Teach with Movies: Pairing Films with Learning Guides & Lesson Plans

Teach with Movies

Teach with Movies encompass more than 390 Learning Guides and lesson plans, as well as articles on using movies to further education.

Children love stories, and they love to learn from them. Stories take many different forms – they might be found in a picture book, told aloud from memory, read in a chapter book, or played out in real life, on a stage, or on a screen. Wherever they come from, stories help children to learn about the world around them. As adults, we make a conscious effort to help our children recognize what they’ve learned from a story, and the most common place to find stories meant for learning is in a book – but there are stories all around us, just waiting for their educational value to be taken advantage of!

Using resources offered by Teach with Movies, families can utilize the educational potential found in hundreds of movies for kids of all ages. Offering support specifically designed for parents, teachers and homeschooling families, Teach with Movies’ site is filled with movie guides that include ideas for lessons, conversation starters, follow-up activities, and more – all designed to encourage and support students’ learning… Read the rest of this entry »

7 Literary Guides for Expanding Family Reading Time

Literary Guides for Expanding Family Reading Time

Our Reading Resource series was featured here on Hilltown Families this past summer, sharing downloadable guides of children’s literature from graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England.

Looking for ways to enhance your family reading time? Hilltown Families has a wealth of resources for supporting families with kids of all ages in expanding the stories that they read together into deeper learning experiences.

Our series, Summer Reading Resource: Literary Guides for Expanding Family Reading Time, features teacher-written guides filled with lessons and activities to accompany some fantastic children’s books. Though the guides are designed to be used by educators, their contents can be easily adapted for use at home for parents looking to supplement their children’s learning. Within each guide, parents will find detailed outlines for activities and lessons to do after reading each story, as well as sets of discussion topics, suggestions for further reading with similar themes, and ideas for tying in math, science, social studies, art, and other topics into your work with the book.

The books included in the series include both picture and chapter books, and cover all of the ages and developmental capacities typically found in grades K-5, and can be divided into three categories…

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Halloween Math: Counting Kit Kats & Charleston Chews

Masking Math in Halloween Adventures

Before Halloween, think of a question that you could research as a family, something that leads to collecting some basic data on Halloween night, and mask informal math studies with collecting and counting candy and costumes!

Of all of the subjects that are taught in elementary school, math can be the hardest one to explore creatively at home. Simple exercises in counting and basic addition and subtraction can be integrated into daily routines, and math concepts arise in cooking and baking projects, but more challenging and content-specific math concepts can be difficult to weave into day to day activities at home.

However, the candy collecting done on Halloween presents an opportunity for some informal at-home math studies! Even kids who are too old to trick-or-treat (or those who don’t collect candy) can use the holiday as an opportunity to practice what they know about basic logic, data collection, and statistical analysis…

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Lessons Worth Sharing

TED-Ed: Resource for Educators & Learners

In addition to offering thousands of informational and inspirational talks, the organization TED now offers resources specifically for educators and learners. TED-Ed (ed.ted.com), a new platform developed by the organization (whose acronym name stands for technology, entertainment, and design), offers educational videos that differ slightly in structure and purpose from the internationally known TED and TEDx talks.

Written by educators and animated by professional animators, TED-Ed videos provide lessons on a wide variety of topics in every typical school subject. Families can use TED-Ed resources to supplement studies done in school, to help with homework, or to explore new and exciting topics together. Each video is designed to offer specific information that is presented in a way that makes for easy listening, and the narrative is accompanied by visuals that illustrate the main idea and details of each topic.

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Literary Guide for Astrid Lindgren’s “Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter”

Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter
by Astrid Lindgren

Our Summer Reading Resource series is coming to a close with our seventh and final installment, Astrid Lindgren’s Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter.

Originally written in Swedish, this a tale of adventure that shares themes with literary classics such as Romeo and Juliet and The Adventures of Robinhood. The story’s protagonist – Ronia – is, as the title states, the daughter of Matt, the fearsome leader of a band of robbers. Ronia is raised at her parents’ fort, the headquarters for Matt’s ring of bandits. Surrounding the fort is a vast, dense, and magical forest, which provides beautiful scenery and fodder for Ronia’s childhood adventures.

The major conflict within the story is centered around a friendship that Ronia develops with a boy named Birk, who is just about her age and is every bit as interested in exploring the forest as Ronia is herself…

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Literary Guide for Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings”

Make Way for Ducklings
by Robert McCloskey

Make Way for Ducklings, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, is our featured title this week in our Summer Reading Resource series.  Make Way for Ducklings tells the story of the Mallard family – made up of a mama duck, a papa duck, and eight little ducklings with silly rhyming names. After investigating New England’s rural landscape, the Mallards decide that the countryside is filled with too many threatening predators for their liking (and for the safety of their future ducklings). They settle, instead, in busy Boston, and hatch their eggs amongst skyscrapers and busy streets. Once the ducklings are born, readers travel throughout the city with them, experiencing all of the excitement that Boston has to offer from a duckling’s perspective, and discover – with the Mallards – that city life presents its own unique set of obstacles, just like country life. Their main problem? Cars won’t stop for the family to cross the street! Luckily, the Mallards find a friendly police officer to help them, which leads to citywide police escorts helping to ensure their safety…

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Literary Guide for Kevin Henkes’ “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse”

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
by Kevin Henkes

This week as part of our Summer Reading Resource literary guide series, Kevin Henkes’ classic, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse is featured. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, a silly yet meaningful story, is the tale of a young mouse who is quite enamored with some of her most favorite possessions and has trouble containing her excitement! Lilly, an elementary school student, brings her favorite purple plastic purse to school, filled with fancy movie star glasses and three big, shiny quarters. She is eager to show of her goodies with her classmates, but isn’t able to find a way of doing this that fits with the class routine and expectations. Unfortunately, her teacher (whom she normally loves) takes away her purse and its contents until the end of day, leaving Lilly frustrated and disappointed. She even draws a mean picture and puts it in her teacher’s bag in order to get back at him.

