Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Non-Commercial Gift Giving

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Holiday Segment
Non-Commercial Gift Giving

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, November 21, 2016. In this segment, Sienna and Lauren talked about non-commercial gift-giving ideas and the value of making your own gifts to give for the holidays.

Click on image to view video.

Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be December 26th, 2016!

Christmas Trees: History & Folklore

History & Folklore of Christmas Trees

What is folklore? Folklore includes the traditions and stories of a culture or community that are passed down for generations.  Typically, folklore is passed on through word of mouth in the form of a narration.  Over time, stories can change, morph, and transform depending on the place, culture, context and the storyteller.  That’s the beauty of a folktale; it has many added layers as the story moves from narrator to narrator, place to place.  Storytelling is an art, both the narration and the listening.

Some of our holiday traditions today are a result of folklore and myth.  For example, the contemporary Christmas tree has an interesting past with a story and history that has been passed down from generation to generation.  From its original form with the ancient Norse pagans to its present day form in the houses of those who celebrate Christmas, the Christmas tree, like many folktales, has changed shape and meaning as it has been adapted to new cultures, people and places.

Excerpt from Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts (Seasons: Nov/Dec), a downloadable bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.



Origins of Christmas Traditions

Origins of Christmas Traditions

Where does the Christmas tree come from? Did you know that the origin of the Christmas tree has roots in ancient Norse paganism from Northern Germany?  Evergreens were seen as magical entities due to their ability to withstand the frigid, cold winter and stay green. During the winter solstice, Norse pagans, who celebrated the Norse god Jul (pronounced Yule) brought entire evergreens into their homes.  These trees were called Yule Trees and were believed to protect the home during the darkest times of the year.

Learn more about the origins of Christmas traditions and symbols…

Bet You Didn’t Know…

HFVS Songs of Gratitude Episode with Guest DJ, Eric Herman


Songs of Gratitude Episode
with Guest DJ, Eric Herman

Eric Herman gets downright happy in this show featuring songs that celebrate feeling good about yourself and about life, and being positive and grateful. Find out more about Eric and his music by visiting www.erichermanmusic.com.

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Nov 26th & 27th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: “What a Ride” – Cool Tunes for Kids by Eric Herman

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James Brown – “I Got You (I Feel Good)” [James Brown – 16 Original Hits]
Eric Herman – “What a Ride” [What a Ride]
Schneiderman Sisters – “Three Little Birds” [That Baby CD]
Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella – “Hakuna Matata” [The Lion King Soundtrack]
Bobby McFerrin – “Don’t Worry Be Happy” [Simple Pleasures]
David Tobocman – “Hello Goodbye” [Lemonade School]
Randy Kaplan – “My Little Laugh” [The Kids Are All Id]
Eric Ode – “Let a Little Light Shine” [When You Smile]
Eric Herman – “The Best Parts” [Party Animal]
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – “Gotta Be You” [Make Believers]
-Story by Eric Herman-
The SqueeGees – “I Can I Can” [Veggie Soup]
Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could – “The Little Band That Could” [Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could]
Jack Johnson with Ben Harper – “My Own Two Hands” [Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George]
Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies – “I Wanna Be That Guy” [Bubble Wrap]
Pharrell Williams – “Happy” [Happy]
REM with Kate Pierson – “Shiny Happy People” [Out of Time]


Traditional Crafts & Artisan Skills: Handmade Holiday Gift Idea

Shop Local: Craft Fairs & Open Studios

Take the challenge this year by shopping local and non-commercial during the holiday season. The abundance of craft fairs and open studios happening in the area featuring handmade products by local artists and artisans make it easy to find that special something when looking for a gift of any kind. Handmade wood or glass ornaments, hand-knitted scarves, upcycled accessories, one-of-a kind prints and stationary… our region is filled with a strong creative economy filled with amazing artisans!

