This article is a follow up to “help the dyslexics” and the article on the material used to develop the senses.
I am going to show you how to handle two equipments used to develop a young child’s hearing sense. These equipments may help to reveal problems which could particularly handicap the process of learning how to read.
The sound boxes :
This material is composed of two boxes (one with a red lid, the other with a blue lid). Inside, 6 cylinders have been placed, each with a different sound when shaken. The two boxes contain cylinders with the same sound so that pairs can be made.
The first presentation :
– put the two boxes infront of the child.
– open each box and put the lid beside the box.
– take a cylinder from one box, shake it so that the child hears its sound.
– put it in front of the boxes, facing the child.
– take a cylinder from the other box and have the child hear its sound. Then ask the child : « is it the same sound as the other ? ». He can listen to the first one again to verify.
– if it is not the same sound, put the second cylinder beside its box. Take other cylinders from that same box until the child finds the identical sound of the first cylinder.
– when the child finds the identical sound, put the cylinder to the left of the first.
– put all the cylinders which did not make the same sound in their box.
– take another cylinder, listen to its sound and place it under the first pair aligning the cylinders by color.
– take a cylinder from the second box, listen to its sound and continue until the two boxes are empty.
– then, propose a verification : have the child listen to each pair and verify that the sounds are equal. If there is an error, the child will try to correct it. If not, the exercice is done.
– the sounds are often very much alike. It is therefore important for the teacher to find a way to allow self correction, essential in Montessori teaching. An easy way is to use stickers with the same color under the cylinders which make the same sound.
Second presentation :
– Take only one box with cylinders.
– Put it infront of the child.
– Take the cylinders out.
– Tell the child that he needs to align the sounds from deep to acute.
– have the child listen to one cylinder and place it on the table.
– Have the child listen to a second one and ask him : « is it deeper or more acute ? ». According to the child’s answer, place the cylinder to the left of the first cylinder if it is deeper and to its right if it is more acute.
– Continue the exercice.
– At the end of the exercise, verify that the cylinders are in the right order from deep to acute.
– If the child signals an error, let him put the cylinders correctly.
– Always think about self correction : use stickers placed under the cylinders, numbered from 1 to 6.
That way, the child has learned what « deep » sounds and « acute » sounds are.
The Montessori bells
Another very interesting material to develop a child’s hearing sense are the Montessori bells.
It is important to teach the child how to hold the stick, between the thumb, the index and the middle fingers just like when holding a pen.
We follow the indirect goal of learning how to write.
Then, teach the child how to touch the bell with the stick. The child needs to brush the stick against the bell from bottom to top as if the sound flew away to the top. He must not press against the bell too strongly.
The sound is like a bird flying off and the movement of the hand follows him.
The presentations are the same as those of the sound boxes. First, putting the pairs together and then placing the bells from deep to acute sounds.
These games can be done by more than one child at a time. We call them « the games of the twins ». We sit the children in a circle (as many children as there are bells). Each child holds a bell in the palm of his hand. The child sitting in the center of the circle plays his own bell.
He then hands out the stick to the other children who can ring their bell. One of the children in the circle must recognize the identical sound of the bell of the child in the center. We tell him to look for « his twin ». Once they have found each other, they come out of the circle and watch the others do the same.
Another game, using one of the sets of bells, consists in asking one of the children to compose a little musisal piece with his stick and the other children must reproduce it. They first compose an easy piece and make it more complicated.
The adult can play a musical piece which must be reproduced by the children.
The adult can also choose two bells : the deeper and the more acute. The children must turn around : lower their arms when the sound is deep and raise their arms when the sound is acute.
Then, a middle note is introduced. The children must hold their arms horizontally.
The names of the notes can then be taught. Small individual cards are made with the exact place of the note on the musical score. Cards are placed infront of each corresponding note. We ring the bell and sing the name of the note. That way, the child visualizes the place of the note on the musical score and what it sounds like.
We can then play games : first the child must ring the bell and put its corresponding card under (we go from concrete to abstract) then, we do the contrary : the child takes a card with the name of the note and places it under the corresponding bell.
The same thing can be done when composing musical pieces : the child composes with bells and then with note cards, can listen and check that his piece is harmonious.
I hope that these exercises help develop your child’s hearing sense. Never hesitate to play all kinds of music, to talk about the composers and to sing with your child…