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Ms. Holloran's Writer's Corner

Friendly Reminders

posted May 21, 2017, 12:53 PM by Christine Roman

May 19, 2017

 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

It has been a busy week with our spring concert, students continuing to take our state tests and adjusting to the 90-degree weather!

 

·         Please look in your child’s backpack daily for important notices and field trip permission forms.  The end-of-the-year is very busy and we want parents to know and be aware of all the different events. 

·         Black fly season has started!  With our students going outside for recess and physical education classes, it is essential that each morning before coming to school parents apply bug spray on their children. 

·         Only water bottles are allowed to be kept at students’ desks throughout the day.  As the temperature starts to climb it is essential for learning that our students keep hydrated throughout the day. 

·         In addition to applying bug spray, families should be apply sunscreen in the morning too. 

·         With the sun setting later at night and many of our students participating in TTCC baseball and softball, families are very active and busy this time of year.  However, children continue to need consistent bedtime routines and plenty of sleep! 

·         Student safety is very important to us!  In our student/parent handbook on page 27 it states, “Due to safety concerns at the elementary level, flip-flop style footwear is not allowed.”  Students are very active on the playground during recess time, appropriate footwear is essential for their enjoyment and safety.”  

         Enjoy the beautiful spring weekend! 

Super Heroes

posted May 14, 2017, 1:23 PM by Christine Roman

May 12, 2017

 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

Our PTO and families have done an amazing job this week, celebrating our faculty and staff by using the super hero theme!  Today our students, faculty and staff had an opportunity to dress as super heroes.  It has been fun to see the variety of t-shirts, costumes and masks.  I also loved that a few students dressed as military personnel, fire fighters, teachers and police officers.

 

Growing up with a dad in education and now with my years of experience, teaching has changed and evolved over time.  Even in my own experience, I would say teaching now is far more stressful and challenging.  You would think that now with advances in technology, expansion of resources (i.e., numerous curriculum choices/Teacher-Pay-Teacher) and assessment tools, teaching would be easier.  Sometimes more is not always the best!  Also, teachers can no longer be the adult at the front of the room, delivering their knowledge (which, in my opinion, is a good thing).  They need to understand and effectively manage classroom behaviors, engage students who have lived from birth with access to digital devices, know that their classroom assessment scores will be shared and ranked by the local newspaper and be diverse not just in their own curriculum but with assessment, special education and basic first aid.

 

This week, students and parents were invited to write words of appreciation to our faculty and staff.  Here are just a few:

·         You understand me and bring out the best in me

·         You are patient and kind

·         You always have a smile on your face

·         You help us when we are stumped or stuck

·         You help me with words

·         You come up with fun and creative ways to teach

We are fortunate to have a group of dedicated, talented and compassionate adults working with our students throughout their entire school day!  We are also lucky to have an amazing partnership with our families and support from our local community.

 

The best part of my day is seeing smiles on faces and the positive interactions between adults and children!

 

Have a great weekend!

Children & Feelings

posted May 9, 2017, 6:36 AM by Christine Roman   [ updated May 9, 2017, 6:37 AM ]

May 5, 2017

 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

I have been reflecting and reading about the topic of children and feelings.  Earlier this year, I wrote about children who struggle with anxiety and some resources I had obtained through Lynn Lyons, LICSW and Reid Wilson, PhD.  In looking through my files, I came across notes from a bullying conference I went to a couple of years ago.  I thought I would share some of the information from this conference.

 

Top 5 things that children are afraid of: 

  1. Loss of parents (through death, divorce, deployment)
  2. Being embarrassed in front of friends
  3. A disability will be noticed (can be a physical, educational or emotional disability)
  4. Violence (domestic, on the streets, and terrorist attacks)
  5. Being poor or homeless

The average NH household has the television on for eight hours a day, but household members spend just eight minutes in conversations with family members.  That doesn’t leave a lot of time to talk to our children about their fears and feelings.  Some children are very good about initiating conversations about how they’re feeling, but others need trusted adults to open a dialogue about their emotions.  Unfortunately, some children’s fears give rise to anger which can lead to inappropriate behavior, including bullying and school violence.

 

Dr. Malcom Smith, UNH professor of Family Studies, and founder of Courage to Care suggests that parents turn off the TV, sit down for dinner and open conversation at the table.  Or if that is not the best time, a drive in the car may be another opportunity to converse.  Smith recommends starting the conversation with one of two leading statements and not the typical question, “How was school today?”

  1. Name one good thing that happened at school today.
  2. Name one bad thing that happened at school today.

By talking with children more and listening intently to them, parents will learn about not only what happened at school, but how they’re feeling.