By the end of the story, Lilly has learned a few important lessons. Able to share her prized items the next day at school, she learns the proper etiquette for bringing things from home into the classroom. She also learns to apologize, and learns that in working to curb her excitement, she can avoid such situations in the future…

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Literary Guide for Kate Banks’ “Max’s Words”

Max’s Words
by Kate Banks

Learning words can be incredibly exciting for young children, especially those who are just beginning to read and are developing the skills to decode words on their own. Kate Banks’ book Max’s Words captures this time in life beautifully, and uses a boy’s enthusiasm for vocabulary to weave together a tale of collecting, autonomy, and developing self-confidence, and is the featured title this week in our Summer Reading Resource literary guide series. Young and old readers alike can enjoy the book, but it speaks in particular to early elementary-aged students, as they likely share similar experiences with the protagonist…

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Literary Guide for Roald Dahls’ “Danny the Champion of the World”

Danny the Champion of the World
by Roald Dahl

Beloved and quirky children’s writer Roald Dahl is known for his strange yet fascinating tales that capture the curiosity and imagination of kids of all ages. Dahl’s characters are often just on the verge of being unbelievable – they are balanced perfectly in between the real world and the realm of Dahl’s imagination. Each story creates a world for the reader that features a special kind of fantasy – the events that take place could never happen within the reader’s world, yet somehow they are not out of place within a similar context in the story.

Our Summer Reading Resource literary guide series continues this week with Danny the Champion of the World, one of many Roald Dahl classics. The story focuses on Danny and his father, an oddball pair who live in a gypsy wagon behind a combination gas station/repair shop. The two are often bullied by their wealthy (and snobby) neighbor Mr. Hazell, and their mutual dislike for the man leads to the pair hatching a plan to exact revenge upon him. However, in the process, Danny ends up learning one of his father’s biggest secrets – a secret that leads to Danny grappling with a challenging moral dilemma. In the end, the two beautifully execute a hilariously sneaky (yet morally questionable) endeavor that does, in fact, satisfy their desire to teach Mr. Hazell a lesson…

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Literary Guide for Mo Willems’ “City Dog, Country Frog”

City Dog, Country Frog
by Mo Willems

Our Summer Reading Resource literary guide series continues this week with Western Massachusetts author Mo Willems’ City Dog, Country Frog,  a beautiful tale of friendship throughout the seasons. The tale begins in the summer, when the weather is warm, plants are green, and flowers are in bloom. City Dog visits the country, where he meets Country Frog – a curious amphibian whose habits, games, and surroundings are quite different from those of City Dog. Nevertheless, the two become great friends, and they discover that they each have much to teach the other. City Dog visits Country Frog during each of the seasons, and their activities reflect the energy and aesthetic of the transformation of their surroundings. During the summer, they focus on fun and games in the warm sun, and in the fall they decide to play remembering games – an activity that allows them to think and reflect, and to take in the beauty of the fiery fall leaves and the still, crisp air. When winter comes, City Dog takes a visit to the snowy countryside only to discover that his froggy friend is nowhere to be found. He waits for him to appear, but to no avail – Country Frog is mysteriously gone. Once spring comes and the ground thaws, City Dog visits again. Country Frog doesn’t turn up, but City Dog makes a new friend, Country Chipmunk, and the clever ending implies that they two are about to embark on a journey of friendship that will reflect the changes in season just as beautifully as City Dog’s adventures with Country Frog did.

While the text is fairly simple – making it ideal for younger students – the themes presented within the story can be accessed by students of all ages…

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Literary Guide for Jane Yolen’s “Letting Swift River Go”

Letting Swift River Go
by Jane Yolen, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Our new Summer Reading Resource series will be featured here on Hilltown Families every week throughout the end of August, sharing downloadable guides of children’s literature from graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England. Each literary guide pairs a featured book with suggestions for ways to help children expand their thinking, create connections to the text, and allow their literacy skills to grow. These guides contain outlines with discussion questions, art projects, outdoor adventures, and many other activities that are designed for use in classrooms but can very easily be adapted for use at home for supplemental education. Weekly featured titles will cover a wide variety of themes, lengths, and levels of difficulty – meaning there’s something for every family, and for every reader! Some are classics, some are lesser-known gems – but all of the books present potential for helping families build upon the stories that they read together.

Our first featured title is this series of literary guides is Letting Swift River Go by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Barbara Cooney…

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PBS LearningMedia: Digital Media for Educators

PBS LearningMedia: Online Media Educational Resources for Educators

PBS LearningMedia is an online educational service offering media resources appropriate for PreK-16 curriculum, for use in classrooms, homeschool, and informal educational environments, such as after-school, community facilities, and museums.

Every season, family activities tend to follow a common thread, dictated by changes in weather and routine, the foods that are in season, and the activities that kids are participating in. Life has a way of presenting learning opportunities to kids that easily relate to the things they’re experiencing, and if the opportunities don’t present themselves, kids are quite skilled at finding ways to satisfy their own curiosity. However, their ability to do so is dependent on the resources available to them. There are endless books available from libraries, and the out-of-doors offers a plethora of possibilities, but some topics are difficult to learn about without digging deeper.

PBS Learning Media provides a wide variety of educational resources to help curious families expand their learning! The extensive content, presented in the form of videos, still images, games, audio clips, rich text, and lesson plans (which can easily be adapted for use at home!), covers almost every possible topic and is designed to reach kids from pre-K through 12th grade…

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Food Security in Summer Months in Western MA

Food Security in Summer Months in Western MA

For children across America, the end of school means the end of book reports and spelling tests, and the end of school breakfast and lunch-their most reliable source of nutrition. In Western Massachusetts, 38,870 kids don’t always know where they will get their next meal. That’s one out of every five kids in the region. Across the country, more than 16 million children live in food insecure homes.

In the summer, these households that struggle to make ends meet all year long are faced with additional challenges. The meals children receive in school are not available and more families with children turn to their local pantries and meal sites to help fill this gap. As a result, these assistance sites can face increased strain on resources during the summer as they try their best to meet demand…

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Expressing Appreciation to Teachers & Administrators as the School Year Draws to an End

End of the School Year Gratitude & Appreciation

Do you have suggestions on gifts to give teachers and administrators to thank them for the past school year? Add your ideas to our reader recommend list!

End of the school year is fast approaching and many families are looking for creative ways to express their gratitude of the teachers and administrators that educate and support their children throughout the school year!

Gift ideas can range from making something from scratch in your kitchen, to pairing up store bought sweets for a fun association that expresses your appreciation, to a summer themed gift basket for enjoying their time off, or a clever presentation of a gift card.

