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Think about what sounds can help you to relax. Do you find listening to birdsong soothing? Or maybe the sound of beach surf reminds you of restful holidays? Whatever it is, there are certain sounds that resonate with our bodies’ natural rhythms and can be quite relaxing, just as there are other sounds that are not.

For this activity you will need to find out what people do to relax and what sounds they associate with being relaxed.

Running order

Ask your students what helps them to relax. Are there any particular sounds that they find relaxing? Ask them to think about what they associate with being relaxed. For example, these may include feelings, like being calm or peaceful, particular environments like their room at home or a quiet space in a local park. These will be different for different people, so give your students time to talk about what relaxes them.

Optional: Ask your students to rank different activities and places depending on how much they help them feel relaxed.

Possible activities: doing homework, listening to rock music, watching a movie, playing games with their family, sitting in a park, taking part in sports, etc.

Possible places: their room, their living room, the park, school, work, a swimming pool, a beach, etc.

Take a moment to ask your students to explain their choices or add more information. Write up any useful language that students use or need to use on the board. When you have a list of five or so items on the board, which could be words or phrases, play a quick memory game with your students. Erase letters from words and challenge them to recall the spelling. Erase words from phrases and challenge them to say the phrases out loud from memory.

Tell the students that you are going to play a few different sounds to them and they have to decide how relaxing they think the sound are. It is probably best if the students close their eyes for this activity, but there is no need to make this compulsory.

To help the students’ capture their opinions after listening, get them to copy a table like this:

Sound What I heard Relaxing or not? Why
1 a siren no, because I think of police chases
2
3

Play the sounds.

After listening give your students time to write down notes. Play the sounds again if necessary. Give the students time to check what they have written and to ask you about anything they are unsure of. Monitor and have a look at what each student has written down.

Ask your students to share and compare their thoughts in small groups. Ask them to decide in their groups which were the most and least relaxing sounds. Language that may come up at this point could relate to the students explaining and giving reasons why they find particular sounds relaxing or not, comparing their thoughts with others in their groups, giving names to particular sounds among others.

Some example language to help students with:

I thought that the beeping noise wasn’t very relaxing. It made me think I was in a hurry!
I agree with you. I thought it was the noise of the traffic lights and I had to cross the road.

The birds singing was quite relaxing. It reminded me of the park.

The sound of the waves is a bit like breathing.

Encore

Ask your students to think of relaxing sounds in their daily lives before the next lesson. If possible, ask them to bring a recording to class to share with the other students in the class.

Ask your students to design a poster or other presentation on tips for relaxing and the best sounds to help you relax.

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