Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Using Technology to Foster Friendships

At Green Meadow, we often have new students enroll who just moved to the U.S. from another country. Today, I had a 30 minute conversation with a new parent using an iphone. Neither of us could speak the other's language, yet we were able to answer each other's questions and form a positive connection using an app. 'Google Translate' allows you to type or speak into a microphone, then quickly translate it into the language of your choice. The app also has a camera feature that can read and translate documents. Below is a screenshot of how the app changed a PTO flyer into Portuguese. The wording popped up in English prior to being translated. Best of all, the google app is free!

I also discovered gmail has a feature in the upper right hand corner that allows you to select "translate message" from a drop down menu on desktops. It is located next to the reply button once an email message is open.

Arriving in a new country can be very isolating, often children are not invited on playdates or to birthday parties because it is hard for parents to coordinate plans with a language barrier.  I am sharing these free resources in the hope that Green Meadow families will use them to communicate and develop friendships with newcomers. In this global age, becoming friends with classmates from other countries can be such an enriching experience!
Gmail drop down link
Free Google App

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mobil Math Gift

Sanjay Maraj, a Green Meadow graduate, presented a
check from his family's business. 
The Green Meadow School recently recieved a donation from Main Street Mobil gas station.  The $500 check will be used to purchase books to support our math program. Thanks to their generosity, each K-3 classroom will receive a copy of Fundamentals, a text full of game ideas to support mathematical fluency and reasoning. 

Bingo For Books

PTO Presidents, Ann Stachowicz and Tammy Kim,
standing in front of the new plaque.
Over 300 family members attended our annual 'Bingo For Books' event on March 22nd. Mike Mehigan, 3rd grade teacher, did a fabulous job as our emcee. He called out sight words, Dr. Suess books, and teacher names... then ran through the crowd giving students a chance to shout 'Bingo' into the microphone. A number of staff members and teenage volunteers checked bingo boards then sent winners to claim their prize. Every child went home with one or more new books thanks to Title One grant money.

In recognition of their efforts to fundraise and install a new sound system, a plaque honoring the PTO was installed in the cafeteria. Many families commented the new system made for a much more enjoyable evening.


I often get emails from parents inquiring how indoor/outdoor recess is decided. An equal number of parents seem to advocate for going out as staying in on days when the weather is unusually cold or wet. Therefore, I thought it might be helpful to share how the decision is made.

Since fresh air and excercise helps prepare students to learn, we try to send them outside whenever weather conditions allow.  To keep them indoors or out is always a challenging call to make. I consult the current temperature and wind chill factor via an app and thermometer, then compare it to the 'Child Care Weather Watch' chart which is used by most schools (see below). In general, we go outside if it is 20 degrees or above. The chart also takes into considerations times when the temperature is above 20, but wind chill makes it fall into the danger zone. For example, many days this year the actual temperature hoovered around 20, but windchill made it feel under 10 degrees.

Sometimes we have to take into consideration unexpected factors. For example, one wintery day this year freezing rain occurred overnight and the pavement was full ice. Given it resembled a skating rink, we did not want to risk having young children fall and obtain concussions from hitting the pavement. Another day, unusually heavy rain left huge puddles on 80% of the play area. After the first recess, we had so many children with wet socks and sneakers a decision was made to move the remaining recesses indoors. This year, it has been more difficult to go outside because we have a limited play area. We are still not able to use most of the playground area because newly planted grass will need to mature until late spring.

Coffee Chat on PBIS

Friday, April 6th, from 8:45am-9:45am there will be a parent coffee at Green Meadow. 
All caregivers are welcome to join us (note: this is an early release day for afternoon conferences).

Ann Rutherford, school counselor, and Catrina Crociani, parent representative, will provide an overview of PBIS and plans to implement it at Green Meadow. PBIS stands for 'Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports.'

Below are examples of two PBIS videos created by other schools. They were shown to Green Meadow students during recent grade levels. Since many students are visual learners, these videos were a fun way to reinforce bathroom expectations. 