 

I hope this information was helpful…have a great weekend!

Smartphones/Technology

posted Apr 22, 2017, 7:30 AM by Christine Roman

April 24, 2017


Dear Parents and Guardians,


I have recently read two new articles relating to children and technology. One article was called, “What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone?” in the NY Times. The other article came from the NY Post and it was called, “It’s digital heroin: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies.”


In the first article, the consensus was that the longer parents wait to give their child a smartphone the better. In a study published by Common Sense Media they polled 1,240 parents and children and found 50% of the children admitted that they were addicted to their smartphones. It also found that 66% of parents felt their children used mobile devices too much, and 52 % of children agreed. About 36% of parents said they argue with their children daily about device use.


In the article they talked not just about the addictive distractions, but also how phones can detract children from schoolwork, impact them socially, and expose children to issues like online bullies, child predators, and sexting. As an administrator every year, I will deal with incidences of students sending inappropriate texts and/or pictures and how those interactions also impact their learning and relationships within our school building. “Last year, at least 100 students at a Colorado high school were embroiled in a scandal that involved trading naked pictures of themselves on their mobile devices.”


Although I didn’t care for the title of the second article, the information intrigued me. This article focused on all digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and video systems. According to a 2013 Policy Statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 8 to 10 year-olds spend 8 hours a day with various digital media while teenagers spend 11 hours in front of screens. One in three kids are using tablets or smartphones before they can talk. For many children addictive behaviors start to appear and they are having a hard time stopping or controlling how much they play. The article shared a mother’s experience with her son and his technology use and addiction.


In reflecting on this article, we as educators needs to be cautious of how much we promote computer games such as Minecraft and other education apps. We sometimes send a mixed message of how much learning and problem-solving students can experience by playing these games. However, most of these skills can be obtained by building with Legos, playing board games and participating in extra-curricular opportunities.


Both articles shared different thoughts and ideas for parents as they navigate in our world of technology. They mentioned to wait as long as you can before giving your child a smartphone. When parents feel it is appropriate or needed, the experts recommend starting with a simple mobile device that features only calling. Then once your child shows responsibility to change to a phone with both calling and texting. Finally, opting for smartphones in later teen years. For technology, research and medical studies are publishing reports that suggest to significant limit screen time for toddlers. Balance and “less is more” are two terms used in both articles.


The last item I found interesting in reading these articles was that “Steve Jobs was a notoriously known as a low-tech parent and some Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech schools.”


I know personally during vacation, I am going to make a conscious effort to turn off my computer, not look at my email as often and to turn off my cellphone. I am going to get out on the golf course, spend time with family, and after dinner read a book instead of turning on the television or logging into Facebook.


Enjoy your April vacation and see you back Monday, May 1st!


Wisdom

posted Apr 17, 2017, 7:18 AM by Christine Roman   [ updated Apr 17, 2017, 7:19 AM ]

April 13, 2017


Dear Parents and Guardians,


Who do you get your wisdom from? How do we gain knowledge? Who do you seek out when you are facing a challenge?

All of us would have different answers to these questions. However, if I had to answer these questions I would say: I gain wisdom from reflecting on my different experiences throughout the day. I gain wisdom from watching others and listening to how they have dealt with different situations. I gain wisdom from going to a quiet place and listening to my inner heart. For knowledge, I seek out individuals I respect and ask them questions and listen to their advice. I stay up-to date in my profession by reading books and articles from different educational resources. I attend different conferences and spend time speaking with administrators, teachers and support staff. To gain a broader prospective and understanding of student behavior and choices, I eat lunch with our students. Their comments, dialogue and insight provide me with a broader spectrum of their growth and development. When I am facing a challenge, I call my parents, siblings and closest friends. I am fortunate to have these individuals in my life to guide me and offer support in those tough times.

Sometimes we gain wisdom and knowledge from a stranger—here is an example:

Reg Brett, a 90 year-old man, once wrote his down his list of how to celebrate growing older and his life lessons. I would like to share some of them with you.

Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

When in doubt, just take the next small step.

Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, would we grab ours back.

Over prepare, then go with the flow.

No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

To see his entire list go to: http://benades.blogspot.com/2009/11/45-life-lessons-by-reg-brett-age-90.html

Have a great weekend!

Ann

Crazy couple of weeks

posted Apr 7, 2017, 8:11 AM by Christine Roman

April 7, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It has been a crazy couple of weeks. Last week, I came down with the flu and the week prior, I was swamped with administrative paperwork! I am starting to feel better and some deadlines have passed.

