Back-to-School: Learning through the Lens of the Season


Who am I? Where am I? These are the fundamental questions proposed by the humanities. Inquiries related to local history, literature, and education, inspire us to think deeply about the places where we live and how our identity fits into the context of our community and the seasons.

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a new 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.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

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Literature Guide for Eden Ross Lipson and Mordicai Gerstein’s Applesauce Season

Literature Guide for Eden Ross Lipson and Mordicai Gerstein’s Applesauce Season

Download our literary guide for Applesauce Season.

Applesauce Season is the quintessential fall book: a young narrator describes with wonder the coming of apple season and the family food traditions that follow suit, subtly teaching readers all the while about apple varieties and the natural flow of the fruit’s season. Readers follow the narrator from farmers’ market, to kitchen, to table again and again while learning not only the specifics of applesauce, but the many other ways in which apples can be preserved and enjoyed during the fall.

Set in an urban area, the story brings concepts, skills, and traditions generally associated with rural living into a modern city. Rather than being grown and harvested in the narrator’s backyard or community, the apples that narrator so loves are sold at a neighborhood farmers’ market, introducing the idea of food systems to readers.  Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: September 11-15, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
September 11-15, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

 

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

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 new 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 9th & 10th, 2017
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:

PLAYLIST

 

  • 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)

[Orignial broadcast: August 31st & September 1st, 2013]

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Suggested Events for September 9th-15th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Sat & Sun thru Labor Day

Hoosac Valley Train rides are for families, groups, and couples. Travel 10 miles on a one-hour scenic train trip through history. Staff are excited to share this rail experience with you. Their authentic Budd railcar is from 1955. Gift shop has memorabilia and rail-related products for adults and children. Group size 20+ are asked to make reservations one week in advance. Summer train rides are every Sat and Sun thru Labor Day at 11am, 1:30pm, and 3pm. Cost $8/10/12. Cabaret Trains are Saturday Aug 26, Sept 9 & 23. Cost $20. Purchase tickets online only to guarantee your seats or come 30 minutes before ride to purchase tickets at the counter. 80 persons per ride. See www.hoosacvalleytrainride.com or contact info@berkshirescenicrailroad.org.

Sep 10

Celebrate Grandparents Day at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA on Saturday, September 10th from 1:30-3pm. Children ages 4 and up are invited to bring along their grandparents, family members, or caregivers to celebrate this special day by sharing stories and making art together. In this workshop, participants will read stories inspired by grandparents and work together to make creative books that will become a keepsake for years to come. Held in their Art Studio, attendees can enjoy the Museum before or after the workshop. $12 per adult/child pair. Sign up at www.carlemuseum.org by September 4th.

The Prindle School is a music school in the Pioneer Valley offering private music lessons, classes, and ensembles. Their faculty have a wealth of experience delivering exactly the right program of lessons for each individual client: young children as they begin their music journey, highly dedicated professional musicians, adult learners who hope to bring more joy into their lives, and everything in between. They offer lessons on all instruments and voice in two convenient locations: 123 Union Street, Suite 301 in downtown Easthampton; and 31 Campus Plaza Road in Hadley, just off of Route 9 near the Amherst town line. For more information or to register, call 844-929-1909, email info@theprindleschool.com, or visit www.theprindleschool.com.

Begin Sep 5

Amherst Archery Academy offers multi-level, multi-generational archery classes for kids ages 7 and up. Your archer will use a quality Olympic-Style Recurve Bow to learn the National Training System which is used by our USA Olympic archers to develop consistent and focused arrow releases. Their friendly, professional coaches work with each archer-athlete to create a solid foundation of archery. Openings in all classes, Tuesday through Saturday, beginning September 5, 2017. 90-minute classes meet once a week for five weeks at their indoor range in Florence. All equipment provided. Para-athletes are welcome. Private lessons also available. All classes are taught by USA Archery certified coaches. www.amherstarchery.com

Sep 11 -Dec 1

Join Pioneer Valley Ballet for their Fall Session, September 11-December 1. PVB is offering an 8-week community class for ages 4-6 and an 11 week pre-professional ballet training for all ages. Modern and contemporary ballet are other options. Adult ballet is offered Sundays 4:30-6pm. Visit online at www.pioneervalleyballet.org to register. Join PVB for their 40th season of Nutcracker performances on December 8-10. Community auditions are September 9 for ages 5-10. No dance experience necessary. Pioneer Valley Ballet is located in the Eastworks Building at 116 Pleasant Street in Easthampton, MA. 413-527-6363.