Ask your child to explain the 'Rule of 2'. 
As a visual reminder, the sign below is posted in GMS bathrooms.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

SEPAC April Meeting

On Tuesday, April 3, the Maynard SEPAC hosts an Update on Special Education in Maynard from Carol Gahan, the Director of Student Services for Maynard Public Schools. She will discuss the current status of Maynard special education from the perspective of her first two years in the district. This is also an opportunity to ask questions about any aspect of the special education process. Come join us at Fowler Library at 7 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there. 

If you have questions, or to RSVP, please contact Karen Heath at or at 978-394-6183.

Community Forum

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day

On March 21st, GMS students and staff members donned crazy mix matched socks to raise awareness for the inclusion and well being of people with Down Syndrome. The socks were a reminder to celebrate diversity while remembering 'we are more alike than different.' The idea was suggested by Alyssa Gwordz, a member of the Maynard High School student goverment.       #rockyoursocks

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

PTO Gift of Sound!

Nance Messina, gr. 2 teacher, tried out the new sound
system at an all school assembly on Dr. Suess's birthday.

Over February vacation, the GMS PTO arranged for a new state of the art AV sound system to be professionally installed in the cafeteria at Green Meadow! A proper AV system has been lacking at GM for years, making it difficult to hear during presentations and performances. The PTO identified this need last year, and worked diligently to purchase and arrange installation of a system that would meet our needs now and in years to come. The gift will be used for open houses, school concerts, all school assemblies, and many other events.

We are grateful to the PTO Board for facilitating many fundraising events to fund this gift. Throughout the year, the PTO donates to a number of enrichment activities, including these March/April inhouse programs: 

Kindergarten- Curious Creatures 
2nd Grade-  Discovery Museum & Windows on Wildlife 
1st Grade- Discovery Museum 
3rd Grade- Paul Revere House 

Thank you to all the GMS families who donate their time and funds to enrich our school!!

Cradles to Crayons Service Project

A collection box will be in the GMS school lobby until April 6th to support a service project facilitated by a Fowler student. Below is his letter explaining what items are needed.

K Writers & Artists

These are some of the beautiful works hanging on the walls in our kindergarten classrooms. As you can see, the students have a variety of interests and each child develops his/her skills at their own pace. We have many amazing writers and artists at GMS!

Curious Kids & Creatures

Kindergarten students were captivated by a visit from ‘Curious Creatures’. The presenter showed a variety of animals while sharing educational facts about their habitats and characteristics. Students were able to touch a 75 year old turtle, a rabbit, a bearded dragon, a skunk, and several other animals.

This event was sponsored by our PTO- thanks to funds raised by GMS families!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Screenagers March 28th

Please watch this important video, a preview to an event sponored by our PTOs.

The potential impact of digital technologies on a child's developing brains is a concerned shared by many in the medical and educational community. Over the last decade, there has been a spike in anxiety and behavioral disorders. Many families are impacted by the devestating effects of gaming addictions on children and parents. I urge parents to educate themselves to the risks, be cognizant of screen use in your home, and reach out for help if needed. I believe this is a significant issue that will greatly impact society in the upcoming years. Thank you to our PTO's for sponsoring this event!

The event is free. Please RSVP to ensure adequate seatingScreenager RSVP

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Choose Kind

On Valentine's Day, a number of GMS staff and students wore 'Choose Kind' Teeshirts. 

Since this logo fits in so nicely with our core values to be "Kind, Safe, Learners", our PTO found a local vendor who agreed to offer similar shirts for only $5. Order forms for the teeshirts will be going home via backpacks.  On March 31st, our school is planning to have a "Kindness Day" in which everyone will be encouraged to wear something to promote kindness. To include everyone, those without teeshirts will be given emblems with a logo to add to their attire.

Rock your Socks March 21st

Alyssa Gwozdz, a senior at Maynard High School and member of the student government, sent me the above flyer. She invited us to join other schools in creating awareness for the inclusion and well being of people with Down Syndrome by participating in “Rock Your Socks Day” on March 21st.  On that day, GMS students and staff are invited to wear their craziest mismatched socks to represent that we are more alike then different.