Monday, September 27, 2010

Middle School Sound Effects

I have been teaching middle school for only six weeks, but one of the things I am qualified to discuss about middle school students is the incessant noises that children this age make. After conducting research, compiling data, and using an investigatory methodology and a research-based compilation and analysis of the data, I am now able to reveal my findings. Here are the sounds categorized for future study. Numbers, percentages, and sounds emanated per second and per minute will be provided at a later date.


I. Motion Generated Sounds Using Body Parts

A. Hands Motion is used to generate sounds from hands and/or palms. This includes drumming and an activity I shall refer to as "palm flapping," an activity that is difficult to describe and not worth the effort to do so. Just know that the kids can flap their palms rapidly and make an incessant flapping noise. Fingers are used to drum, snap and tap.

B. Rear Ends
Rear ends squirm endlessly. This generates a chair squeaking sound, but I have placed it in the Motion Generated Sounds Using Body Parts section rather than the Machine/Instrument Generated Sounds Section.

II. Body Generated Sounds

A. Sound Effects
Students generate sound effects, such as 1. lip popping; 2. clucking; and 3. clacking.

4. Hissing
can be broken down into three general subsections: a) tires on wet concrete; b) escaping air from a basketball; c) disapproval (hissing as teacher irritant).

5. Whooshing
sounds can be broken down into three general subsections: a) wind (sub-subsections: gentle breeze, scary and hurricane force); b) NASCAR race cars roaring by (both close by and in the distance); and c) Olympic skier sounds.

B. Musical Sounds
Musical sounds have several major subsections.

1. Whistling
The first is whistling. Whistling consists of student inspired mindless tunes and recognizable melodies. Sustained, steady notes, the sounds of bombs dropping, and the inward/inhale whistle are other classroom sounds generated in this category.

Humming falls into the Musical Sounds category. Humming consists of three sub-subsections:
a. subconscious humming (work related, happiness related, and unconscious humming)
b. casual humming (self-entertainment, humming used as teacher irritant, etc.)
c. non-causal humming (who knows why they do it?).

C. Bodily Function Sounds
Bodily Function Sounds can include but are not limited to: 1. hiccupping; 2. belching; 3. farting; 4. sucking; 5. chewing; 6. sniffing; 7. snorting, and 8. grunting.

9. Sniffling has its own subsections:
a. cold and flu sounds (either genuine or hypochondriac in nature.) Hypochondria generated sounds are either "nurse pass inspired," or physical and emotional sympathy seeking. Hypochondria sniffling can also be goal oriented: ("I want outa here.")
b. genuine or emotional crying/sniffling sounds.

D. Communicative Sounds
Communicative Sounds is another category of Body Generated Sounds. These include but are not limited to: 1. shushing (fear of getting caught or an actual, "Shut up!"); 2. snorting (sub-subsections: a) disgust; b) disapproval; c) booger/nostril clearing); 3. guffawing; 4. snickering (teacher irritant).

III. Oral Fixation : Cud Chewing
The middle school where I teach and where the research occurred allows gum in the classroom. This, of course, requires its own category, Oral Fixation: Cud Chewing.
There are several categories in Oral Fixation: Cud Chewing.
1. Gum Chewers which includes but is not limited to smacking, chewing, popping, and cracking (teacher irritant);
2. Plastic Chewers for those student consumers who find themselves out of gum. The Bic pen cap is popular. This category is much quieter than gum chewing;
3. Paper chewing is also popular. Thankfully, no spit wads have been seen.....yet. This category is also quiet.

IV. Machine/Instrument Generated Sounds
These sounds require materials to generate the sounds. This includes 1. retractable pens clicking (see George Hamilton in "Doc Hollywood") and 2. Velcro opening and closing.

3. Zippers are its own subsection. This is broken into five sub-subsections: a) the sound of a zipper unzipping; b) the sound of a zipper zipping; c) the most common sound: a zipper either zipping and unzipping or unzipping and zipping. d) the individual student zipping and unzipping over and over again (serious teacher irritant), and lastly, e) group zipping and unzipping, which requires an immense amount of coordianation and practice amongst the group members (teacher irritant). Zipper sounds can be generated by jackets, articles of clothing, purses, pocketbooks, and school-oriented material, such as notebooks or backpacks.

As the reader can see, middle school students generated sounds are complex, varied, subtle, irritating, ingenius, and devious. A continuous onslaught of noises may be distracting to the teacher at first, but as they beocme acclimated, it becomes worse.

Further research studies will be conducted at a later date.

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