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Mona Lisa Tello’s Advice for Developing a High Singing Voice

As a high soprano, Mona Lisa Tello understands how difficult developing a steady, high singing voice can be. That said, individuals can take several steps to aid this development. Below, Mona Lisa Tello has outlined some of her most beneficial advice for novice singers.

  1. When you begin to practice, sing within your normal vocal range and allow yourself to warm up before attempting notes outside of your comfort zone. Ideally, you can find a song that only includes a few notes outside of your comfort zone to master before moving on to another.
  2.  Keep your back straight and your muscles relaxed. Posture has a great deal to do with the ways in which your lungs and diaphragm expand and contract. Always breathe from your diaphragm as your sing. By training the diaphragm, singers gain greater control over their breath exhalations.
  3. Train your body as well as your voice. Press your lower belly in and let out your upper belly. As your voice goes up in pitch, bend your knees slightly to make yourself feel as if you’re moving downward. Drop your lower jaw more than feels comfortable, but don’t strain it. Keep your mouth narrow.

Bilingual Education: Cognate Recognition, By Mona Lisa Tello

As of 2009, 21 percent of school-aged children in the United States spoke another language at home, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This is double the amount found in 1980, and teaching this growing group of bilingual adolescents takes special skills.

Cognates are English and foreign words that are similar because of their Greek or Latin roots. Recognizing cognates is crucial for bilingual students:  if they can recognize the root of an unknown English word from their mother tongue, they will have a basic understanding of the word. Learning about cognates trains them to naturally scan for similarities between the two languages, so even if a student has not specifically learned a word, there is the potential to discern the word’s meaning.

The end goal is to help these bilingual students pass the Regents Examination at the end of the year, which includes complex science terms. Science terms are some of the strongest cognates, because so many have Greek or Latin roots.

About the author: Mona Lisa Tello, a New York-certified teacher, focuses on cognates with her bilingual students.

The Circulatory System, By Mona Lisa Tello

An essential part of living things, the circulatory system operates as a closed system responsible for sending blood throughout the body. While the heart is considered the core of the circulatory system, it cannot function without four other components: arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and veins.

Circulation starts in the right atrium, the upper-right hand portion of the heart. As the heart pumps, the blood moves to its lower right, upper left, and lower left sections, before entering the lungs for oxygen and returning to the lower left portion, known as the left ventricle. The largest and strongest portion of the heart, the left ventricle is connected to the body’s largest artery, the aorta.

From the aorta, blood travels to the rest of the body. It goes through arterioles that reshape the blood so that it flows easily throughout the system. Responsible for feeding cells, capillaries absorb nutrients and oxygen from the blood. Finally, veins bring the blood back to the right atrium, and the process begins again.

About the Author: For over a decade, Mona Lisa Tello taught science at Graphics Communication Arts High School in New York City. When teaching the circulatory system, Tello encouraged students to create mechanical models of the heart, giant floor puzzles and games to demonstrate the flow of blood through the heart and and songs about the circulatory system.

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