As always, Hilltown Families’ readers are a great resource for ideas! Take a look at their recommendations shared in our post, End of the Year Teacher Appreciation Gifts, get inspired, and share your own ideas too!

Language Play: 22 Apps that Increase Children’s Vocabulary

Apps that Increase Children’s Vocabulary

I once had a teen client who had the most amazing ideas and insights. He was one of those kids who really cared about people and thought about things deeply. I always considered it a gift to work with him. So why did he need speech and language services? Unfortunately, he had a very small repertoire of vocabulary words and he couldn’t access the very reading material that he would have loved to think about. What we did in each session was read poetry together. He had to identify and ask for definitions of the words he didn’t know, look them up, and tell me what the poem meant. For most kids, the meaning of a poem would be the most difficult, but this young man immediately understood the significance of the poem once he understood the words that blocked him from the ideas. My goal was to get him to a point of independence where he routinely looked up the words he didn’t know. I’m not sure if he is doing that in his adult life, but I do know that he owns that poetry book, a present from his mother, which he treasured and carried in his backpack throughout his senior year. He also took a poetry class and started to write poems that year.

Now that I have an iPad, I wish I could go back and show him how to integrate several apps. There’s a poetry app called Poetry by the Poetry Foundation, there’s a Dictionary.com app for definitions, and there’s an app for creating vocabulary flash cards for extra repetition and practice called Quizard by GabySoft. This flashcard program not only allows you to make your own flashcards but also includes lots of shared vocabulary lists for different ages, including Dolch lists, Latin roots and prefixes, and standardized tests such as Advanced Placement tests, College Admissions tests, and Drivers Tests.

Maybe we should start way back in Pre-K and kindergarten. Kids need to learn vocabulary for time (days, minutes, hours, morning, night, today, yesterday, tomorrow), weather words, animal names, vehicles, clothing, food, colors, days of the week, counting and numbers, the alphabet, verbs, etc. There are apps for all of these categories if you search the App Store. I believe I mentioned in a past article that it’s a good idea to make labels for objects in the house even before kids are readers. Kids learn vocabulary first through routines and personal experiences. Exposure is the key. One of my favorite kindergarten teachers believes in teaching kids advanced vocabulary and concepts during her reading lessons. All the kids of her class can answer the question, “What is the recurring motif in this Eric Carle book?”

Some of my favorite apps for the younger set are:

For older students, I use:

Back to learning through family routines. I remember how that idea gelled for me when my toddler grandson saw a bird fly into one of our rosebushes to its nest and I told him the bird was going to sit on eggs in its nest. The next time he came over, he pulled my arm and said, “Nest, grandma.” Or the time I was playing cards with my grandson and he delighted me by repeated an expression I’d been using , ”I’m on a roll, grandma!” So next time you’re at an event you found out about here on Hilltown Families, be conscious of teaching vocabulary when you explain things to your children. You’ll be enriching their vocabulary skills while you have fun!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Puckett

Kathy is a private practice speech-language pathologist living in Shelburne, MA and the author of our monthly speech and language column, Time to Talk. Living in Western Massachusetts since 1970, she raised two children here and has two grandsons, ages 15 and 8 years old. She has worked as an SLP with people of all ages for the last 14 years. She runs social thinking skill groups and often works with teens. As a professional artist, she has a unique and creative approach to her practice. She loves technology, neurology, gardening, orchids, and photography. She uses an iPad for therapies. She grows 500 orchids and moderates her own forum for orchid growers (Crazy Orchid Lady). Kathy is dedicated to the families of her private practice, and offers practical, creative ideas to parents. She blogs about communication at kathypuckett.com

Language Play: What Can a Parent Do to Encourage Good Narrative Skills?

Narratives: What did you do today?

Have you ever tried to find out about your children’s daily experiences? Well, of course, teenagers rarely want to share their day with an adult, but younger children do. For some kids this is one of the hardest things to do. Why is that? It seems like such a simple thing to do!

Well, let’s think about it. Telling a story pulls all kinds of language skills together. First, you have to remember (and you have to think it’s important enough to attend in order to store the memory). Then, you have to organize how to explain it. This includes understanding the main idea of the event, the important characters involved, the setting, the steps and sequence in which it happened, the outcome, the emotions involved. This is all before you say anything; this is the planning stage. Then, there’s choosing the vocabulary and remembering the words you need, deciding what’s most important, telling the steps in the right sequence, giving just the right amount of information for the person in front of you (what do they know and not know? How long will they listen to me? What will they be most interested in?), and describing and explaining clearly, and expressing emotions for the reactions to the event and to the ending.

Holy cow! No wonder speech language pathologists often use a story retelling task as a way to check functional language skills. Some kids have a glitch along the way and it’s our job to figure out where the gaps may be and teach kids explicitly how to fix or compensate for the skill that’s hard. Of course, there are also developmental stages involved. A preschool child is not going to sound much like a teenager telling a story!

So what can a parent do to encourage good narrative skills?

First of all, read stories to your kids. And tell your kids stories about what your day was like!

Start with specific prompts. “Tell me 2 things you did today.” Or “tell me something you liked or didn’t like today.” Or “what’s something you learned today?”

Eventually, you want them to not need prompts. So you can teach them how a story goes. After I read a picture book to a child, I often copy or take photos of three or four of the illustrations. I show them out of order and let the child sequence them. Then I start with “First________, then________, next________, last________.” and wait for the child to finish each sentence using the pictures. I do this with many stories until they do this on their own. You may need to write the words “First, Then, Next, Last” on a card to support them visually even if they aren’t yet reading (they may notice the first letter sounds to remember the words). Or you may need to use the card when you tell a story to your child, to model how to tell stories.

Lately, I’ve been using an app called Making Sequences by Zorten Software, LLC. This app allows me to make custom stories by taking pictures on my iPad to use for sequencing, typing in a sentence for each picture that the child dictates, recording the child saying the sentence, and playing back the whole story in the child’s voice. The kids love it!

Older children may need manipulatives or graphic organizers to remember what to put in and in what order. Many speech therapists use Story Grammar Marker.

Some older children may need practice with main ideas and summaries. They can tell lots of details but you don’t know the topic. I tell them to start with the big idea of the story or ask them to tell me about the story in one or two sentences. Then I ask for more details.

