Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Teaching with Foley

Foley is the art of making sound effects with ordinary objects.  It can be used to both support traditional literacies and expand the communication tools of students.   It can augment and expand traditional literacy in readers' theater and dramatic interpretations.  It can also teach executive function skills such as coordinating in a group and waiting for cues.  Foley can also be a tool to teach 21st century skills--transforming ordinary objects into completely different meanings (e.g. cups become galloping horses) teaches kids a lot about capitalizing on the characteristic of a medium (e.g. you only hear the cups) as well as the power of effects and manipulation. 

I have done Foley work with 2nd graders to stimulate their speaking and writing as well as with 10th graders to help them produce and analyze a scene for Shakespeare.  

Here's a video on Foley art from the LA Times:

Here are some Foley ideas from Remixing Shakespeare:

Here are Foley ideas that work well with literacy projects:
  • Horses galloping: plastic cups on a desk
  • Army Marching: Boots on wood, repeated and looped
  • Shovels: Spoons in sand or pebbles
  • Pick ax: Pipes or metal spoons
  • Applause: 2-3 People clapping, repeated and looped
  • Knocking on door: Knocking on desk or wood
  • Time bomb ticking: Clock
  • Airplane engine: Fan starting and running
  • Helicopter: Opening and closing an umbrella very fast
  • Bones breaking: cracking celery or carrots
  • Surgery (or anything squishy): Manipulating Jello
  • Knight moving in armor: A set of keys moving
  • Walking or running in leaves or forest: crunching potato chips with hands (use latex gloves to avoid greasy hands
  • Walking in snow: patting corn starch
  • Dinosaur, monster, or large animal eating: Chewing Watermelon
  • Elevator door closing: closing a desk draw or filing cabinet
  • Boiling water: Blowing bubbles with a straw in water

Another idea that works is to demonstrate a few Foley techniques and then give the students some of these objects and have them decide what they sound like.

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