While browsing an artisans studio or booth, take the time to stop and talk with them. Be curious and ask them questions. Discover how they learned their craft skill, what the history is behind their craft, how long they have been making their art, and where they find their inspiration. A purchase not only supports the artist and artisan, but your gift now comes with a story to share with the person with you you will give your gift.  Read the rest of this entry »

Language Arts & Creativity: Handmade Holiday Gift Idea

Handmade: Write a Zine or Make a Journal

Zines (short for magazine or fanzine) are self-published books that include different media forms: collage, illustrations, comic strips, and words.  A zine can be a book of poetry or a story, it can be a guide book or a collection of fairy tales – the sky’s the limit!  Zines can also be photocopied and bound so that you can produce multiple copies.  Here’s a short documentary on Zines…

Making a zine is a rewarding, creative process and can certainly be a part of your gift giving plans for the holidays. Need some inspiration for your zine-making adventures? Check out the Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA.  The Flywheel Arts Collective has a community Zine library and cafe with over 3,000 zines, featuring many from Western Massachusetts!  Flywheel is a collective of art and poetry that allows people to share their work with others in their local community.  It’s a great community resource for those looking to feel inspired through grassroots art and literature that aims to inspire, provoke thought and engage the community.  Read the rest of this entry »

Fiber Arts, Math & Mindfulness: Handmade Holiday Gift Idea

Knit Something!

Remember the knitted items you saw during the Agricultural Fairs towards the end of the summer? Get ready for next September’s aggie fairs while working on gifts for others this season! At www.ravelry.com, you to search for free knitting patterns that can help you come up with your next project gift idea.  Perhaps a one-skein hat? A pair of mittens?  Or a hand-knitted cowl?  Knitting is not only a fun activity and great way to hand-make a gift, but it’s also a wonderful way to get together with fellow knitters of all ages and knit together!  Who knows what new stitches you’ll learn and the new friends you’ll meet!  Read the rest of this entry »

Culinary and Pastry Arts: Handmade Holiday Gift Idea

The Gift of Food!

Bûche de Noël from Bread Euphoria in Haydenville, MA. [Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield]

Tis becoming to season to pay special attention to spreading kindness to those around us! Families can spread kindness by sharing homemade foods with neighbors, and can expand this activity to include studies of world cultures by baking foods enjoyed internationally!

We explored food preservation earlier this month – now it’s time to put those skills to use!  Pumpkin or apple butter make great holiday gifts and are something the recipient can enjoy for the entire season! Jams and jellies are also a nice gift idea! Want to help the gift recipient get ready for sugaring season in the late winter?  How about preparing a ready to go pancake mix in a jar? Finally, freshly baked cookies and pies are always a great gift idea. Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving: Through the Lens of Poetry, Art & Literature

Thanksgiving: Through the Lens of Poetry, Art & Literature

As mentioned in the Sept/Oct 2016 edition of Learning Ahead, food connects us. The gathering of community, family, and friends around the table for a shared meal is a meaningful way to spend time together in the spirit of sharing and collaboration through food. The Thanksgiving season is one that inspires us to reflect on the people and places for which we are thankful. It’s an opportunity to express gratitude collectively.

Today, the traditional Thanksgiving meal is a celebration of the harvest season. The dinner table features the autumn bounty produced by local farms. Customary foods often included in Thanksgiving meals include corn, turkey, cranberry sauce, and fall vegetables such as squash and pumpkin pie. In fact, the traditional New England dishes often included at the Thanksgiving table have even inspired poets in their literary musings.  Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Awaken Joy Episode with Lucy Kalantari (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Awaken Joy Episode with Lucy Kalantari

Awaken Joy Episode with Lucy Kalantari, presenting a collection of songs that are bound to put a skip in your step and a smile on your face. — www.lucykalantari.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
November 12 & 13, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Jazzy Ash’s Heebie Jeebies

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  • Cake – “Love You Madly” [Comfort Eagle]

  • Lucy Kalantari – “Pockets Full of Joy” [Pockets Full of Joy]

  • Ella Fitzgerald – “Blue Skies” [Wonderful]

  • Phil Harris – “Bare Necessities” [The Jungle Book Soundtrack]

  • Barry Louise Parker – “All I Want Is You” [My Brother Thinks He’s a Banana and Other Provocative Songs for Children]

  • Wreckless Eric – “Whole Wide World” [Wreckless Eric]

  • The Beatles – “I Feel Fine” – [Beatles ’65]

  • Lisa Brigantino – “I Gotta Find Me Something” [Wonder Wheel]
  • Jazzy Ash – “Heebie Jeebies” [Bon Voyage]

  • Gypsy Moon – “Life’s A Beach” [Single]

  • The Lovin Spoonful – “Daydream” [Daydream]

  • Mister G – “Ratones” [ABC Fiesta]

  • Queen – “Seaside Rendezvous” [A Night at the Opera]

