|Vocal Tip of the Month!
Establishing a Classroom Routine that Promotes Vocal Health
Over the next few weeks, your students will
learn what your expectations are when it comes to classroom routines and that
will set the tone for the year. September is therefore crucial in establishing
a positive atmosphere to encourage student learning and save your voice.
Here are a few musts to keep in mind.
1) Teach students how to be quiet. Some students don't realise that being
quiet involves more than not speaking. What I've noticed with students
from all across the grades is that many lack physical self-control.
Fidgeting constantly is common. Students create undesirable
noise with their feet, pencil, eraser, chair, etc. When multiplied by
20, 30, or 35 students, the background noise contributes to the
teacher's need to increase his/her volume to be heard over the class even
when nobody else is talking.
2) Choose attention signals that don't involve the voice such as clapping
hands, flipping the lights, raising or using a percussion or rhythm
instrument. Rainmakers are particularly effective because of their
soothing sound. The triangle or a bell, a wind chime, tambourine and
maracas work well also.
3) If you do use your voice for call and response, use a soft voice and
remember to place it in the mask! Also, you can say your key sentence
softly beside a small group of children and let them answer on cue loudly.
Here are some popular ones (you say/THEY SAY):
Hands on top/EVERYBODY STOP
One, two/EYES ON YOU/three, four/TALK NO MORE
And a hush fell over the
The silly ones:
Ready to rock/READY TO ROLL
Whatever you choose to say, keep it short and simple. Because I teach
French Immersion, I don't use any of these but I have a ton of attention-getting
sentences created around the classroom rules that I use. Be creative and
have fun with it.
Vocal Health Costs
In the teaching
community, almost half of the educators experience vocal fatigue, hoarseness or
other vocal related difficulties at one point or another in their career but very
few of them seek treatment. The amount of money spent on conventional or
alternative medicine to treat the voice during the school year and the
days of work that they miss due to voice loss, when factoring in how much it
costs to have a substitute teacher fill in, are considerable. If you're
like me, time is money. When I lose my voice, I can't communicate as
effectively as I'd like to and it makes me frustrated to waste my precious time
(and others). That, too, is significant on a different level. Of
course, the cost associated with meeting a family doctor, an ENT specialist and
surely the therapy or surgery that follow the most severe cases quickly add up
as well. Whether covering the losses reflects in your personal life,
coming either from your own pocket or the taxpayers', vocal health ends
up being a pretty considerable issue. It's important to look at
the big picture and take the necessary preventative steps early to
stay vocally health and now is the best time to do it.
I hope to keep you informed on how to beautify your voice and care for it
the best you can.
|Inspiring Quotes and Stories...
My Good Luck Charm!
I want to tell you
a story that happened to me last week. I went to the beach to read,
reflect and find guidance on what I wanted to accomplish in the next few
weeks. On my way back, I walked on the lawn and saw a whole bunch of
clovers. I used to collect 4-leaf clovers as a kid. I'd spent about
10-20 minutes everyday at my grandparents' house after lunch hunting just
before going back to school. So I thought I'd try to find one for good
luck (it's been many years since I did). I looked at the first bunch of
clovers in front of me and saw nothing. I moved a few steps to the right
to check out another bunch but still there was nothing. I thought,
"I'm not gonna find any..." And then I had another thought: Why am I giving up so easily? I should
go after what I want and what I want now is a 4-leaf clover for luck in the
challenges I'm about to take up in my personal and professional life this
year. I moved to a third spot and within seconds, I found one! I
picked it up and looked at it. I felt joy and courage. That one was
different from the others I have seen before because the 4th leaf is
considerably smaller. The 4th leaf is tiny but it's there and
someday it will grow bigger (had I not picked it up!) and be as strong as it should be. I found comfort in that
thought because that was how I felt: Uncertain, anxious and weak
in a way but part of a growing process with faith that everything is gonna
be all right. I took the yellow post-it I used for my bookmark and I
carefully placed the 4-leaf clover in it to dry. What I learned was all
one needs is to believe!
Yourself in the Classroom
|Welcome Back to School!
I hope everybody got
a wonderful summer and a chance to rest, spend quality time with their
family, travel, catch up with old friends, do the things you never have time to
do during the school year, etc. Whatever made you happy this summer is
the best thing you could have ever done to rejuvenate yourself in time for
September. I wish you all the best with your new students and
colleagues. May this be a fun filled year where learning is at the centre
of everyone's goal. I will be sending you all positive vibes to
accomplish all that you want to take up this year. Take care!