Just a few ideas to help your children be good communicators!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Puckett

Kathy is a private practice speech-language pathologist living in Shelburne, MA and the author of our monthly speech and language column, Time to Talk. Living in Western Massachusetts since 1970, she raised two children here and has two grandsons, ages 15 and 8 years old. She has worked as an SLP with people of all ages for the last 14 years. She runs social thinking skill groups and often works with teens. As a professional artist, she has a unique and creative approach to her practice. She loves technology, neurology, gardening, orchids, and photography. She uses an iPad for therapies. She grows 500 orchids and moderates her own forum for orchid growers (Crazy Orchid Lady). Kathy is dedicated to the families of her private practice, and offers practical, creative ideas to parents. She blogs about communication at kathypuckett.com

Language Play: Stages of Language and Resources for Practice

Grammarsizes

When kids are little, we enjoy the quirky ways they express their ideas. We hear them say funny, ungrammatical things, and it delights us to hear them grapple with the English language. These errors show a developing repertoire of grammatical forms. When they say “mans” and “falled,” they show an understanding of the underlying rules of English grammar. They’ve listened to language around them enough to simplify and use morphological rules (for example, plurals are the noun plus an “s” sound at the end of the noun; past tense is the verb plus “t” and “d” sounds at the end of the verb). This shows a pretty sophisticated understanding! If we look carefully, we see that children learn the basic rules or patterns first, then generalize them (like “goed” for “went”). And then they notice the exceptions; those pesky details that break the rules. Of course, English is a hybrid language, so there are MANY exceptions. Eventually they create models in their minds of what “sounds” right as a guide.

Some children, for several potential reasons, may have trouble noticing or hearing the exceptions to the basic rules in the adult language around them. It could be caused by many things including different brain wiring, lack of attention to detail, difficulty organizing speech into patterns. Or it could be living in a stressful environment, emotional issues, or having recurring ear infections that make listening difficult at a critical period for learning. For these children, grammatical development appears stalled, and their expression sounds “young” to us. Many of these children need clear instructions and lots of practice to acquire adult grammar. They need to learn the underlying rules and they need to establish their own models in order to hear and decide what sounds correct. For parents, it’s difficult to tell if there’s a problem, because if you’ve ever spent time in a kindergarten classroom, you know that all kids are developing at different rates in different areas. Their language skills are so diverse that listening to different children speak, it’s very hard to tell what is expected! That’s where language screenings by speech language pathologists are helpful to identify if there are any gaps.

There have been many studies of morphological development that guide therapists and teachers. I use one by Brown (1973) which is the basis of many standardized language tests:

1-Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 11.49.37 AM

Other grammatical formations develop over time , such as negation (“No” changes to “I don’t want to”), and question formation (“Can I?” changes to wh-questions) (“Where it is?” changes to “Where is it?”).

For more information on Brown’s Stages of Language and time frames for them, check out Brown’s Stages of Language Development.

The good news for parents is that there are apps for extra practice that an SLP may suggest for home practice. Here are a few I suggest from Superduper, Inc. for practice after explicit instruction in speech sessions:

  • Regular Past Tense Verbs
  • Irregular Past Tense Verbs
  • Plurals Fun Deck
  • Using “I and Me” Fun Deck
  • “WH” Question cards
  • “WH” Questions at School

I also use the Question Sleuth by Zorten for practice using questions “Where” and “Is.” Before each turn the child must say “Where is the star? Is it under the _____?”

Remember to never directly correct a child’s grammar. Rather, repeat what they say “your” way (model) and then quickly respond to what they are trying to tell you. If you spend too much time on correction, they will feel like you aren’t listening to them. Reinforce correct productions when you notice them, “I heard you use ‘the.’ Nice job!”

As a parent, supporting your child’s language development is complex. You can seek advice and use guidelines. Most of all, don’t forget to relax and enjoy being with your family!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Puckett

Kathy is a private practice speech-language pathologist living in Shelburne, MA and the author of our monthly speech and language column, Time to Talk. Living in Western Massachusetts since 1970, she raised two children here and has two grandsons, ages 15 and 8 years old. She has worked as an SLP with people of all ages for the last 14 years. She runs social thinking skill groups and often works with teens. As a professional artist, she has a unique and creative approach to her practice. She loves technology, neurology, gardening, orchids, and photography. She uses an iPad for therapies. She grows 500 orchids and moderates her own forum for orchid growers (Crazy Orchid Lady). Kathy is dedicated to the families of her private practice, and offers practical, creative ideas to parents. She blogs about communication at kathypuckett.com

[Image credit: (ccl) Tom Magliery]

Language Play: Speech Articulation

Speech Articulation

If your child is not understood by teachers, peers or relatives, they may have multiple speech errors. To help your child speak with confidence, take time to support their expression by listening to them.

It’s holiday vacation time and family time! Hooray! This is a good time to check out our children’s communication skills. But how is a parent to know what is typical?

Children go through steps to learn to articulate speech sounds just like the steps children take to develop motor skills for learning to walk (crawling, standing, walking while holding on to furniture, taking steps independently) or learning to write cursive (practice, practice, practice). But some parents are unaware of the steps to expect with speech and the developmental time frames to see them emerge. In order to communicate with words, children start by listening. That’s why the first thing to check if you can’t understand a child is their hearing. It is especially important that children hear well in the first few years of life when they are listening to language so intensely. It is critical for children to not miss these listening opportunities in order to prevent speech and language delays.

If given good listening opportunities, our children go through a developmental process of learning placement and movements of the articulators (tongue, jaw, teeth, lips and palate) that take the air stream coming from the vocal folds and alter it to mimic the sounds they hear. — Monolingual babies at six months of age can differentiate the speech sounds of all languages but at a year old they can only discriminate the sounds that they hear in the environment of their families. Here is an interesting article about bilingual speech perception: “Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language.”

Most children begin speech using the sounds they can easily see on the lips of their family members such as “m” (mama), “p”(papa), “b” (baba), “w” (wawa). Other sounds may not be mastered until as late as age eight, such as “s” and “r.” Baby talk is fine for babies, but when English speech sound errors continue past age eight, it can affect both academics (speech productions are the basis for reading and writing words) and social interactions (peers may avoid children they don’t understand). If a child is aware that others can’t understand them, they may shut down and stop trying to express their ideas. Children who have these problems may not know that teachers can help them communicate and may feel helpless. Most articulation errors are not due to physical disabilities, but result from not learning correct production of speech sounds. These children benefit from explicit instruction on how to produce correct sounds; lots of practice of speech sounds in isolation, different positions in words, and phrases or sentences; and compensation strategies to increase listeners’ understanding.

