Sunday, August 21, 2016

What are you reading? (Multiple recommendations to enjoy!)

The Scanlon Family recommends "Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics" and say they enjoy it as much as the first book ("Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library")!




My daughter picked out "Real Sisters Pretend" from our local library.  It is a beautifully illustrated story by Massachusetts author Megan Dowd Lambert.  The book feels like an overheard conversation between two sisters playing 'pretend.'  During their game they talk about the real challenge they have explaining to others that though they are adopted and from different biological families, they are still "real" sisters.  A powerful message in a simple story!

Image result for real sisters pretend
What's up next for Mrs. Leonard? Finishing a few more professional books before the start of the year including "Mathematical Mindsets", "Kids Deserve It", and "Reading in the Wild!"


Want to share what you’re reading?

Or mail me a letter/postcard:
Heather Leonard
16 Edgemont Ave
Reading, MA 01867



….hope to hear from you!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What are Ms. Leonard and Ms McClain reading?

Ms McClain's son is reading "Pat the Zoo"!  (Looks very interesting/engaging!!!)



Ms. Leonard and her family read "Edward and the Pirates."  This beautifully illustrated book was written and illustrated by a Massachusetts author!  Edward is an avid reader that gets fully engaged in his stories - even imagining himself playing a role in this story.  Read to find out what happens when Edward reads a story about pirate treasure!


Want to share what you’re reading?
Send me an email: heather.leonard@reading.k12.ma.us

Or mail me a letter/postcard:
Heather Leonard
16 Edgemont Ave
Reading, MA 01867


….hope to hear from you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Barrows Summer Update

Dear Barrows Families;

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer, spending time with your families, playing outside, and relaxing together. We have been busy here getting geared up for our return to school, and are excited to embark on a new school year with our Barrows Shining Star families!  Are you thinking about how to get your student ready to return to school?  The best things you can do are some of the following;
  • ·         Talk about your child’s hopes and goals for their year.  What do they hope to learn?  What skills do they hope to acquire?
  • ·         What are your child’s fears about the upcoming year?  What can we (the adults) do to help them feel comfortable?
  • ·         Encourage your child to write a letter/note to your child’s teacher to introduce themselves.
  • ·         Thanks to the PTO for hosting our ‘opt-in’ class lists.  Reach out to a peer (or small peer group) that is in your child’s class next year. Plan a playground playdate or picnic dinner to connect and build those relationships before the first day of school.  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fDHFaH8Tmf1b2WMGCtn1BycsgOJECp51oixnPY1cznQ/edit#gid=0
  • ·         Read some books together – share with your learner some of your favorite childhood books and read together as a family
  • ·         Get lots of outdoor playtime!  As the weather is still so beautiful, enjoy all the fresh air and outside play possible!


The start of this school year has us transitioning to a new website too.  It is still in the beginning stages and is “under construction” – but check out our new web address: http://www.reading.k12.ma.us/barrows/  (As our district continues to transition away from Edline websites we will continue to provide updates and information about accessing important class and school information!) A message will be sent out to families in the next 2 weeks that will provide information about accessing the online website “Portals” through which you will be able to access student-specific information as we begin to roll out this new tool.

Families may drop off school supplies to the Barrows front lobby on Barrows “Drop-Off Day” for student supplies will take place on Thursday, August 25th from 8:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.  Please come to the front door/main office door to the front lobby to drop off the supplies. Also, please write your child’s first and last name and classroom teacher on the bag of supplies.  We hope many of you will participate, as this helps eliminate the challenge of bringing the big bag of materials while also trying to get students where they need to go, take pictures, and enjoy the 1st day happenings. (Need a reminder of what supplies your learner needs?  Check out our lists here:  http://www.reading.k12.ma.us/barrows/students/supply-lists/)

UPDATES

New Staff
I will provide updates our school community about our new Barrows Staff via our school Facebook page and also on my school blog (links below!) 

Please welcome the following new staff members;
·         Not “new” to Barrows, but new to the role, please welcome (back) Kelly DiCato.  She will be our Barrows Special Education Team Chair!  For those newer staff, Kelly worked at Barrows for years as a special education teacher in the DLC program prior to its transition to Birch Meadow.  We are thrilled to welcome her back as a Shining Star!
·         Dan Htoo-Levine, he will be our new music teacher.  Dan has his undergraduate degree from Berklee College in Music Business Management and a Masters from Boston Conservatory in Music Education.  Dan has spent the last few years as interim music teachers in Lincoln and Winchester.  He’s also an active musician in the band Dan & The Wildfire.
·         Patricia Flaherty is our new Reading Specialist and comes to us from Salem Public Schools.  Patricia has a Masters of elementary education from Salem State and also completed her Reading Specialist Certification from Salem State in 2010.  She has been working for 6 years as a Reading Specialist in grades K-5 and has experience working with both students and staff members to develop and implement literacy interventions based on student needs and grade-level data trends. Prior to her role as a Reading Specialist she worked as a 4th and 5th grade classroom teacher for 15 years. She has trainings in a range of literacy-based interventions and has spent the last year working to implement Lucy Calkins Readers and Writers Workshop in her school.
·         Our Speech Therapist candidate is in the works… completing the hiring process now.  I will let you know as soon as it is finalized!

Sneak-A-Peek

We invite our newest shining-stars (Kindergarten students and students new to Barrows entering grades 1-6) to come and “Sneak-A-Peek” at their classrooms and meet their teachers the day before we start school!  Please see the visit times below.  We will meet together in the front lobby by the main office and will help our newest students and parents find their way.  Welcome to Barrows!