Trial Class Sept 20

A delightful music class for children age 0-5 and their grown-ups, created and taught by national recording artist, Katryna Nields. All songs are hand-selected by Katryna and Nerissa Nields. In HooteNanny, participants sing, play, and dance and make wonderful friendships. Come spend playful, enriching, connected time with your child and be part of the wonderful HooteNanny community. Fall session begins September 27/28, 2017. Free trial class on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 10am. For more information go to www.hootenannyfamily.com or write to hootenannymusicclass@gmail.com.

Learn in Motion gets kids playing and learning through enrichment programming for schools, libraries and museums, educational introductory sports classes, and special events. Programs get children off screens, active, learning and having a ball. They encourage children to socialize and practice important life skills such as sharing, listening, following directions, working as a team, and overcoming obstacles. Through their programming, Learn in Motion also teaches traditional academic content such as letters, numbers, shapes, colors and more. For more information about their schedule, programs and offerings, visit www.learninmotionma.com, email learninmotionma@gmail.com or call 413-244-2073.

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating. Students graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE. Use promo code HTF201617 and receive $10 OFF your entire purchase of any instructional program!

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
September 9th-15th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Agricultural Fairs: Learning through the Lens of the Season


Who am I? Where am I? These are the fundamental questions proposed by the humanities. Inquiries related to local history, literature, and education, inspire us to think deeply about the places where we live and how our identity fits into the context of our community and the seasons.

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a new 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.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

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Off the Mat: Sandwich Generation

Eclipsed

Full moon shines through the camper van window, directly onto my face. I take advantage, risk the click of the door waking my guys. Upon arrival, we’d scoped the lay of the land: bathrooms, camp store, path to the beach. I head toward the latter, no need for a flashlight in the moonlight.

And have the beach to myself, so far as I know. Talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity! I sit. Listen. Think. Stretch some. Breathe. Notice. The movement behind me is my own shadow. I cast a moon shadow. Yes, it followed me, just like in the old song.

Weeks later… Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: September 4th-8th, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
September 4th-8th, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

 

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HFVS Wildlife Episode with Guest DJs, Casey & Kevin from The Whizpops

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Wildlife Episode with Guest DJs, Casey & Kevin from The Whizpops

Kevin and Casey of The Whizpops have put together a fun educational show about wildlife and imagination seamlessly weaving songs about animals both real and make-believe. Join them on a musical journey through endangered species, mustaches, and even unicorns! — www.thewhizpops.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
September 2nd & 3rd, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video Series: TED-Ed Animals


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • The Tokens – “The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)” [The Lion Sleeps Tonight]
  • The Pop Ups – “The Bat” [Radio Jungle]
  • The Whizpops – “Monarch” [Ranger Rick’s Trail Mix Vol. 1]
  • Caspar Babypants – “Butterfly Driving A Truck” [Sing Along!]
  • The Whizpops – “Pika” [Ranger Rick’s Trail Mix Vol. 1]
  • The Big Wu – “Kangaroo” [Tracking Buffalo Through The Bathroom]
  • The Pop Ups – “Elephant” [Radio Jungle]
  • The Whizpops – “Everything’s Better With A Mustache (Walrus Song)” [Ranger Rick’s Trail Mix Vol. 1]
  • FunkeyMonkeys – “Mustache” [[Mustache]
  • The Salamanders – “Please Don’t Eat My Guitar” [[The Salamanders]
  • Ylvis – “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” [The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?) – Single]
  • The Whizpops – “Swift Fox” [Ranger Rick’s Trail Mix Vol. 1]
  • Blitzen Trapper – “Furr” [Furr]
  • Sallie Ford and the Outside Sound – “Not an Animal” [Dirty Radio]
  • Brent Holmes – “I Can’t Wait To Hibernate” [Bear Tunes for Kids]
  • Recess Monkey – “Lovestruck Unicorn” [Novelties]