Some suggestions to parents: Read the rest of this entry »

Social Learning Made Easy with Sophia

Sophia Flips the Classroom with New Social Education Platform

Are there topics that you want your kids to learn that haven’t yet been (or aren’t) covered in their school’s curriculum?  Are you a teacher looking for online information to supplement your student’s textbook or classroom notes, or a place to share your own curriculum?  Are you a homeschool or unschool learning facilitator wishing you had a map of topics in multiple disciplines? Sophia, an online learning resource, offers validated crowdsourced educational material that supports all these needs, and much more!

The site (www.sophia.org) offers a wealth of information – presented in a way that is social and conducive to learning – and is divided up into categories based on discipline, then broken down by specific topics and grade level appropriateness.   You can find anything from a unit on molecular structure for 10th-12th graders to a tutorial on the preterite and imperfect tenses of the Portuguese language!

Each topic section is also divided into units (arranged in a logical order) that, if followed closely, can lead a learner to a much deeper understanding of a topic.  The site isn’t, however, just another online textbook-style resource.  Within each topic are a variety of ways to learn, and users are able to choose which structure best fits their goals and/or learning style.  Within the website’s solid structure is a surprising amount of freedom!  Users can simply read up on a topic, or dig deeper by taking quizzes, playing games, create their own flashcards, etc.  The site is a great resource for parents, teachers, and students – especially as a supplement to other learning materials!  Check out this video to learn more:

Q&A: 19 Children’s Books on Food Security/Scarcity

QUESTION AND ANSWERS


Do you have a favorite children’s book that touches on the topic of food security/scarcity you care to share? Hilltown Families is collaborating with The Food Bank of Western MA on compiling a list of kids books that have to do with fighting hunger, soup kitchens, food banks, etc. for their Youth Action Hunger program.

RECOMMEND A TITLE:

Publicly post any titles you’d like to recommend below, or submit it privately here:

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Youth Against Hunger Education

YAH! Curriculum
Youth Against Hunger Education

YAH CurriculumTake time this summer to learn about issues affecting your community as a family!  For starters, resources from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ Youth Against Hunger (YAH!) curriculum can be used to help kids learn about how issues of hunger, homelessness, and/or poverty are present within and affect members of their own communities.

The curriculum, available on the food bank’s website, includes a wide variety of resources for parents and educators.  Their curriculum is divided into units, and includes activities, reading lists, recommended films, and discussion starters for kids of all ages (each resource is labeled with a suggested age).  Units include: “Why Eat? The Meaning of Food,” “Who’s Hungry? Food insecurity in the U.S.,” and “What Now?  Ways to Take Action.”

Try pairing some of their curriculum resources with an educational visit to the food bank, or a family commitment to volunteering at a local food bank (or other community resource, like Just Roots) throughout the summer.

The YAH! curriculum also includes a list of suggested service learning projects for families- by undertaking a project, families can learn about taking action and raising awareness of community issues, all while helping to make a difference to the lives of many right here in Western MA!

Related Post:

Board Game Bonanza at Westfield State University

Board Game Bonanza for Students & Teachers
In Westfield on May 2nd, 2012

Some examples of the games include: “Follow the Pi”, an interactive board game that reviews basic algebra and invites students to move and learn through a Pi shaped board. Another group has developed the “Healthy Hungry Market” in which students learn about the value of money and healthy nutritional habits. Board Game topics vary from Language arts to Science to Math to Spanish to Health. One student from Geography and Regional Planning developed a type of “Westfieldopoly” which will provide an interactive means to introduce new students to the campus and community.

Students at Westfield State University present the Board Game Bonanza!

The event, which will take place on Wednesday, May 2nd from 1:30-3pm,  features student-designed board games that teach players about a subject within typical classroom content (think state learning standards) and incorporate physical movement at the same time!  Some of the games include an algebra review game with a pi-shaped board, Westfieldopoly, and a game about the value of money and how it affects making healthy food choices.

Students and classroom teachers attending the event will have the chance to play multiple games, and will be able to learn not only about the topics covered in the games, but will gain an awareness of the level of thought expected and produced in college, and can learn about creative ways of expressing knowledge (specifically, through games).

The event will take place in the Woodward Center Lounge on the Westfield State University campus.  For more info call 413-572-5368. Free event, but pre-registration is required.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Alan Bates]

“This Day in History” Video Series

Discovering New England History with
The Freedom Trail Foundation Daily Video Series

Are your kids interested in Colonial History? Boston’s Freedom Trail Foundation offers a daily dose of history on their YouTube channel!  Every day, the group debuts a new clip (generally 30-40 seconds) offering information about an event that took place on that day in early American history!  Centered around the Revolutionary War, the clips feature historical re-enactors dressed in period costumes.  The information they offer covers a variety of topics- everything from the aftermath of the Boston Massacre to the settling of new areas surrounding Boston.

Of course the videos are presented in chronological order, but you don’t have to see every single one!  Watching a few a week can provide a way for families to learn about history together and extend their study of the American Revolution and Colonial Studies throughout the entire year.  Even watching the videos occasionally can be a fun learning activity- think together about all of the changes that have taken place in American society between the event discussed in the video and the events taking place today!

Here’s an example of what you can view:

The foundation’s YouTube channel can be found at
www.youtube.com/user/FreedomTrailBoston.

Art Technology and Software: A Review of 5 Programs for Students

Technology, Art and Kids

Students use KidPix to create diagrams of their studies of volcanos.

Students use KidPix to create diagrams for their study unit on volcanoes.

I sometimes hear concerns from parents about technology and their children.  Are they too young to use computers?  Are they using technology too much?  What I have found, in my experience using technology with students for over 20 years, is that it is not so much “how much” and “when” but “what.”  In our work at the Williamsburg Schools, we aim to enable kids to use technology constructively and creatively while also helping teachers meet state standards.  Today, I’ll go over some commercial and free programs and give some ideas of how they can be used at home and in educational settings.   We will look at animation and comic book software in a future column.

