Sunday, 18 September 2011

Yoga Sparks Sound

Yoga Sparks Sound

I have been struggling lately with asking kids to be quiet. Not so much with the kids that are sitting and chatting, but asking the ones that are making the no sense noises to stop making the noises.  I’m sure you can all think of a kid (or adult) you know that sits and hums to them self or sits and hums the same pattern over and over again.  I’m fairly certain my husband Andrew was one of these children and that’s why he spent most of his grade two year out in the hallway.  (He says it was because of moving trauma). He’s actually doing it over and over in the kitchen right now, maybe this time because of marriage trauma J

Anyways, my point is, the more I learn about energy, the more I’m learning that kids know exactly what they need and sometimes in order to balance their self they need to make certain noises to feel okay.  This makes it hard to teach, hard to not react and hard to stay sane throughout the day.

On my yoga mat I’m often encouraged by different teachers to groan, hum, sigh or release any sound that just feels right at any moment of practice.  In my circle of yoga friends we often practice what is called a toning circle.  One person starts a sound and everyone else follows, it flows in and out of tune and comes together and dissolves in this way that you can feel throughout your whole body.  So why not let the kids release sound in this way while also learning the sounds of the alphabet.

There are tons of links to the Alberta music curriculum as well as several in the grade one language arts curriculum.  Here’s what I did in my class.

Right now I am using this sound circle just for the special sounds, the vowel sounds.  Perfect because it really sets these sounds apart from the other sounds in the alphabet and emphasizes that vowels are important, different and special.  I give the kids some examples of how they can show the sound with short/long, legato/staccato, fast/slow or low/high.  We have only done the sound for the letter A (/a).  The first time I did it, I didn’t put any parameters on volume control, the only parameter was it had to be /a.  I found that right away that all students loved this!  However there were a few students (and myself) sensitive to noise that were overwhelmed by how loud it got.  To solve this I put a volume control on and the kids had to watch my hands, as they got bigger they could get louder but as they got closer together students could get quieter.   This worked ridiculously well and without even talking about it, students came to complete silence when my hands touched.  If you knew my class this year you might think this was a miracle J

Yoga sparks using the ‘noise’ that is inherently part of being a child and yoga sparks harnessing these sounds for learning.  Eventually, when all the vowel sounds have been taught, I hope to be able to have the students change sounds during the sound circle according to what visual letter is shown to them.  I also hope to be able to record and share this with you.  So far I have never had a group of kids remember the first vowel sound so quickly and consistently. 

How could you use a toning circle in an older grade? What does yoga spark in your classroom? If you are having troubles posting here, please email me I’d love to listen to your ideas.

With love,


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