I love technology, teaching videos, visual songs and the like, but balance is key.  Recently, after visiting a classroom of young fivers, the importance and need of listening without visuals brought this balance to mind.

Five-year-olds in an all day educational experience is becoming more the norm.  Trying to come up with pacing and planning for down times can be a challenge.  Even in our homes where devices are a great way to learn, children may not be exposed to just listening.  Listening is another critical learning and reading skill.

So I dug into the archives of my own childhood and remember listening to “Classics for Children”.  These were Peer Gynt Suites, Carmen and other classics set to stories with words.  Of course, my brothers, sister and I would listen to these records over and over each night.  The pictures were in our minds!  I can still vividly see the picture of the little bull being so frustrated at the little boys who wanted to be toreadors.  They had been waving their sticks at him all day.  Finally, one by one, Juan, Esteban, Carlos, Manuel and Pedro went flying over the fence off the horns of the angry little bull.  Timed perfectly with the music, my imagination pictured it all.  We loved it!

So I brought a clip of one of my favorites of these songs: El Torito, the Little Bull, by Carmen, to a classroom of 25 young fivers.   I thought it would give the children a nice quiet time after lunch and recess.  They could close their eyes and listen while I played it off my phone and speaker.  It became very apparent from the start the work I had cutout for me, along with many parents and classroom teachers alike, when the children exclaimed:  “Where are the pictures?”  Their question and puzzled looks came only after a few seconds of playing the music.

I explained they were in my mind.  I told them what I saw and visualized.  The lesson had just begun…

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“…There’s a wart on the hair of the frog…”“Once Upon A Time…”

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