Sneak-A-Peek Visits, Tuesday, August 30th;
1:30-1:45 –
Any students grades 1-6 new to Barrows

2:00-2:30 –
Kindergarten Classes; Ms. Forestell, Ms. Walcott, & Ms. Granoth

Please only come within these given windows of time, as our teachers are involved in other meetings and room set-up to prepare for the first day of school!


MTSS
MTSS stands for Multi-Tiered Systems of Support.  The Barrows School Staff continues to develop our social/emotional curriculum with common language and expectations, following a successful first year implementation.  We are excited about this continued work and the development of our Barrows Beliefs; Be Safe, Be Respectful, Persevere, and Collaborate

Helpful Links

·         Back-to-school supply lists:  http://www.reading.k12.ma.us/barrows/students/supply-lists/
·         Barrows School Facebook: www.facebook.com/BarrowsElementary
·         Ms. Leonard’s Blog: http://barrowselementary.blogspot.com/
·         Barrows on Twitter: @BarrowsSchool  https://twitter.com/BarrowsSchool
·         Barrows Homepage: http://www.reading.k12.ma.us/barrows/
·         Reading Public Schools:  http://www.reading.k12.ma.us/

Upcoming Dates

 8/31    First day of school (Dismissal at 12:45pm, ½ day Kindergarten dismissed at 11:30)
9/2     NO SCHOOL
9/5     NO SCHOOL –LABOR DAY
9/8     Curriculum Night
9/16   PTO’s Back to School Picnic
9/19-9/20    5th grade at Camp Bournedale
9/29   School Council, 3:15pm

I look forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks.  Enjoy the remainder of your summer vacation.


Love, Mrs. Leonard

Thursday, August 4, 2016

What is Mrs. Leonard reading? - Pax

Last week I finished the book "Pax" by Sara Pennypacker, a MA author.  This is a great read for upper elementary/middle school (grades 4+?)  The story is about a boy named Peter and his pet fox Pax.  Because of the circumstances in his family, Peter is forced to abandon Pax.  It doesn't take long for Peter to realize that he cannot truly leave Pax.  The story follows the adventures of Pax and Peter as they attempt to reunite (and their connected bond that binds their relationship) while maneuvering an active war-zone. The book is a powerful read, and would be a wonderful read aloud.


I love the summertime – it’s a great opportunity to pause and pick from a wide range of literature to enjoy!  There is so much out there that I thought it would be fun to share what I’m reading in the hopes that it may inspire a new title for you to try or start a great dialogue of book sharing and recommendations.  If you’re reading something you want to share, I’d LOVE to hear from you!  Send me your quick book talk via email or mail at the contact information below so I can share it out with the rest of the Barrows School Community! (This can be for Barrows students, staff, or parents because we can all use a good book recommendation now and then!)

Happy reading!
Love, Mrs. Leonard






Want to share what you’re reading?

Or mail me a letter/postcard:
Heather Leonard
16 Edgemont Ave
Reading, MA 01867


….hope to hear from you!

Barrows Shining Star Scientists – I need your help!

Dear Barrows Shining Star Scientists – I need your help!
I need your help because I have 5 eggs that need a “butterfly-sitter” to watch over and take care of until they hatch into caterpillars, turn into a chrysalis, and finally transform into a butterfly. Are you interested?  Here is what you would need:

A small container with a top that you can poke a hole into: 
 










A “pet pen” that can close – either a plastic style or mesh style will work!
    
 











A grown-up that is willing to help you find *Milkweed and *nectar flowers to cut as food sources as your butterfly grows!
















That’s it!  If you’re able and interested, send Mrs. Leonard an email: Heather.leonard@reading.k12.ma.us and she will set up a time for pick up at Barrows.


As many of our students know from meeting “Barry the Barrows Butterfly” last fall, my family and I have become very invested in saving and supporting the Monarch Butterfly population. (And obviously I also like taking lots of pictures of them too.)

Did you know that only 2-10% of eggs laid in the wild survive? Some scientists have filed a petition for endangered species act protection for the Monarch and its habitat in 2014. Monarchs are important pollinators for our gardens.  My family has found many monarch butterfly eggs/caterpillars to protect and keep safe until they become butterflies – then we release them into the wild!  This is why I need the help of our Shining Star Scientists!


Can you believe that they go from this:
(egg)














To this (caterpillar)













To this (Monarch butterfly)!




Just amazing!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What is Ms. Papa reading? - Seven Wonders: The Colossus Rises

Ms. Papa has another great book recommendation!  Check it out below;

Image result for Seven Wonders: The Colossus Rises 
Seven Wonders: The Colossus Rises, the first book in a five book series, by Peter Lerangis is a must read for adventure and fantasy fans.  13-year-old Jack discovers, when he wakes up on what remains of the Lost Island of Atlantis, that he has a rare genetic condition the will kill him unless he finds the source of Atlantis’ power.  Unfortunately when Atlantis was destroyed the power was stolen and divided into seven loculi hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Finding the power will not only keep Jack alive, but will give him superpowers!  Travel along with Jack and his friends as they search for the loculi and come up against one disaster after another!    



If you’re reading something you want to share, I’d LOVE to hear from you!  Send me your quick book talk via email or mail at the contact information below so I can share it out with the rest of the Barrows School Community! (This can be for Barrows students, staff, or parents because we can all use a good book recommendation now and then!)

Happy reading!
Love, Mrs. Leonard




Want to share what you’re reading?
Send me an email: heather.leonard@reading.k12.ma.us

Or mail me a letter/postcard:
Heather Leonard
16 Edgemont Ave
Reading, MA 01867