  • Martha Reich – “I’d Rather Be Surprised” [Peace Harvest]

  • Bob Marley – “Three Little Birds” [B s for Bob]

  • Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could – “Tomorrow’s People” [Just Say Hi]

  • Lucy Kalantari – “A Fresh Start” [Pockets Full of Joy]

 [Original broadcast: July 18th & 19th, 2015]

Exploring Military History through Music

Exploring Military History through Music

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps in the armed forces is a part of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). It is stationed at Fort Myer, VA. This unique military unit performs in uniforms based on those worn by the musicians of General George Washington’s Continental Army.  Uniforms from this time included black tricorn hats, white wigs, waistcoats, colonial coveralls, and distinct red regimental coats.

The corps features two historical music ensembles.  Watch this video and listen to The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps play historical music:

This interesting regiment recalls New England’s historic past through its music. As mentioned earlier, our state and region were a central part of the United States’ early formation. Massachusetts was one of the original colonies and many of the patriots that participated in the Revolutionary War were from Massachusetts. The music that the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps plays is the same music that once inspired the patriots serving in the Revolutionary War. As you participate in Veterans Day ceremonies, take a moment to listen to this early music and remember those who served this nation.

Learn more about this interesting regiment at www.fifeanddrum.army.mil.

[Photo Credit: Sienna Wildfield]

Excerpt from Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts (Seasons: Nov/Dec), a downloadable bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.




Literary Lens: Walt Whitman and the Civil War

Literary Lens: Walt Whitman and the Civil War

During the American Civil War, poet Walt Whitman spent time visiting hospitalized soldiers wounded on the battlefield.  He traveled with soldiers from one hospital to another and visited wounded soldiers daily.  As the war continued, Whitman resolved to stay in the Union and serve the wounded as they recovered from their injuries.  It was a critical moment in his life and greatly affected his poetry later.

Lifelong learners and self-directed teens are invited to read Whitman’s The Wound-Dresser along with Bart Wolffe’s reading of the same in this video file:

Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Character Episode with Guest DJ, Lloyd H. Miller (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

HFVS Character Episode
with Guest DJ, Lloyd H. Miller
of the Deedle Deedle Dees

Lloyd H. Miller, leader of the long-running band the Deedle Deedle Dees, hosts this musical exploration of the concept of “playing a character.” We all change how we present ourselves to the world in order to get different reactions, whether we’re putting on a costume for holiday, dressing up to act onstage, trying on different outfits and accessories to present a different persona to our peers, or trying out new modes of behavior (for example, attempting to be an extrovert when you’ve always felt like more of an introvert). Songs by Dean Jones, Rachel Loshak, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, SLV, Weezer, Yo La Tengo, the Deedle Deedle Dees, and other favorite artists of Lloyd’s provide a variety of interesting takes on the topic. — www.thedeedledeedledees.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
October 29th & 30th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: Lloyd H. Miller

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  • Billie Holiday – When You’re Smiling
  • Yo La Tengo – I Can Feel the Ice Melting
  • The Deedle Deedle Dees – Every Time I Stand Up (I Feel Like Falling Down)
  • Dean Jones – I Tried to Make a Friend
  • Francis and the Lights (featuring Bon Iver) – Friends
  • Weezer – My Best Friend
  • The Deedle Deedle Dees – Tesla v. Edison
  • Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – Secret Superhero
  • Rachel Loshak – Oh Girl
  • The Deedle Deedle Dees – Super Strong
  • Vered – Something Other Than a Mom
  • The Deedle Deedle Dees – Typhoid Mary Tells Her Side of Things
  • SLV – History
  • Lucy Kalantari – Fantastic






Literature Spotlight: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Pumpkins: History, Culture and Community Celebration

Pumpkins: History, Culture and Community Celebration

Called “pompions” by the first European colonists, pumpkins were a food essential to winter survival – and they were grown in many more varieties than they typically are today.  The custom of carving pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns was introduced to American culture by Irish immigrants, influencing our cultural landscape to this day. Traditionally carved from root vegetables, including  turnips and potatoes, new hybrids of pumpkins are grown specifically for carving.