[Original broadcast: July 30th & 31st, 2016]

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Suggested Events for September 2nd-8th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Sat & Sun thru Labor Day

Hoosac Valley Train rides are for families, groups, and couples. Travel 10 miles on a one-hour scenic train trip through history. Staff are excited to share this rail experience with you. Their authentic Budd railcar is from 1955. Gift shop has memorabilia and rail-related products for adults and children. Group size 20+ are asked to make reservations one week in advance. Summer train rides are every Sat and Sun thru Labor Day at 11am, 1:30pm, and 3pm. Cost $8/10/12. Cabaret Trains are Saturday Aug 26, Sept 9 & 23. Cost $20. Purchase tickets online only to guarantee your seats or come 30 minutes before ride to purchase tickets at the counter. 80 persons per ride. See www.hoosacvalleytrainride.com or contact info@berkshirescenicrailroad.org.

Sep 10

Celebrate Grandparents Day at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA on Saturday, September 10th from 1:30-3pm. Children ages 4 and up are invited to bring along their grandparents, family members, or caregivers to celebrate this special day by sharing stories and making art together. In this workshop, participants will read stories inspired by grandparents and work together to make creative books that will become a keepsake for years to come. Held in their Art Studio, attendees can enjoy the Museum before or after the workshop. $12 per adult/child pair. Sign up at www.carlemuseum.org by September 4th.

It’s not too late to try a new educational path this fall. Check out Oak Meadow’s flexible, creative homeschooling curriculum for K-12, or enrollment in their teacher-supported distance learning school. K-4 curriculum is child-centered, experiential, nature-based. 5-8 encourages student autonomy and intellectual development. High school offers teens the freedom to pursue their passions and interests while taking challenging academic courses. Single courses also available. Start anytime! Now offering three layers of support options for home teachers. Visit oakmeadow.com to learn more.​

Begin Sep 5

Amherst Archery Academy offers multi-level, multi-generational archery classes for kids ages 7 and up. Your archer will use a quality Olympic-Style Recurve Bow to learn the National Training System which is used by our USA Olympic archers to develop consistent and focused arrow releases. Their friendly, professional coaches work with each archer-athlete to create a solid foundation of archery. Openings in all classes, Tuesday through Saturday, beginning September 5, 2017. 90-minute classes meet once a week for five weeks at their indoor range in Florence. All equipment provided. Para-athletes are welcome. Private lessons also available. All classes are taught by USA Archery certified coaches. www.amherstarchery.com

The Prindle School is a music school in the Pioneer Valley offering private music lessons, classes, and ensembles. Their faculty have a wealth of experience delivering exactly the right program of lessons for each individual client: young children as they begin their music journey, highly dedicated professional musicians, adult learners who hope to bring more joy into their lives, and everything in between. They offer lessons on all instruments and voice in two convenient locations: 123 Union Street, Suite 301 in downtown Easthampton; and 31 Campus Plaza Road in Hadley, just off of Route 9 near the Amherst town line. For more information or to register, call 844-929-1909, email info@theprindleschool.com, or visit www.theprindleschool.com.

Sep 11 -Dec 1

Join Pioneer Valley Ballet for their Fall Session, September 11-December 1. PVB is offering an 8-week community class for ages 4-6 and an 11 week pre-professional ballet training for all ages. Modern and contemporary ballet are other options. Adult ballet is offered Sundays 4:30-6pm. Visit online at www.pioneervalleyballet.org to register. Join PVB for their 40th season of Nutcracker performances on December 8-10. Community auditions are September 9 for ages 5-10. No dance experience necessary. Pioneer Valley Ballet is located in the Eastworks Building at 116 Pleasant Street in Easthampton, MA. 413-527-6363.

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating. Students graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE. Use promo code HTF201617 and receive $10 OFF your entire purchase of any instructional program!

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
September 2nd-8th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: September 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
September 2017

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of September. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week.