First, doing art on the computer can never replace the tactile experience of working with physical materials.  However, art of the computer is a useful adjunct to using physical materials and can also provide some added possibilities.  Depending on the hardware and software used, students use the mouse, fingers (on tablet computer), or a drawing tablet for more sophisticated artists.

KIDPIX

Our first program is KidPix from Software MacKiev ($$) which runs on Windows and Macintosh.

Winner of a Parent’s Choice Silver Award, we use KidPix starting at the end of preschool and heavily in Kindergarten and first grade, though elementary students all the way up to sixth grade also use it.  The program is primarily good for one-page projects. and has standard tools for drawing, such as pen, paint, fill bucket, stamps, stickers, erasers, and more.  We usually require students to draw everything themselves for content related projects rather than use KidPix supplied backgrounds, stamps, and stickers.

Some ideas for using KidPix include:  alphabet or number books; daily illustrated journals; self and family portraits; and free drawing.  I recommend letting kids explore all the different tools first.

If you’d like to try this program at home for two weeks, they offer a free 15-day trial you can download from their web site.

HYPERSTUDIO

For multiple page projects, I like use HyperStudio 5 ($$$), also from Software MacKiev.  The drawing tools are similar to KidPix but HyperStudio allows multiple pages and kids create buttons (either visible or invisible) to allow hyperlinking between pages of their project.  Both KidPix and Hyperstudio allow kids to record their voices to go with buttons or pages.  Both also have built in integration with iLife.  For example, you can easily access your iPhoto Library to pull into photos into projects.

Here’s some ideas for using HyperStudio:  butterfly life cycle and other cycles in nature; kids create their own “house” where each page is a room connected by invisible buttons on door knob; kids research states and use HyperStudio to document a trip through a region of the United States.  It’s great for kids who want to present on any topic they know a lot about.  Kids can create presentations to show to family and friends.

Roger Wagner, the creator of HyperStudio, sent me this link, which shows many different ways HyperStudio is being used.  If you’d like to try HyperStudio 5 at home, a free 30-day trial is available for HyperStudio here.

FREE PROGRAMS

Sketchbook Express (free), available on the Macintosh App Store and also for Windows, is a really nice tool that is simple enough for kids but also sophisticated.

We use Glow Draw (free from Indigo Penguin Limited, there are a number of apps with the same or a similar name) and Doodle Buddy (free, $.99 to hide ads)  on our iPad at home for fun sketching.  Using the iPad and other tablets can be good for young children since they use their fingers and not the mouse, which requires more sophisticated visual and motor skills.  It’s good to provide a range of apps on your tablet computer so your children have variety of modes of expression (music, art, math, reading, science and social studies) to balance their natural attraction to games.

For more examples of creative student technology work, see burgykids.tumblr.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Heffernan ♦ Tech Talk: Supporting Creative Play with Technology

John is currently the technology teacher the Williamsburg Schools. He has also worked as an educational technology consultant, a third grade teacher, and as a software engineer.  He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Tufts and a Masters of Education from Lesley University.   John lives in Conway with his wife, 5 year old son, and 2 whippets.  In additional to his interest in technology, John is a juggler, musician, and animal tracker.  Read more about his engineering adventures at kidsengineer.com.

[Photo credit: (ccl) ssedro]

Local History, Natural Science & Art at the Springfield Museums

Educational Programs for Kids at the Springfield Museums

One educational program the museums host is "Eye Spy." This program encourages young artists to look beyond the canvas into the details, textures, materials and stories that make up a work of art. Curriculum connections include discussion, questioning, listening and vocabulary/concept development. Click on the image to see all programs offered at the Springfield Museums!

There are numerous educational opportunities and adventures to be had at the Springfield Museums!

Visitors can explore topics and ideas anywhere from important figures in local history to coral reef ecosystems.

There are five different museums, each with a theme of local history, natural science, and art. The museums offer guided tours as well as self-guided tours (which are really educational odysseys!) to groups both big and small. Classrooms, schools, homeschool groups, youth groups, etc. can all benefit from a museum tour tailored specifically to fit the group’s needs!

For more information on tours and to check out options, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org or email schooltours@springfieldmuseums.org.

Q&A: What Do You Wish They Taught More Of in School?

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Angela Santaniello would like to see more cursive, science, social studies and art taught in school. How about you? Share your thoughts in the comment field! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Are there subjects/topics you wish schools WOULD teach your kids? How about ones you wish they WOULDN’T?

  • Laura Hoffman replies, “I’m beside myself that they are choosing not to teach cursive anymore…”
  • Tonya Lemos replies, “Wish they did carpentry, more geography and less history… or maybe different history…don’t get me going on this topic!”
  • Soma DiNicola replies, “They should teach sign language.”
  • Jackie Amuso Dolby replies, “I just wish my school would have more extra curricular activities for my kids to be involved in. My kids don’t like sports so there is nothing for them.”
  • Michele Lussier replies, “Foreign languages earlier; music earlier; history globally and more balanced; logic at a young age in puzzle form; addition should be taught with multiplication (as addition’s short cut cousin); community service… I could keep going.”
  • Angela Coulopoulos Santaniello replies, “Cursive, science, social studies, art. More freedom to choose what they want to learn. That’s why we homeschool now.”
  • Marya Zilberberg replies, “Wish they would not teach them “subjects,” but how to think and pursue knowledge.”
  • Susan Lillie Robert replies, “How about life skills such as managing money, shopping, how to live on your own…”
  • Kara Kitchen replies, “After teaching high school for 11 years, I would say civics and how to be a productive/responsible citizen+community member!”

10 Western MA Museums Offer Educational Opportunities This Fall

Museums10 Gears up for Fall Education Outreach

Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College. A young visitor looks up at the Ice Age mammals skeletons. (Photo credit: Sam Masinter, courtesy The Trustees of Amherst College)

This fall as area colleges and schools get ready to welcome students and families, Museums10, a collaboration of 10 college-affiliated museums in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, announces fall activities to interest visitors of all ages.

“Museums10 is an excellent resource and destination for area educators and students to explore the worlds of art, history, literature and science,” said Alexandra Kennedy, Executive Director of The Eric Carle Museum, who also chairs Museums10′s executive committee. “Six out of the ten museums are free and all welcome field trips. The variety of hands on workshops, classes, programming, exhibitions, and teacher training offered by Museums10 members is unparalleled.”