Annual October events that bring communities together through the lens of food (pumpkins) and culture (Halloween) include… Read the rest of this entry »

Art History: Summit of Mt. Holyoke

Thomas Cole, The Oxbow, 1836

Really want to entrench yourself in local art history?  Then paint at the summit of Mt. Holyoke!  The mountain (not the college!) is the site of Thomas Cole’s 1836 painting “View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm” (commonly known as “The Oxbow”).  This painting depicts the Connecticut River Valley and highlights Cole’s interest in depicting two parts of the American landscape: pastoral farmland and wild forest.

For full lesson, visit www.khanacademy.org.

View an interactive image of the painting at www.explorethomascole.org.  (Can you see where the artist inserted an image of himself painting en plein air in the painting?)

Science of Autumn Leaves

Science of Autumn Leaves

Crisp fall days are a great time for outdoor hands-on science! Using fall-harvested crops and the natural phenomena of autumn as inspiration, families can explore everything from weather prediction to animal tracks. These engaging outdoor science projects can be enjoyed by scientists of all ages, and require few materials – the learning inspired by each project will come naturally thanks to participants’ curiosity and ability to observe! Learn what color leaves different trees produce in the autumn and learn to read your landscape.

As foliage begins to shed its summer green, explorations of leaves and trees become especially engaging. Using leaves found on trees right in a backyard, families can practice leaf and tree identification. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Rivers, Critters and Pirate Misfit Episode with Guest DJs, Funkinships (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Rivers, Critters and Pirate Misfit Episode
with Guest DJs, Funkinships


During this segment an unlikely band of musical misfits known as Funkinships, share some of their favorite songs about the river that brought them together. Learn about the critters that make the water a magical place and why we need to keep the rivers clean for them. —www.funkinships.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
October 8th & 9th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: From Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday concert (Clearwater Concert) at Madison Square Garden in 2009. Featuring: Pete Seeger, Taj Mahal, Steve Earle, Toshi Reagon, Warren Haynes, and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger.

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  • Funkinships – “Sea Legs” [Post Folk Absurdist]
  • Shel Silverstien – “Captain Hook” [Where The Sidewalk Ends]
  • Pete Seeger and Ed Renehan – “The Old Ben Franklin and the Sloop Sally B”[Fifty Sail on Newburgh Bay]
  • Funkinships – “The Shad and The Eel”[Post Folk Absurdist]
  • Make and Clancy – “A Place in the Choir” [The Makem and Clancey Collection]
  • Kermit the Frog – “Rainbow Connection” [The Muppet Movie Original Soundtrack]
  • Lyle Lovett – “If I had a Boat” [Pontiac]
  • Funkinships – “Left Foot, Right Foot”[Post Folk Absurdist]
  • Sesame Street – “Alligator King” [The Count Counts: Vol. 1]
  • Pete Seeger – “Sailing Down my Golden River” [Pete]
  • Funkinships – “If You Cant Sing Well Sing Loud”[Post Folk Absurdist]
  • Derek McGee – “The Donkey Of Violet Hill”
  • John Hartford – “Turn Your Radio On” [Steam Powered Aero Plane]
  • Funkinships – “The Great Whale Ball”[Post Folk Absurdist]


HFVS Autumn Episode with Guest DJ, Lucy Kalantari (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Autumn Episode with
Guest DJ, Lucy Kalantari

Explore the joys of autumn with guest DJ Lucy Kalantari. With music spanning decades from the 1930s to the present she includes the voices of Ella Fitzgerald, Earth, Wind & Fire, The White Stripes, Joanie Leeds, Mister G, and many more. Everyone has something to say about autumn. — www.LucyKalantari.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
October 1st & 2nd, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video:  Joanie Leeds and The Nightlights – “Falling”

 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:


  • Earth, Wind & Fire – “September” [The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1]
  • Joanie Leeds and The Nightlights – “Falling” [Bandwagon]
  • Wendy & DB – “Jump Into Fall” [Pockets, Seasons, Rhymes And Reasons]
  • Chibi Kodama – “Moonlight Dance” [Stardust]
  • The White Stripes – “We’re Going To Be Friends” [White Blood Cells]
  • Sean’s Music Factory – “Kindergarten Shoes” [Love and Music]
  • Julie Andrews “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” [Mary Poppins (Soundtrack)]
  • Mister G – “Luckiest Kid in the World” [Pizza for Breakfast]
  • Laura Doherty – “I’m a Tree” [Shining Like a Star]
  • Sarah Vaughan – “September In The Rain” [Sarah Vaughan At Mister Kelly’s]
  • Lucy Kalantari – “It’s Halloween” [Big Things]
  • Grin Brigade – “Must Be Halloween” [Crazy With Happiness]
  • Ken Page – “Oogie Boogie’s Song” [The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack]
  • Lucy Kalantari – “Mysterious Mose” [Big Things]
  • Tom Proutt & Emily Gary – “Fall of the Year” [A Celebration of the Seasons: Goodnight Songs]
  • Gene Kelly – “Singin’ In The Rain” [Singing In The Rain – Original Film Soundtrack]
  • Ella Fitzgerald – “Early Autumn” [Early Autumn]
  • Lucy Kalantari – “Balloon” [Big Things]
  • Jon Samson – “Why I Love the Seasons” [A New Kids Album]






