Lesson plan

The Sound of Silence

Students will read a story and listen to a song to explore the sound of silence, its meaning, and significance. They will share their experience and reflect on how and why silence or space can be important.
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  • Students will be able to understand the significance of silence.
  • Students will be able to explain the role silence can play in their lives in relation to themselves, music, art, and the natural world.
(10 minutes)
The Sound of Silence
  • Ask the class to come together and form a circle on the floor or in chairs.
  • Guide the students to come into quiet, mindful bodies.
  • Ring the chime. Once the ringing stops, ask the class, "Did you hear that?" Pause. When silent again, ask, "Do you hear that?"
  • Ask the class, "What do you hear?" Receive answers for the different noises and sounds.
  • Tell students, "Raise your hand if you hear silence." (If the room is not silent, ask the class if they can hear the pause in between sounds instead.)
  • Explain that our lives can often be filled with sounds and loudness.
  • Ask, "Where can we find silence?"
  • Ask students to raise their hands if they like silence. Then, ask them to raise their hands if they dislike silence.
  • Explain that today we will be exploring silence and reading the story The Sound of SilenceBy Katrina Goldsaito.
(10 minutes)
  • Show the class the book The Sound of Silence.
  • Ask what they think this book may be about.
  • Read through the book, and pause throughout to ask questions about silence. Potential questions: "How can silence or space be important? How do you feel when in silence? How can silence support community?"
  • At the end of the book ask the students what stood out to them.
  • Place the following quote on the board: “Without silence, sound would be meaningless.”
  • Ask the class to consider what this quote means to them. Then, have them turn to a partner and share.
  • Explain to students that you will be playing a song, All in Twilight, by the composer Toru Takemitsu. As they listen, students should see if they can notice the space in between sounds. Tell them that they may close their eyes if they would like.
  • After the song, ask the class to consider for a second time the meaning of the quote: “Without silence, sound would be meaningless.”
  • Ask the class how the silence in between sounds impacted the song.
(5 minutes)
  • Explain to students that they will go back to their seats and complete a worksheet answering questions connected to silence and the book The Sound of Silence.
  • Before they return to their seats, model for the class how to complete the first section of the worksheet. Read through the first part, and complete one question on the board.
(25 minutes)
  • Ask students to return to their seats and independently complete The Sound of Silence worksheet.

Enrichment:Students may create their own songs using the Music Maker JAMApp. Ask them to focus on the silence in between sounds when creating the song.

Support:Work with students in small groups to complete the worksheet and provide individualized support.

(5 minutes)
  • Observe students at their seats during the independent working time. You may also collect the worksheets to check their understanding.
(5 minutes)
  • After all students have completed their worksheet, ask them what stood out to them while they reflected on the activity.
  • Place their final pieces and worksheets up around the room.
  • Have students participate in a gallery walk, where they move around the room in silence and notice what their peers have written about silence.
  • Ask students, "How can silence be valuable? When can silence be valuable? What are some ways you can bring silence or notice more silence in your life? Where would you go to notice silence (nature, park, etc.)?"

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