Highlights for the fall are:

  • GEOLOGY: Discover the Connecticut River Valley geological phenomena and the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks at the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College in Amherst, MA. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-4 pm, also Thursdays 6 pm-10 pm. Tel: 413-542-2165. Free Admission.
  • LANGUAGE & CULINARY ARTS: Participate in the annual Poetry Marathon and Baking Contest, September 24th at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA. Hours: Wednesdays-Sundays,11am-4 pm. Tel: 413-542-8161.
  • PICTURE BOOK ART: See the original art from Eric Carle’s new book: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse (Sept. 20, 2011 – Mar 20, 2012) and Growing Every Which Way But Up: The Children’s Book Art of Jules Feiffer (Oct 25, 2011 – Jan 22, 2012) at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10 am- 4 pm, Saturday 10 am-5 pm, Sunday 12-5 pm. Tel: 413-658-1100.
  • CONTEMPORARY ART: View contemporary art at the Hampshire College Art Gallery in Amherst, MA. Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30am-4:30pm. Closed in August. Tel: 413-559-5544. Free Admission.
  • HISTORY: Attend Open Hearth Cooking or Made-by Hand: Trades of the Past demonstrations or join the Harvest Baskets family activities at Historic Deerfield in Deerfield, MA. Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tel: 413-775-7214.
  • HISTORY: See Disunion! The American Civil War 150 Years Later, a special installation of 15 paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints marking the sesquicentennial of our country’s bloodiest conflict. Until December 31 at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College in Amherst, MA. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5pm. Tel: 413-542-2335. Free Admission.
  • SOCIAL STUDIES: Explore Life in the Ancient World: Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Special workshops for school groups offer direct experience with artifacts and original works of art and the opportunity to learn about history, world cultures, art, and archaeology. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in South Hadley, MA. Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-5 pm, Saturday-Sunday 1-5 pm. Tel: 413-538-2245. Free Admission.
  • LANGUAGE ARTS: Visit the new family exhibit You Know More Yiddish Than You Think opening September 18 at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA. Hours: Monday-Friday: 10am- 4pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm. Tel: 413-256-4900.
  • WORLD ART: Discover Art from at least four continents on display this fall: Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Join the Free World Art! Family Day, November 5, with hands-on art projects for kids inspired by works from each of these continents. The Smith College Museum of Art in Northamtpon, MA. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 12pm-4pm. Tel: 413-585-2760.
  • ART: Watch the video exhibition by renowned Korean artist Kimsooja, Sept 21 through Dec 11, 2011. Kimsooja’s work combines performance, video, and installation, addressing issues of the displaced self. University Museum of Contemporary Art in Amherst, MA. Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 11:00am-4:30pm, Saturday-Sunday: 2pm-5pm. Closed in August. Tel: 413-545-3670. Free Admission.

Find out more at www.museums10.org

100 Links (Spring/Summer 2011)

100 Links (Spring/Summer 2011)

Nearly every day we add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing of online resource that are educational and entertaining!

Follow Me on DeliciousWhere are these links? Hilltown Families Del.ici.ous Page!  This icon can be found at the top of our site, in the left-hand column.  Click any time to see what links we’ve added!

Below is the latest 100 links we’ve shared: (you will need to use the “back” button to return to this page). All links are provided as a courtesy and not as an endorsement:

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Curly Willow Education: Bonsai or Freedom?

Willow Children

People become who they are based not on the transformations that we impose on them but based on whether or not their needs are met. Just as my willow will die if I fail to water her, a person’s interest and enthusiasm will disappear if it is not stimulated, and just as my willow would not be herself if I chose to trim her branches bonsai-style, people cannot be themselves if we force them to be confined to learning through and about only certain things.

Recently, I acquired a branch from a curly willow tree.  The trees, known as Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’ to botanists, are lovely.  Their branches bend and twist as they grow upwards, rather than outwards, from the trunk.  The leaves are small and green and in the fall turn a brilliant yellow.  Native to China, the tree’s winding, coiled branches make it ideal for bonsai- the art of perfecting and controlling something that is already beautiful.

For now, my branch lives in a glass bottle on my kitchen table.  Her stem is thick and she has five small branches that, if they were human appendages, would almost certainly be fingers.  Eventually, she will shed her leaves and sprout roots.  Once I plant her she will grow more fingers that will flow from long, twisty arms.  Her roots, once small, will grow to be thick, sturdy legs ending in long, earth-suckling feet and toes.  Life will spring from her every cell.  She will absorb sunlight and rainwater, and will feast on the nutrients in the ground beneath her.

I will help to provide for my willow the water, sun, and soil that I know she needs in order to grow from a mere branch into a big, triumphant tree.  I won’t trim her branches like some people do.  I will watch her grow without scrutiny, and I will wait patiently to see what wonderful surprises she has in store.  Will she have a plethora of branches and leaves for shade?  Will she have perfect nooks for birds’ nests?  Only time will tell.

In caring for my willow, I have realized that she’s a lot like me.  She’s a lot like any person, really.  Just as I will care for her, the people who cared for me helped to foster my transformation from a wriggling infant into purpose-filled (semi) adult.  They provided me with the things that they thought I would need, and they created for me the environment that they thought would help me to become the best possible version of myself that I could possibly be.

In my last post, Lost and Frantic in the Race to Nowhere, I discussed how the results-driven culture that we exist within as Americans negatively effects young people.  Our public school system, which I see as a direct manifestation of this culture, does not truly succeed in providing its students with the metaphorical water, sun, and soil that they need in order to succeed.  Instead, it acts as a person practicing bonsai.  It sees the beautiful willow children for which it is responsible for and trims them, providing a strong suggestion for what they should be like.

I have been asked by many people since I last shared my thoughts what I think we should do to change the culture within our public school system.  Honestly, I’m not entirely sure.  I have spent the last few weeks anxiously pondering the dilemma, wondering why I can’t come up with a solution if I feel so strongly about the problem.  I think that the conclusion that I have come to is that I can’t come up with a solution because there is no “fix”- there is no magic formula for creating an ideal environment in which our current goals can be achieved.  What we can do, though, is change our goals.

