Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"He who is afraid to ask is afraid of learning" ~Danish proverb


Friday, February 21, 2014

Resilience with Sesame St.

You have seen me post about "Growth Mindset" and developing "Grit" in our learners.  Resilience is another area along these lines that examines how we build up resiliency in our students that allows them to take risks, work through challenges, and deal with tough situations.  I found this blog post about the work Sesame Street is doing to build children's resilience to be very interesting.  Check it out with the link below.
"Resilience is an essential social/emotional ability that children need to be helped to develop."
"But we realized that resilience is not just about the big challenges, but also the equally important smaller ones that happen in everyday moments.  Everything from bedtime blues, to sibling rivalry, relocation or transition requires a level of resilience."
"As a society, we should focus on helping children become stronger academically, as equally as we do their social and emotional wellbeing.  As a society, we're so focused on helping children to become stronger academically, with a specific focus on literacy, math, etc. that oftentimes we forget that emotional wellbeing plays a major role in virtually everything they do."
Developing Resilience in Our Children With Help From Sesame Street 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What about confidence?

I enjoyed this post: "6 qualities kids need to succeed, and 1 they don't"

"In fact, confidence isn't a character strength at all, but instead the rather magical thing that starts to unfold inside children as they learn to know themselves, push out their boundaries, and get comfortable in their own skins. It's what grows bigger and stronger as they try, and fail, and try again. And as they learn to negotiate friendships, acquire skills, and begin to sense their own strength and spirit."

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February PTO Meeting

Thank you to Ms. Boston and Ms. Murphy who presented at the PTO meeting as teacher representatives to share with parents how iPads are being used in classrooms throughout Barrows K-5.  Parents got to use the iPads, and try out apps including Hopscotch, Educreations, and ShowMe.


Community Service

Wow!  Congrats to our Kindergarten students & staff, they exceeded their Mitten Tree goal - collecting 150 pairs of mittens to donate to Cradles to Crayons (a charity supporting children)!  Great work!

Also - one of our Barrows Girl Scout groups continues their collection after we return from vacation for the local charity Birthday Wishes.  This local group collects new toys and materials for birthday parties for homeless children that may not have a birthday party otherwise.  The collection box is in our front entryway for another week.

Support our students as they do good for the community around them! :)

Friday, February 14, 2014


Today is the last day before our February break.  In the StarBurst I shared a few ideas about your time during vacation;

Dear Barrows Families,
        This week we are going fully electronic with our StarBurst, no paper copies to go home in backpacks due to our Snow Day today.  This is an extended StarBurst, so be sure to check all 4 pages!
        February Vacation is next week.  Vacation is a great time for students to take a break, recharge, and enjoy time with their families and friends.  Consider ways you can continue to support learning in a fun way with your children during this break:

· READ- Read together, have popcorn/pajamas reading days with a blanket fort, read magazines/novels/short stories/comics/plays/poems/picture books, read a book then watch the movie and discuss them. 

· Play Games-  Playing games together can develop many positive student skills and executive functioning skills including increasing focus and attention, stamina, turn-taking, strategic thinking, communication, problem solving, fine motor skills, and more.

· Play outside-  Go outside, get physical exercise, tap into those creative fun activities that outdoor play encourages, and explore nature (winter is a great time for looking for animal tracks, changes in the landscape, the water cycle, and weather patterns.)

· Write- Write letters to family members, write stories or scripts to read together, write jokes or funny poems, or write goals for the remainder of the school year.

· Cook Together- Cooking is a great way to practice reading and following directions, use of math (measurement, time, fractions, etc.) and can bring in great conversations about health and wellness.

Please enjoy your vacation week and your time together. 
~Heather Leonard, Principal

Click here for the rest of this month's StarBurst:


5th grade Poetry & Valentine's Day

Check out pictures from the 5th grade Poetry Publishing Parties:

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!
(I have to say, this is the most fancy Valentine I've ever received!) :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Barrows is an inclusive community

Check out this wonderful contest supporting the arts and celebrating the inclusive community of Reading!  I hope Barrows students will share their talents!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Know a great young volunteer?

Nominate somebody today:
Top winners receive $10,000. Nominate through March 14. | View this email in a browser.
Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program
Nominate a young volunteer aged 6 to 18 who has made a difference in your community. Top winners each receive $10,000 for higher education.
Nominations accepted January 31-March 14, 2014. Nominators must be 21 or older.
Kohl's Cares: Committed to Kids' Health and Education
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Snow Day Today - see you Tomorrow!

Studying and Learning

Interesting information about studying and learning.  Still more information that "cramming" before a test isn't the way to go:

Four Student Misconceptions About Studying and Learning

            In this article in Faculty Focus, Maryellen Weimer (Penn State University) draws on the work of Stephen Chew to highlight four common beliefs that undermine college students’ efforts to learn [also true for many K-12 students]:

            Misconception #1: Learning is fast. “Students think that learning can happen a lot faster than it does,” says Weimer. “They think they can get what they need out of a chapter with one quick read through (electronic devices at the ready, snacks in hand, and ears flooded with music).” Student need to be taught how to interact with materials in ways that make learning sink in.

            Misconception #2: Knowledge is composed of isolated facts. When students use flash cards with only one term or concept per card, they memorize definitions but often fail to grasp higher-level concepts. Teachers should use test questions that ask students to relate definitions, use them to construct arguments, and apply them to new situations, and then work with students to modify their study techniques.

            Misconception #3: Doing well academically is a matter of inborn talent. “All of us have had students who tell us with great assurance that they can’t write, can’t do math, are horrible at science, or have no artistic ability,” says Weimer. Students who think this way don’t try as hard in weak areas and give up when they encounter difficulty. Teachers’ feedback is very important to getting these students to shift from a “fixed” to a “growth” mindset and to see that effort and strategy are the key variables in achievement.

            Misconception #4: Look Ma, I’m multi-tasking. The evidence is clear that the brain can’t simultaneously handle more than one cognitively demanding task, says Weimer. People who think they are successfully multitasking are in fact missing important information – and they don’t even realize it. Since many students won’t take our word for it, a demonstration may be necessary to prove the point.


“Four Student Misconceptions About Learning” by Maryellen Weimer in Faculty Focus, Jan. 29, 2014,

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Blog Entry...

This blog entry was shared with me by a few staff and parents.  I found it to be pretty powerful, especially in light of the work we're doing at Barrows, so I thought I would share.

"...we sat for a few minutes and talked about teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility it is. We agreed that subjects like math and reading are the least important things that are learned in a classroom. We talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger  community – and we discussed our mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals who are Kind and Brave above all."