Shaking Things Up

One of the moments I enjoyed most over the past five weeks happened when my class took painted toilet paper rolls— “telescopes”—outside to the TYO balcony. The children peered out across their city and excitedly called out what they saw: buildings, mosques, cars, trees, birds, laundry, and more. Back inside, they drew some of those sights to create a Nablus scene for our classroom wall. With the goal of stimulating further observations of their world, I planned this Tuesday’s class around the theme of sound. We started with a rhythm game involving clapping, stomping, and snapping. Then we spent two minutes listening to the sounds we could hear from our classroom and writing them down. Keeping the kids quiet and focused on their own paper during this activity was challenging. In general, conveying the idea that there is not one right answer has proven difficult in class since the education system in Palestine focuses a lot on memorization.

Nevertheless, when we compiled a group list on the board, all of the kids were eager to be called on. And like the telescope activity, they put more effort into their subsequent drawings of what they heard than in activities when they are drawing less concrete things.

We spent the rest of class making musical instruments. When the children asked whether they could take their project home with them, I replied, “Of course!” At the end of the of the day when they walked out of TYO to the rhythm of shaking popcorn kernels, I noted to a volunteer that the bus drivers might be annoyed with me; However, I was pleased to hear the kids making music. I hope that those sounds are a first step toward raising their voices.

How To: Plastic plate shakers

Materials: plastic/paper plates, magazines, crepe paper, popcorn kernels (or seeds , rice, or beans), glue, scissors, stapler

Step 1: Cut out pictures from magazines. Glue images to the bottoms of two plates. These plates will be the outside of your instrument.

Step 2: Cut strips of crepe paper to make short streamers.

Step 3: Turn one plate facing up (as if you were going to eat from it.) Pour some popcorn kernels onto plate.

Step 4: Place streamers around the edge of plate so that most of the tail is not on the plate.

Step 5: Place second plate on top, decoration side up. Staple plates together, making sure to staple over the streamers.

Step 6: Shake-shake-shake!!


Kara is an intern at TYO Nablus and a participant in the Kalimatna Initiative.