The goal of public schools today is to teach students as much information as possible.  We measure how much they are learning by giving them all the same test, and if they don’t pass, we teach them more.  And more.  And more.  We think that the more we teach them, the more they will succeed.  I think it is obvious, however, that this isn’t necessarily true.  People become who they are based not on the transformations that we impose on them but based on whether or not their needs are met.  Just as my willow will die if I fail to water her, a person’s interest and enthusiasm will disappear if it is not stimulated, and just as my willow would not be herself if I chose to trim her branches bonsai-style, people cannot be themselves if we force them to be confined to learning through and about only certain things.

My solution, as it were, for schools is simply to allow more freedom.  Who is to say that one method of learning is better than another?  Who is to say that one topic is necessarily more important than another?  Honestly, I remember very few of the actual bits of information that I have supposedly learned throughout my education.  What I do remember, though, are the larger concepts and life lessons, and I suspect that the majority of people feel similarly.  People remember things because they matter and because they are relevant to their immediate reality.  It was not learning bits of information that mattered- it was learning the bigger things.  So if it is not the facts themselves but the conclusions that I drew from them that were significant, and it is those things that are helping me to succeed in life (or to begin to, at least), then this is what I want for everyone else.  I want for everyone to get their sun, soil, and water.  I want for everyone to be able to grow fingers from their long, twisty arms and earth-suckling feet from their thick, sturdy legs.

I know that I’m possibly being more idealistic than may be reasonable or realistic, but I truly think that this type of environment can be accomplished- and not just because I have faith.  There are many types of education that approach learning differently than our public schools tend to, and they have begun to succeed in creating the environment that I dream of.  It can be done- it is simply a matter of time and change.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robin Morgan Huntley, Hilltown Families Intern

A native to Maine, Robin is a student at Hampshire College in Amherst. She is studying education and is slated to graduate in the spring of ’12. Her interests within the field of education include policy and all types of nontraditional education. For her senior project at Hampshire College, Robin will be researching and writing about the importance of connecting public schools with their surrounding communities, especially in rural areas. She plans to look to schools and communities within Western MA and Maine as models of the type of symbiotic school-community relationship that she believes to be critical to the success of rural education.

(Photo credit: (ccl) Urban Combing (Ultrastar175g))

Hilltown Spring Festival is Fun & Educational

Learn About Our Solar System, Discover Musical Instruments, Identify Wildlife, Recycling Activities and More at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Saturday, May 14th from 10am-7pm at the Cummington Fairgrounds

Arunah Hill astronomers will lead a scale model solar system walk at the Hilltown Spring Festival, demonstrating how large our solar system is, and how very small we are! Come learn, explore and have a great time: Saturday, May 14th from 10am-7pm at the Cummington Fairgrounds

Not only will families have a fabulous time being entertain by great music on 3 stages during the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival, they will also have several educational opportunities throughout the day!  Here are just a few highlights:

SOLAR OBSERVANCES

Arunah Hill Natural Science Center, an educational facility for astronomy, science, and nature located in Cummington, will be at the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival with telescopes and a meteorite display!  Astronomers will be on-site with solar-filtered telescopes for fair-goers to safely view sunspots and solar prominences under the guidance of experienced solar observers. The Arunah Hill staff will also be displaying a collection of meteorites, including a 120 pound iron-nickel meteorite that fell to earth more than 5,000 years ago. — arunah.org

MUSICAL PETTING ZOO

Josh Watchtel from Radio Free Earth will be visiting the Grasshoppa Arts Initiative booth from 1-4pm with a “Musical Petting Zoo.” Josh will have a display of a variety of instruments, including a mountain dulcimer, Turkish choombush, Moroccan bongoes, guitar, space crickets, melodica, one-stringed plastic bottle plucker, and a few other instruments.  He will be sharing their history and showing kids how to make music on each one.  Families are encouraged to stop in to learn about these instruments and get a hands-on experience. — grasshoppaarts.org

SOLAR SYSTEM WALK

Arunah Hill astronomers will lead a walk to create a scale model of the solar system. Starting with the Sun scaled down to the size of a volleyball, the walk will place appropriately sized planets at the correct “scale” distance from the sun. Earth will be the size of a peppercorn, some 26 paces away from the Sun. How far away will Pluto be? The Scale Model Solar System Walk will demonstrate how large our solar system is! It is appropriate for all ages, for anyone capable of walking across the solar system. The Solar System Walks will take place at 11:45am and 2:15pm.  — arunah.org

NATURE ART & OBSERVANCES

Earthwork programs of Williamsburg will be offering several educational opportunities during the festival. Learn the art of fibers and make a hand crafted gift, experience the lost art of firemaking with hands-on demo, and increase your awareness of wild life. Check their schedule when you arrive for several activities, including: Native Crafts and Skills Working with Fibers; The Art of Making Fire; The Art of Fox Walking and Owl Vision; and The New Bird Watching and Storytelling. — earthworkprograms.com

IDENTIFYING & LIVING WITH WILDLIFE

Judy Pasko from Cummington Wildlife invites families to stop by her booth for wildlife games and learning.  She will be offering two games, one involving “match the pawprints to the animal” and a wildlife trivia question game for all age ranges. The primary mission of Cummington Wildlife is to give treatment to orphaned, injured, or ill wildlife with the goal of releasing the animal back into the wild. Families can stop by throughout the day to learn about communities living with wildlife. — cummingtonwildlife.com

LITERACY

Hampshire Regional’s Coordinated Family & Community Engagement Outreach booth will be promoting literacy by offering free books for kids and a springtime art activity for them to “make and take.” Balloon sculptor from Ed Popielarczyk’s Magical Moments will be there to entertain the kids while they pick out a book and make art. — In addition to supporting early and family literacy, families can find out about local resources that assist in accessing a variety of services, including vouchers to help pay for child care, contact information for area child care providers and medical professionals, and referral information for Early Intervention programs, along with a free Parent Resource Manual that highlight many area services for children and families.

RECYCLING THROUGH CRAFTS

The RH Conwell Community Education Center invites families to stop in to make crafts out of recycled materials, a simple opportunity for kids to learn about recycling while celebrating their inner artist. — For 70 years this hilltown school located in Worthington, has thrived on a combination of widespread community support and a strong belief that it takes an entire community to raise and educate children.  The genesis of this view stems from the teachings of Russell H. Conwell, the founder of Temple University, who was born in Worthington in 1843. — www.conwellcec.org

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