About Barbara, Writer/Teacher & About Attentionology

Writing and teaching in her own name and as The Lovable Poet, Barbara teaches poetry, narrative composition, and other kinds of writing. Schools that contract for her services select their preferred genre and grade level for Barbara’s teaching.

Barbara has brought poetry day programs, Poetry Odyssey and Story Odyssey writer residencies to elementary, middle and high schools in the Triangle region of North Carolina, US, since 2000.

As of spring, 2024, Barbara has taught over 17,000 students and provided teaching resources to more than 700 teachers and media center directors, working as an independent guest teacher and with The United Arts Council of Raleigh, NC/Wake County’s Artists in the Schools Program.

Barbara’s current focus: grades K – 5. Her excellence as a writer, teacher and workshop presenter in these grades is best expressed by administrators, teachers, students and parents she has served. A sampling of testimonials follow:

“Thanks so much for all of your wonderful work with our second graders! Both the children and the teachers learned so much…”- Virginia Cardenas, Principal, Conn Global Communications Magnet ES, Raleigh, NC

“I’ve heard lots of positive feedback from both students and teachers about the week you spent with our second grade classes!” – Dawnette Scott, Parent/Cultural Arts Representative Partnership Elementary School PTA, Raleigh, NC

“Barbara, thank you. The children loved it (writer residency) and we enjoyed it too! See you again.” – Debbie Slais, 3rd Grade Teacher, Lacy ES, Raleigh, NC

“Ms. Cleary makes me think beyond what I could ever imagine!” – Parker Owen, 4th Grader, Swift Creek ES, Cary, NC

“You have a special gift of storytelling. Thanks!”- Lori Goforth Shaw, Fourth Grade Teacher, Cary Elementary School, Cary, NC 

“From the moment she enters a classroom, the students are spellbound by her vivacity for language and learning.” – Angie Stafford, 5th Grade Teacher, West Lake Elementary School, Apex, NC 

“Thank you so much for the writing projects you brought. My son is a bright boy who loves math and says he hates to write. It has been great for him to work with an author and try new styles and experimenting.” – Catherine Stelpflug, LART Partnership Elementary, Raleigh, NC

“Thanks for all your efforts and enthusiasm with my students.  You were and inspiration to me as well.” – Valita Papes, 7th Grade Language Arts Teacher, East Millbrook Middle School, Raleigh, NC

To address the growing challenge that teachers face holding students’ attention in instructional settings, Barbara began publishing her blog, Attentionology in spring, 2010.  Concurrently she is writing related classroom management resources and developing Attentionology teacher training workshops.

In addition to teaching in K – 12 public and private school classes, Barbara has led Pre-school Programs and Family Workshops for the North Carolina Museum of Art since February, 2008.  Her workshops merge writing with visual arts.

Since 2005, Barbara has also entertained and inspired adult residents of Triangle, NC area clubs, professional groups and retirement communities with her theme-based Poetry Parties and Writing Workshops.

Barbara is the author of numerous published poems, including Cold Hands; a play, A Wreath For Snowball; a column and teaching ideas in Instructor and she is the writer/producer of The Daily Conservationist radio vignette that aired in eastern North Carolina from 1992 – 2002.

Barbara’s experience in broadcast media is diverse.  She originated and produced TeachNet which aired on The North Carolina News Network in 1991 and 1992.  Barbara also wrote and produced a Theme Song, Take A Moment And Teach, for an educational campaign of the North Carolina Pediatric Society that aired on WNCT-TV in 1991 and she co-hosted Carolina Today on WNCT-TV 9, Greenville, NC in 1979 and 1980.

As a member of the Association for Childhood Education International™ (ACEI), Barbara draws on her travels, diverse background and experience to form a solid foundation for her award-winning writing and teaching.

Barbara’s love of animals is evident in her writing and work with children and adults. One of her creative K – 5 teaching tools, “Petey, the pug-nosed poetry pup,” has a zipper full of poems on bones. Barbara’s tools and tricks to catch and keep kids’ attention and help them learn are featured in her blog, attentionology.com  Read more below:

At•ten•tion•ol•o•gy  noun  \ə-ˈten(t)-shən-ˈä-lə-jē\

  1. The study of catching and keeping attention.
  2. Speaking or writing about attention.

The relevance of attention is unmistakable in today’s global economy. The sights and sounds of the ubiquitous screens of today’s technology can make focusing difficult for anyone. This can be especially true of children in classroom settings. Attentionology started as a collection of techniques to peak and keep attention in class developed on the job by Barbara Cleary in Wake County, NC’s Artists in the Schools program. Barbara goes into a classroom as a visiting writer with only five days to help students get good work done. She began writing the blog to share her insights with other educators.

Over time the scope of the blog has expanded to cover attention catching and keeping techniques suitable inside and outside the classroom. Writing on a post-a-week schedule, Barbara has reached readers in over 135 countries.

In 2016, Barbara expanded her involvement in integrating the arts in education by assisting in the promotion of Waverly Artists Group Gallery in Cary, NC. Member artists donate resources to area schools. Read more at http://www.waverlyartistsgroup.com/

Use the Archive page to explore Attentionology in more depth, and please participate in educational discussions by sharing your comments on posts that you find useful. Please also share your thoughts on the site and let us know how you would like to see Attentionology grow and develop.

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