Every month, I receive a magazine called, Educational Leadership written by ASCD (Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development). This month’s theme is “Differences Not Disabilities.” I will usually do a “picture walk”, read the titles of the articles, captions and quotes. Then if something catches my eye, I will read the entire article. One such article was entitled, “How Did You Get to Harvard?” by Thomas Hehir. On the first page, the opening says “How does a student who faces major obstacles to accessing the curriculum make it to Harvard? By developing the right learning strategies.” The author Hehir started teaching at Harvard sixteen years ago after a 30-year career as a special education teacher and administrator. Although the article focused on students with disabilities, I believe the information gained can be beneficial for any student.

Here are the highlights:

 The majority of the students by the end of middle school had an understanding of their disability, knew how they learned and what tools and skills they needed to be successful.

 The student, parent(s) and educators didn’t accept that their disability should limit his/her potential.

 They had adults in their lives that believed in them!

 At times, the students would receive specialized instruction however they also had full access to a challenging curriculum.

 They made sure that some of their academic load focused on their strengths such as the arts, writing, oral debating, or athletics.

 They developed strategies—how to effectively organize their writing; using text-to- speech technology; coping skills for anxiety; organizational tools.

 They understood that there would be highs and low in their educational career but they set the bar high.

This four-page article just summarized the finding of the work done by Thomas Hehir. I am going to add his entire book to my summer reading list! I look forward to finding additional ways in which, even at the elementary level, we can have all of your students set their goals high no matter the obstacle!

Have a great weekend!

Things to do on February Vacation

posted Mar 5, 2017, 3:45 PM by Christine Roman

February 24, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians, 

We made it—February vacation is here! I thought I would share with you different ideas that your family could do during vacation time. I did a little research on a few websites and thought I would share what I found. This is not a full list of places that provide these opportunities, but it is a start. Feel free to check out VisitNH.gov or WMUR-Escape Outside for more details and ideas. 

For the adventurous type:
Ziplining—Attitash Mountain, Gunstock Mountain Resort, Bretton Woods, Cranmore 
Snow tubing—Bretton Woods, Cranmore, Gunstock, King Pine, Pats Peak
Snowshoeing—Franconia Notch State Park, The Flume Gorge, Greenfield State Park

Low Cost Winter Activities for Families:
Before heading out to these places, check in with the Gordon-Nash Library as they might have family passes or discounted tickets.

New England Ski Museum, Franconia Notch
SEE Science Center, Manchester
Sledding on Wagon Hill, Durham
Hood Museum of Art, Hanover
New Hampshire Children’s Museum, Dover 
Cheshire Children’s Museum, Keene

Free:
Visiting our Gordon-Nash Library
NH State House—take a tour
Build forts inside with blankets and pillows
Write a play and perform it for family and friends
Write a song

Whatever you decide to do over this next week, I hope it is filled with laughter, joy and amazement! Safe journey to all traveling out of town. I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s stories of what they did over February vacation.

Reading at Home

posted Feb 19, 2017, 2:58 PM by Christine Roman

February 17, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians, 

We are finishing up our middle of the year data and starting to look at results.  We analyze the data in at least three ways:  individual, class and whole school.  Our faculty and staff are celebrating the successes and working hard to develop systemic changes to help with our areas that need improvement.

When looking at a systemic change, we discuss a variety of things such as, our delivery of instruction, the intensity of the instruction and the group’s dynamic.  We do not look at just one assessment tool.  We try to triangulate our data.

Research has studied the impact of students reading at home.  Below is a summary of a study done by Nagy and Herman.

WHY READ 20 MINUTES AT HOME?

Student A Reads

Student B Reads

Student C Reads

20 minutes per day

5 minutes per day

1 minute per day

3.600 minutes per school year

900 minutes per school year

180 minutes per school year

1,800,000 words per year

282,000 words per year

8,000 words per year

Scores in the 90th percentile on standardized tests

Scores in the 50th percentile on standardized tests

Scores in the 10th percentile on standardized tests

If students start reading for 20 minutes per night in Kindergarten, by the end of 6th grade, Student A will have read for the equivalent of 60 school days, Student B will have read for 12 school days, and Student C will have read for 3.


It is our hope as a team, we will have all of our students become the best scholars they can be.  At school, we will provide a safe learning environment and rigorous instruction using research-based curriculum.  At home, students should be reading and completing their homework. Together what a difference we can make!

Have a great weekend!