If you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, story hours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:

Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Hinsdale-Peru, Pittsfield, Sandisfield, Windsor, Washington, and Mt. Washington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Directory Features Enrichment Programs & After-School Classes!

Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners. We have put together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year.

Debuting in our directory are the following classes and programs with more opportunities added throughout the year:


Add your program or class! Reach thousands of families in the region with our 2017-2018 directory. If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages. Classes and programs can be added and updated at any time.

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YA Book Review: Romance, Fantasy, and Social Justice in Shadowshaper

August Review: Shadowshaper By Daniel Jose Older

Daniel Jose Older’s young adult fantasy novel Shadowshaper (Published by Scholastic, Inc. 2015) accomplishes a great deal in under 300 pages. On the surface, Older weaves an exciting, at times creepy plot featuring magic and romance. On a deeper level, he tactfully addresses several issues at the intersection of race, self-esteem, and body image for his main character Sierra Santiago. There is a lot for young, as well as adult readers, to analyze in Shadowshaper. Older raises important questions related to the ethics of anthropology, asking readers: Who gets to study whom, and why?
Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Boating Season

Season of Boating

The water is warmer and the ponds, lakes, and rivers are often swelling with water from summer thunderstorms. Whether it’s in a kayak or a canoe, paddling on the open water offers a unique perspective to witness wildlife, get exercise, and recreate outdoors.

Building watercrafts to traverse water is an ancient practice. In the America’s, there are many examples of indigenous canoes that allows for water travel across rivers and lakes. Often, these watercraft were built by hand from bark, animal skins, and logs and utilized for travel and trade. Compare the craft of these crafts with modern canoes today which are often built out of fiberglass by machines.

While kayaks seem to have originated in Greenland and utilized by Eskimos in Northern, cold climates, the canoe was built and used throughout the world by different cultures and peoples. Canoes were built as open tops and still keep this feature today whereas kayaks originated in the Arctic as closed top boats to prevent the icy water from getting into the boat, usually by stretching animal skins over the top.  Canoes: A Natural History in North America by Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims is an excellent literary choice for learning more about the history of canoeing.

With a historic appreciation of canoes and kayaks, there are many unique waterways in Western Massachusetts to take these crafts out to explore and connect with our local landscape. If you don’t have a boat for paddling, check out your local outdoor outfitter for boat rentals. Additionally, many campgrounds open for day use offer boat rentals for paddling adventures.  Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for August: Autobiography

Nature Table for August

Every month, Hilltown Families features a new nature table whose contents inspire learning along a common theme easily spotted in our surroundings that month. A tradition carried out by teachers, environmental educators, and nature-curious families, nature tables bring a little bit of the outdoors inside for inspection, dissection, identification, creative play, art projects, and lots of other educational activities. The idea behind a nature table is to help open up children’s eyes to the unique attributes of each season, and to help them learn how to see these things in nature for themselves. A nature table can include a variety of items, and is often accompanied by a set of books and/or field guides so that children can take part in further learning at their own will.

August is heavy in the air. Slightly shortened days, daytime humidity, and a slight evening chill are the hallmark (and ominous) signs of a summer that has begun to give way to fall. As always, we’re attuned to the changes happening in the natural world around us, yet somehow our emotional response to the change in seasons can cloud our ability to notice the natural phenomena nearby. Rather than marveling in the shifts taking place all around us (dandelions are scarce, baby birds have fledged, berries are almost out of season), August tends to make us nostalgic – the impending ending inspiring reflection rather than observation.

As a compulsive treasure collector, I gather small souvenirs wherever I go. My house, my car, my backpack, my pockets, and the house, car, backpack, and pockets of everyone I adventure with are littered with tiny specimens. Sometimes delicate and always fascinating, these treasures hold stories. Not only are they emblematic of a certain type of habitat, a growing season, or the cycle of life and death, they serve as narration for my summer adventures. The small pile that has accumulated is a double autobiography: it shares the story of the landscape, and shares my story as well. The way that I have moved through the landscape and the ways that I have interacted with my surroundings all become clear in this mini-museum of summer’s artifacts.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Rivers & Roads

Rivers & Roads

Imagine a world without roads. No highways, interstates, traffic lights, or roundabouts. For most of us, the only way of life we’ve ever known is shaped by our roads and the technologies that transport us – and what we consume – from place to place. Of course, many defining characteristics of modern life would be completely different or nonexistent without our modern road systems, but perhaps for now, we’ll focus on the implications that roads have on nonhuman entities.

