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Creating Foley sound

Next we are going to interpret our adjectives by creating them in sound. We will create our own sound effects using objects and surfaces.

Try out different sound effects for each picture. If you’re trying out this activity in class, bring in a range of different household items to create sounds for the pictures you have sourced, and ask pupils to verbalise what they are doing and the sounds they are making.

Here are some tips:

  • Cellophane wrap creates the sound of a roaring fire.
  • Footsteps in the snow can be created by crunching some corn-starch in a sock.
  • Wind can be created by using a bamboo cane, squeezing air out of a Ziploc bag, or turning a bicycle upside down, spinning the wheel and pressing a piece of silk against the tyre. Additionally, blowing into a microphone can produce a great wind sound.
  • If you have access to sound recording equipment, you can create the sound of the waves, using a microphone with a windjammer, by gently rubbing the top of the microphone. Alternatively, this activity provides a fantastic opportunity for a field trip to the seaside to record some live sound!

Creating Foley sound is enormous fun, and a quick internet search will reveal a host of Foley sound tips and online tutorials if you’d like to explore this further.

When using this activity in class, you could create a soundscape by grouping the students to create different elements of the sound and varying the ferocity of the wind, size of the waves or intensity of the fire.

How could you use Foley sound within your teaching setting?

If you’ve already tried this with children, what was their level of engagement?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Literacy Through Film

The British Film Institute (BFI)

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

  • Why use film to improve literacy?
    Why use film to improve literacy?
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    Watch this short video to discover how and why learning through film improves literacy.

  • Foley sound
    Foley sound
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    This step is an introduction to Foley art, and has a video clip with Foley artist, John Fewell.

  • Stills from The Girl and the Fox that show different shot sizes.
    Developing writing through camera shots
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    Linking camera shots and positions to still images in this activity, can provide a great writing stimulus in creating narrative.

  • Record and Playback
    Record and Playback
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    An introduction to the technique of Record and Playback, a simple but very effective tool for curricular learning.

  • Two images each showing samples of a shoe box set design.
    Shoebox set design
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    Making a shoe box set takes your pupils on a filmmaking journey that produces literacy outcomes, and is a great tool for assessment. PDF provided.

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