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Set it up

Think of a sound you like and prepare a short description of it. It isn’t necessary to play the sound, but if you do have a recording you can bring this to class. You can use this description to introduce useful language for describing feelings, memories or ideas associated with the sound. Part of the activity involves guessing, so you shouldn’t reveal what the sound is until after you have described it and you have given the students a chance to guess what it is.

Example description

I like this sound because it reminds me of when I’d walk to the swimming pool. I used to walk past a row of trees, and there would always be birds singing as I walked past.

Running order

  1. Ask your students to think of a sound they like and think of how they would describe it.
  2. Without revealing their sounds, ask the students to prepare a brief description of it. They should not mention the sound by name, but should instead talk about ideas, feelings and memories associated with the sound, as demonstrated in the example above.
  3. The students can check their descriptions with you if they like, allowing you the chance to see how they are using language and provide any input necessary.
  4. The students should then take turns in describing their sounds to each other. You can put them into small groups for this activity, of 3 or 4 students. Award points for any correct guesses about sound effects. If there is a sound effect that no one in the group can name, then the student whose sound effect it is gets three points.
  5. Conduct an open class discussion about favourite sounds. Were there any that were common to the group? Were they linked to any particular theme (e.g. sport, music, etc.)?


Ask the students to interview someone they know outside the class (e.g. a friend or family member) about their favourite sound effect and write up their answer in a paragraph for the next lesson.


Instead of sounds that you like, do the same thing with sounds you don’t like. Alternatively, start by naming a particular sound and then others in the class have to guess whether you like it or not and give the possible reason why.

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