Learning through the Lens of Food: Apples

Poetry, Place & Hearth: Apples

Food connects us. It’s an integral part of our cultural identity and is often prepared with the idea of sharing, giving, and enjoying together.  Nothing indicates the beginning of autumn and the fall harvest in Western Massachusetts like the crisp bite of a local apple picked right off the tree, or the sweet taste of a freshly baked apple pie.

Apple season is a beloved time of year in New England with apple orchards preserving our heritage, regional identity, and local landscape. By visiting pick-your-own apple orchards, we meet the farmers that grow our food, learn firsthand how apples grow, and engage in the seasonality of the land and the sense of belonging it instills within us. Traditional recipes, the scenic orchard landscapes, and the representation of apple-picking in literature and art remind us of how the apple has become a rich part of our cultural heritage. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do Apples Grow?

HFVS Inspiration for Hispanic Heritage Month with Guest DJs, Andrés & Christina

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

HFVS Inspiration for Hispanic Heritage Month
with Guest DJs, Andrés & Christina

Andrés and Christina from 123 Andrés share the things that inspire them. Friends, travel, and dreams fill this episode, along with music from different artists… including a zombie! — www.123andres.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
September 17th & 18th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: 123 Andrés – “The Seed” [Arriba Abajo]

 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter


  • 123 Andrés – “Ten Little Birds” [Arriba Abajo]
  • Nathalia – “Que llueva” [Cuando era pequeña (When I Was Your Age)]
  • Orlando Valle “Maraca” – “Almendra” [Formula Uno]
  • 123 Andrés – “Vuela, vuela” [Arriba Abajo]
  • Tu Rockcito – “Cantar En Un Concierto de Rock” [Rockcitis Aguda]
  • Chuchumbé (feat. Zenen Zeferino) – “Conga de San Benito” [¡Caramba Niño!]
  • Poncho Sanchez – “Watermelon Man” [Conga Blue]
  • Los Wemblers de Iquitos – “Sonido Amazónico” [La Danza del Petrolero]
  • 123 Andrés – “Tickles” [Arriba Abajo]
  • Palavra Cantada – “Bolacha de Água e Sal” [Especial Dia Das Crianças]
  • 123 Andrés – “The Seed” [Arriba Abajo]
  • Rita Rosa y Amigos – “La Rana” [Fiesta en la Tierra Akanamandla]
  • Rita del Prado & Dúo Karma – “Mambo Congrí” [En Guarandinga por Toda Cuba]
  • Manuel Garcia – “Acuario” [Acuario]
  • 31 Minutos – “Arwrarwrirwrarwro (Bombi)” [Arwrarwrirwrarwro (Banda Sonora Original de la Cuarta Temporada)]


One-Room Schoolhouse: Connecting to Place through Literature & History

One-Room Schoolhouse: Connecting to Place through Literature & History

In the 1800’s, the traditional academic year was quite different in New England. An element of seasonality was incorporated into how the school term was determined. In rural areas, children who helped out on the family farm attended school during the winter and stayed home to assist with the harvest during the summer and fall. In a one-room schoolhouse, grade levels were often mixed and one teacher was responsible for all of the students’ learning. A man or woman, the school teacher assigned tasks to each student depending on the pupil’s age, grade, and level of advancement.

19th century poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, wrote a poem that describes well a typical country schoolhouse in New England. A Quaker, abolitionist, and native of Haverhill, MA, Whittier is part of a group of poets also known as the schoolroom poets. Whittier, William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. were considered the first American poets to bring forth an authentic American voice and rival the British poets. They were referred to as the Schoolroom Poets, Fireside Poets, or Household Poets given their popularity and widely read works. One of Whittier’s poems, “In School-days,” read here in this video by Tom O’Bedlam, describes the memory of an old man as he recalls a fellow student and the life lesson she taught him.

