Monday, October 28, 2013

Growth Mindset

I am re-posting from this week's Star Burst thoughts about Growth Mindset for those of you that may not have had the chance to read it:

Dear Barrows Community,

             Have you ever said the following to your child while helping them with schoolwork; “I was never good at math either,” “I’m really shy and hate public speaking too,” or “You got that from me, I have awful handwriting”?  I want to challenge you to think of another way.

             What does it mean to have a “Growth Mindset?”  Carol Dweck’s research defines Fixed Mindset as a belief that their intelligence is a trait they are born with, that they only have a certain amount of intelligence and that’s it.  Those that believe in a Growth Mindset believe that they can grow and develop their intelligence and abilities over time (Dweck, 2006.) 

Students with a Fixed Mindset believe if they are smart, then learning should come easy and they will tend to avoid more challenging topics or tasks from fear of failure or appearing ‘not smart.’  If the emphasis is on finding the right answer rather than the learning process, the Fixed Mindset student will give up if they encounter difficulty.  A person with Growth Mindset sees challenges as opportunities to problem solve, think creatively, apply novel solutions, and persist through difficulties. 

What can we do about this? 

· Encourage students for their effort rather than their achievement (“Wow, I can tell you really worked hard to find that answer” rather than “Wow, you got the right answer, you must be really smart.”) 

· Allow children to see us as adults learning new things and verbalize how we work through the difficulties of new challenges (and the feelings of success when we grow!)

· Encourage your children to take opportunities to learn outside their comfort zone (new hobby, sport, new environment, challenging homework/project, etc.) and talk with them about their new learning and celebrate growth

· Throw the old saying out the window; “Practice Makes Perfect.”  Instead, adopt the new idea that I have seen posted in many Barrows classrooms; “Practice Makes Better.” 

Heather Leonard, Principal

Dweck, C.S. (2006). Mindset, The new psychology of success. New York. Ballantine Books


Red Sox Day

Barrows Students root for their Red Sox!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Amazing Artists

Check out some of the creative work your students have created;

Whole School Mural

Color Birds by our 1/2 day K class

 Paper Sculptures by our 2nd graders

Sculptures by our 5th graders


Monday, October 21, 2013

Monster Mash!

What a fun community event on Friday!  Thank you to our wonderful PTO for hosting this event.  I saw so many creative student costumes.  Families seemed to have a great time.  Check out a few of the staff pictures below. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What's the deal with the table?

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of a table in my office and left you wondering what it was... Please see below for a current picture of my table.  You will notice student names written on it.  As I get to know students through visits to my office, announcements, etc. I am asking them to sign my table.  I hope that it will be filled with names of Barrows students by the end of the year!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why didn't students have school? What were the teachers doing today?

Today was an In-Service day for teachers and no school for students.  So what did teachers do with their time today?

Barrows staff spent their day in a variety of trainings.  All K-6 classroom and special education teachers and paraprofessionals participated in trainings on the new math curriculum with trainers from Math in Focus.  Additionally they spent time collaborating with district-wide colleagues to create cover sheets for the new curriculum assessments that will be used as a communication tool with parents to indicate how students performed on their end-of-unit assessments. 

Other work done today included preparation and planning for the new Health/Wellness curriculum, planning for individual student needs, viewing a presentation by Boston Children's Hospital, preparing for meeting students' social/emotional needs, updating literacy benchmarks, and creating District Determined Measures (DDMs.) 

This work is key to your child's day-to-day learning and is not possible to complete in short periods of planning time and requires staff to work with their counterparts across the district.  Although our teaching and learning time is our priority, this work will help us do the best job we can!

I encourage you to attend the information session about the Math in Focus program information session for parents that is taking place tomorrow, Wednesday, October 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the RMHS Performing Arts Center and will feature a guest presenter from Math in Focus.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Friday Assembly & a Thank You!

What an engaging assembly we had on Friday with Hero Artist Rob Surette, his speed painting, and inspiring words to our students.  Check out some of our pictures below.

Also - a thank you to the Grant family for hosting me at their house for an evening meet & greet.  I enjoyed the time with you and appreciate those that were able to take time to talk with me.

President Lincoln

Who believes in themselves and know they will reach their dream? 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Barrows Update

Hello everybody!

I have to say, it really feels that we're off and rolling, students and staff are deep into learning, engaged in interesting lesson, and connected together as classroom communities.

Our all-school assembly on 9/18 students brainstormed lists of rules that would be important for our school community.  This past week students had the opportunity to vote on the Barrows School rules and they identified their top 5.  Check out the great ideas our students came up with:

Everyday everyone should come to school knowing that Barrows is a safe place to be!

     *Give your teachers, classmates, and school respect
     *Be nice and include everyone
     *No double-d behavior (dangerous/destructive)
     *Always try your best
     *Have fun

Clearly the Barrows School Community feels it is important to be respectful, be safe, try your best, and have fun!  Nice work students!

Students participating in "That's Me!" (Ask your child about it!)

Coming up on Friday we have another all-school gathering to enjoy an enrichment opportunity hosted by our PTO.  We will view "Hero Art" a presentation.  More information can be found here: