Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tech Use at Home? How Much - How Little?

Hello parents!

I would love to begin a discussion about educational technology and kids' use of screens for student free time.

I came across this article, which is excellent:  Melinda Gates Wasn't Prepared For the Effect of Technology on Her Kids

It is true that educational technology engages students -- and has a definite space in our classrooms. Our students do need to learn to be technology savvy -- and should learn how to create and communicate in different platforms.

I remain, however, concerned about the use of technology overall for our kids - especially during their free time. I applaud creating a Family Media Plan:  Create a Family Media Plan. Here you can decide as a family how much technology is okay. It behooves us to do some research about the effect of technology on developing kids -- socially and emotionally.

With that, I also recommend staying on top of your child's use of social media -- who and what they text, what apps they use -- and their use of video games. My one tip is that all cell phones be turned off in the evening and placed in a basket in the kitchen. Cell phones are mini-computers after all -- and can create a scenario where students are not getting enough sleep or are spending too much time on social media.

Later this year I would like to host a parent evening on cyber awareness. In the meantime -- let's read on!

Monday, September 25, 2017

September 25, 2017

Be a Champion and Build Resiliency

When you were a child, who was your Champion? What adult in your influenced you? Who stood up for you through thick and thin? Encouraged you? Was it your parent? An aunt or uncle, grandparent? Teacher? Family Friend?

At our Back to School Night evening, I touched upon a couple of very important topics that are near and dear to me. First of all I addressed I addressed the concept of the role that all adults can play in our children’s lives - the role of Champion. Secondly I talked about how to build resiliency in our kids -- how to focus on effort rather than test scores or grades, and how to praise specifically for perseverance.
The two are closely linked.

Dr. Robert Brooks says: “Research studies have found that adults who overcame adversity and misfortune have at least one thing in common: someone in their life who believed in them and stood by them.”

Psychologist Julius Segal comments along the same lines: “…One factor for resilience turns out to be the presence in their lives of a charismatic adult—a person with whom they can identify and from whom they gather strength.  And in a surprising number of cases, that person turns out to be a teacher.”

A great article on resiliency that quotes both Segal and Brooks:

We know is that a Champions in a student’s life can be parents, teachers, relatives, or neighbors -- any adult who has a strong supportive relationship with a child. That includes volunteers at school – which is why I so strongly support Project Cornerstone’s ABC Reader Program. For more information, click on this link:

 We have a strong program at our school – and always welcome more caring adults to read to our kids. Please let me know if you would like more information and would like to volunteer. We are all Champions here at school! 

“Every child deserves a champion — an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”

— Rita F. Pierson

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hi everybody!

I am very excited to tell you about a new program that we just embraced at Matsumoto School: MindUp.

In our busy lives, students today  feel the pressure to achieve at a deep level. The influence of current events also impacts children...  I personally am deeply concerned about the stress level of our students in our society. We need to make shifts in how we approach achievement and help students navigate an uncertain climate. How can we help them with resiliency? As a result, I believe that it's important to teach kids how to pause, reflect, and be mindful so that they can map their own learning and feel a sense of self-efficacy.

As a result, I recently introduced an exciting, evidence-based social and emotional literacy curriculum to our school, MindUp from the Hawn Foundation, 2011. MindUp's goal is to help our students better engage in learning, limit their distractions, self-regulate their behavior and improve their focus and resiliency training. MindUP utilizes a brain-centered approach to integrating neuroscience, positive psychology, mindful awareness training and social and emotional learning, as tools for success in the classroom and in life.

MindUp states, "Simply put, in 15 lessons, MindUP helps a child enhance their self-awareness, concentration abilities, problem solving skills, pro-social behaviors (helping, sharing, and cooperating), while exploring positive human qualities, such as happiness, optimism, and gratitude. The Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has accredited MindUP and chosen the program as one of the few CASEL recommended SEL initiatives. MindUP has been rigorously researched, is evidence-based and schools who have used it reported improvement in their overall learning and classroom engagement."

Staff at Matsumoto school are excited as they begin to implement this program in the classrooms, TK - 6th grade!!

I invite you to come to our MindUp Parent Information Workshop on September 19 at 6:30 in the forum. I promise you will leave with tools you can use in your own life!

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 14th, 2017

Hello! Welcome back to a brand-new year!

I am looking forward to sharing what's happening at our school -- as well as thoughts about education, childhood development, Creative learning, and life!