When listening to (or reading) this poem, notice the description of the schoolhouse: the warped floors, the schoolmaster’s worn desk, and the battered seats of the students – all characteristics that point to a typical 19th century schoolhouse in New England.  Read the rest of this entry »

Who Were the Fireside Poets?

History of Education: A Lesson

Contemporary Conversations About Education

Contemporary Conversations About Education

Contemporary conversations about modern day education include” inspiring and forward-looking leaders and thinkers on the topic of learning, including Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, Bill Gates, Rita F. Pierson, Sir Ken Robinson and Geoffrey Canada, among others.” Hear what many of these folks have to share in this this TED Talk special on education:

29 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Economics to Psychology. Nature Walks to Migration.

Want to organize a Monarch Butterfly tagging effort? Monarch Watch has instructions and kits with tags for tracking.

Economics to Psychology. Fall Foliage to Graveyards. Songbirds to Coding. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlights this week:  You can become a citizen scientist on Wednesday, September 14, 4pm-6pm by helping to tag monarchs before they head south to the overwintering grounds in Mexico. Jennifer Unkles has been tagging monarchs since 1997. She will be teaching participants at the Hitchcock Center about the monarch’s life cycle, their epic annual migration, how the tagging program works, and how to tag any monarchs you’re able to catch and release. Registration is recommended. 413-256-6006. 845 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Industrial HistoryCutlerySeed SavingService-Based LearningClimate ChangeImmigrationEconomicsGuided HikesFood StudiesWild EdiblesMigrationSTEMOpera1Computer ProgrammingHorticultureBilingualismOrnithologyFood HistoryCulinary ArtsEntomologyCitizen ScienceFinancial LiteracyPsychologyCartographyAncestryCemetery Walk

Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:

Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Back to School Episode with Guest DJ, Joanie Leeds (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Back to School Episode
with Guest DJ, Joanie Leeds

Joanie Leeds of Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights guest DJs our Back To School Episode. Joanie hand picked all of the school themed songs including a few from her CD, Bandwagon as well as from artists such as: Pop Ups, Dizzy Gillespie, Justin Roberts, Bari Koral, Recess Monkey, Lunch Money, Astrograss, Miss Nina, They Might Be Giants, The Verve Pipe, Chuck Berry, Trout Fishing in America and Rocknoceros.  – www.joanieleeds.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
September 3rd & 4th, 2016
Original Broadcast: Aug 31, 2013
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  Joanie Leeds & the Nightlights , “Back to School.”

 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:


  • Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights – “Back to School” (Bandwagon)
  • Pop Ups- “Math Rock” – (Radio Jungle)
  • Dizzy Gillespie – “School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)” – (School Days)
  • Justin Roberts – “Recess” – (Recess)
  • Bari Koral – “Backpack” (Family Rock Band)
  • Recess Monkey – “Science Fair” (The Final Funktier)
  • Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights – Use Your Words- (Bandwagon)
  • Lunch Money – “I Love My Library” – (Dizzy)
  • Astrograss – “Continental Geography” – (The Colored Pencil Factory)
  • Miss Nina – “New Alphabet” – (Sha Doo Be Doop)
  • They Might Be Giants – “Meet the Elements” – (Here Comes the Science)
  • The Verve Pipe – “Homework Blues Stomp” – (Are We There Yet)
  • Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights – Bandwagon- (Bandwagon)
  • Chuck Berry – “School Days” – (The Anthology)
  • Trout Fishing in America – “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers” – (Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers)
  • Crossing Guard – “Rocknoceros” – (Pink!)
  • Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights – “Nightlights”- (Bandwagon)


SciShow: Teaching the World of Science Through Video

SciShow: Teaching the World of Science Through Video

Spotlighting the most engaging and fascinating of scientific topics with brevity, SciShow brings kid-friendly web-based doses of science to screens everywhere! Offered through SciShow’s Youtube channel are dozens upon dozens of videos teaching about everything from plasma to the influences of science fiction.

Science-curious learners of almost any age can take advantage of the information offered through SciShow’s videos in numerous ways, including gaining exposure to new topics, solidifying understanding of topics already explored, or adding background knowledge to topics explored through experience.  Read the rest of this entry »

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