compare their items. IMG_1985
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      NRGregory
      I was surprised to find that the more I listened the more I heard- seems simple, but there were some very loud frogs that dominated the soundscape and when I tried to listen past them I was amazed at the variety of other sounds. When working with young students, I have often led activities that start with listening and observing. I love how some children are amazed ( like I was!) once they are able to tune out traffic or an occasional lawnmower at our gardens. Another way to encourage young children to observe nature, is to offer a treasure hunt that not only has objects to look for but also sounds and textures. Sometimes offering this extra bit of direction is helpful.CE745BBE-CF6E-40C8-AB5A-41D02E137381
    • Liz
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      lsiepker
      The most impactful thing about my sound map was how much I actually tune out on a daily basis when I go outside! I've done an activity similar to this but left out the taste sense because I didn't want students eating dirt. When doing the activity however, I found that is was important to really spread out, and close your eyes when doing the listening part. After 10 minutes of listening, I then let students open their eyes so they could touch, feel, and smell certain things. Just going outside away from "screen time" is important to having students realize that they are part of the world in which they live. 20200326_142833
      • Elisabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        evhartman
        A break from screen time & into nature is so important these days! While on one hand, it's great that kids have access to so much information about their natural world at their fingertips, it's also easy to get lost in the "digital" nature, so they see, and hear and read about our environment but don't experience it first hand. Even in a very urban or very rural environment, there is something to hear, it can be done anywhere , anytime, any season really.
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