Miscellaneous Things

posted Jan 29, 2017, 2:42 PM by Christine Roman

January 27, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians, 

With us being about half-way through the school year, we are asking parents to take a minute to update phone, work and emergency information. If any of this information has changed, please call or send in a note with your child. It is imperative that we have the latest and easiest way to reach you during the school year. Our nurse needs to be able to reach you when your child is ill and needs to be picked up. Thank you in advance for sending in this information.

I had the opportunity to spend some time at Ragged Mountain yesterday with our Ski Program. I want to thank all of the faculty, staff and parent volunteers for making our 5-week Winter Activity Program a success. I love to hear that our students are trying new things and persevering through learning new skills. I enjoy seeing the smiles on our students’ faces as they are having fun, cooperating with friends and for many, participating in life-long sports such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and snowshoeing. We have one more week of fun to go!

To help celebrate the New England Patriots making it into the Superbowl, on Friday, February 3, we ask all faculty, staff and students to wear Patriots gear or their colors - red, white and blue. Let’s have some fun and kick off Super Bowl Weekend by showing our NHCS spirit!

Lastly, I want to remind you that next Saturday, February 4, is the district’s Deliberative Session at Newfound Regional High School, starting at 10:00 a.m. Over the past several months, both the School Board and Budget Committee have met to discuss and debate next year’s school budget. While few citizens attend School Board and/or School Budget Committee meetings, these committees do listen to input, and encourage you to provide it in the future. Your most important opportunity in affecting any desired change lies in attending the First Deliberative Session where interested voters determine what ends up on the ballot for all voters. It is at this meeting that you, the taxpayer, may accept, lower or raise the budget. If a motion is made to amend or to accept the budget, discussion will follow, after which time a vote will be taken. Childcare is available at the high school while parents attend this meeting. Voting day for the district will be on March 14. If you have any questions regarding this process, feel free to give me a call.

Have a great weekend!

Reflections While Being Sick

posted Jan 16, 2017, 6:11 AM by Christine Roman

January 13, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Last week, I was under the weather and spent several days on my couch, resting. In between naps and drinking tea, I read and watched some television. This time provided me with an opportunity to rest, learn and reflect. I enjoyed listening to all different sports reporters and both coaches as they prepared for the College Football National Championship. I read some articles from ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) and different teaching blogs. I watched a few interviews and news programs that focused on the ending of President Obama’s presidency.

At our faculty and staff meetings this week, we discussed the following quotes:

 “The big picture of curriculum is thinking about how all the individual units form a cohesive whole and keeping that at the forefront of your curriculum design, process, rather than taking a unit-by- unit approach.” -- Angela DiMichele Lalor

 “When ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together in collective effort, things change for the better.” -- Barack Obama

 “Hold each other accountable—you can’t do it by yourself.” -- Dabo Swinney

 Dennis Miranda said, “As you reflect upon where you would like to be at the end of this school year, what one word would you consider to shape that journey?” Some of our words included: nurturing, consistent, mindful, perseverance, juggle, dedicated, happiness, joy, compassionate and thoughtful.

My reflection from reading some teaching blogs consisted of our need to continue to model even basic skills to our students. For example, it is always a challenge at the elementary level to have our students in a timely fashion get dressed and undressed for winter recess. One suggestion from a teacher was for families to purchase a reusable grocery bag and students will always put their snow boots and snow pants into the bag at school. It was recommended that we take the time to model with students what are the right and wrong ways to get dressed for recess and undressed after coming in from outside. We can make this fun by having the teachers try on their winter gear by putting their mittens on first and then trying to put on boots and snow pants. Lastly, we should teach our students a routine. In the younger grades, we can even make a checklist or picture poster for students. One teacher shared her routine that she teaches her students: 1)snow pants; 2)boots (sneakers/shoes) into recycled grocery bag; 3)scarf; 4)coat and zip; 5)hat; 6)mittens. The routine to get undressed was: 1)mittens; 2)hat and mittens go into hat; 3)scarf; 4)jacket; 5)hat with mittens and scarf go into sleeve of jacket; 6)jacket on hook in cubbie/locker; 7)snow pants into bag; 8)boots into bag; 9)sneakers on. For some of our students, the steps that need to be accomplished for going out to recess or coming in can be overwhelming or time-consuming. So the more, as adults, we can help them with organization and practice, the more successful our students will be.

Have a great, long weekend!

P.S. Please join us next Friday, January 20 th , as we celebrate the retirement of Mrs. Knott-Garon. We invite you and your children to come into the MPR from 2:15-3:30 p.m. to spend some time socializing, sharing a story, saying thanks and wishing her well. We will have a brief ceremony at 3:00 p.m. Snacks and beverages will be provided. Katie’s last day will be Tuesday, January 31 st .

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