The Newsletter
 April 1st, 2009                                                                  Find your natural dynamic speaking voice and maintain it!
Vocal Tip of the Month!
About Shush and Whispering...

Everybody does it.  I do it, too...  But instead of saving your voice, both are worse than actually talking.  Hushing the class using "shush" or whispering to help maintain a quiet atmosphere or to protect your voice aggressively sends a tremendous amount of air through the vocal cords.  That is therefore very dehydrating and unhealthy for the folds.  Without enough lubrification, vocal cords cannot vibrate freely.  This practice can lead to vocal fatigue and more severe consequences, such as nodules and polyps (small tissue growths on the folds), so watch out!  If you have lost your voice, it is better not to talk at all; but if you must talk, do it softly by properly placing your voice high in the mask.  

Interesting Facts

Take a Closer Look at the Vocal Cords!
Have you ever wondered what the vocal cords in action look like?  I found this cool video of a
stroboscopy that clearly shows what happens in the voice box during speech and singing! (This is not for the faint of heart and is not meant to demonstrate correct speech habits.)

Video Stroboscopy

If you have experienced long-term voice fatigue or are worried about your vocal health, ask your doctor to send you to an ear, nose and throat specialist for this special kind of examination.  It doesn't hurt, althought it does feel a little uncomfortable to have the tube with the camera on it sent down your nose and throat.  It is worthwhile for the peace of mind alone to have your vocal cords checked up for any swelling or nodes. If the video shows concerns, then you know to step things up toward a resolution plan that will help you get back the voice you deserve.
What's Happening?
The International Noise Awareness Day

Once again this year, The League for the Hard of Hearing is trying to raise awareness against noise pollution by celebrating The International Noise Awareness Day on April 29, 2009.  You are invited to take part in this event with your class by making a conscious effort to remain quiet between 2:15 and 2:16 wherever your location.  You can also celebrate silence by discussing how noise affects our lives and how we can reduce noise pollution and by creating simple activities around that topic. For example, I like playing the "Silent Game" with my grade 1 and 2 students.  It goes like this: Everybody must be completely quiet to start.  Then, I choose a student and walk over his/her desk and I sit in his/her chair without making any noise (I like to act it out and walk on my tiptoes while I do this.)  Then he/she chooses someone else to switch spots with.  The game goes on until evrybody has a turn.  It's a nice calming activity and the kids enjoy it very much, especially if some drama is put into it!
Relevant Links

Voice Yourself in the Classroom

Valerie Bastien

The Voice Connection
Inspiring Quotes and Stories...
I'm Proud!

I sent my report cards home a few days ago.  I am so proud of my students.  I feel like we have accomplished so much together so far and their progress is remarkable.  As some of you might already know, I teach French Immersion, so it is quite challenging for kids of such a young age to handle academics in a foreign language.  We started September with many students struggling to express themselves in French and feeling the frustration of not being able to do so.  However, today I saw on their little smiling faces that all of that is history.  They are no longer afraid of making mistakes and they take up the challenges with enthusiasm.  It's rewarding to reflect on how much they have grown in such a short time.  I know that not every student can get A's on his or her report card and it's all right.  I'm happy anyway, because I feel that every one of them tried the best they could and that is all that matters.  Today a couple of girls wanted a hug.  Then later, one of my kids build a paper crown for me and called me his princess! Those simple but kind gestures is their way of saying "Thank you!".  I wore the crown proudly, thinking that the boys and girls in my classroom shine as bright as the imaginary jewels on it!  Well done, class! :)
Things to Note
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Have a wonderful month!

-Valerie Bastien