Roads provide corridors for wildlife to move and feed along, but all too often are fraught with danger and death due to our mode of transportation: the car. A road might be likened to a river, providing a means to travel from place to place, but a true river is also a source of life and sustenance to all the creatures which depend on it. We have learned that cleaning up rivers benefits both humans and other species, and as is often mentioned, rivers are a crucial part of the proverbial web of life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: August 28 – September 1, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
August 28 – September 1, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

 

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HFVS Hilarious Episode with Guest DJs, Randy & Dave (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Hilarious Episode with Guest DJs, Randy & Dave

You better warn your funny bone because it’s about to get a real workout.  Hit songwriters Randy Sharp and Dave Kinnoin, sometimes known as Randy & Dave, bring you songs and other silly stuff. Amidst the laughter, you might learn a few things about an American hero, get some advice on how to deal with your friends and relatives, or even receive tips on how to cope with unwanted flying objects. Randy & Dave recommend you not take any of it too seriously.  — songwizard.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
August 26th & 27th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke and the Pearly Chorus – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious [Mary Poppins original soundtrack]


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Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Alan Sherman – Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah [Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah]
  • Randy & Dave – Last Word [Calling All the Elephants]
  • Grin Brigade – Dorky Haircut [Crazy with Happiness}
  • Trout Fishing in America – My Hair Had a Party Last Night [My World]
  • Jonathan Sprout – Peanut Man [American Heroes #3]
  • Randy & Dave – Miriam’s Muse [Calling All the Elephants]
  • Sheb Wooley – Purple People-Eater [Purple People Eater]
  • Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke and the Pearly Chorus – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious [Mary Poppins original soundtrack]
  • Grin Brigade – Funky Hu – [Crazy With Happiness]
  • Randy & Dave – Last Time I Was Here [Life on a Trampoline]
  • Katherine Dines – Ooey Gooey Stew [Hunk-Ta-Bunkta Spooky]
  • Harry Nilsson – Coconut [Nilsson Schmilsson]
  • Bill Harley – There’s a Pea on My Plate [There’s a Pea on My Plate]
  • Shel Silverstein – Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out [Where the Sidewalk Ends]
  • Randy & Dave – Happy to Help [Life on a Trampoline]

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Suggested Events for August 26th-September 1st, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs

Reach thousands of families in the region with our 2017-2018 directory! Reserve your space. Our community is rich in after-school learning opportunities to supplement the interests of our children, teens, and life-long learners. We are putting together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts to be published on our web site later this month and featured throughout the school year. If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.

Bulletin Board

Sat & Sun thru Labor Day

Hoosac Valley Train rides are for families, groups, and couples. Travel 10 miles on a one-hour scenic train trip through history. Staff are excited to share this rail experience with you. Their authentic Budd railcar is from 1955. Gift shop has memorabilia and rail-related products for adults and children. Group size 20+ are asked to make reservations one week in advance. Summer train rides are every Sat and Sun thru Labor Day at 11am, 1:30pm, and 3pm. Cost $8/10/12. Cabaret Trains are Saturday Aug 26, Sept 9 & 23. Cost $20. Purchase tickets online only to guarantee your seats or come 30 minutes before ride to purchase tickets at the counter. 80 persons per ride. See www.hoosacvalleytrainride.com or contact info@berkshirescenicrailroad.org.

It’s not too late to try a new educational path this fall. Check out Oak Meadow’s flexible, creative homeschooling curriculum for K-12, or enrollment in their teacher-supported distance learning school. K-4 curriculum is child-centered, experiential, nature-based. 5-8 encourages student autonomy and intellectual development. High school offers teens the freedom to pursue their passions and interests while taking challenging academic courses. Single courses also available. Start anytime! Now offering three layers of support options for home teachers. Visit oakmeadow.com to learn more.​

Sep 24

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event is returning for its seventh year on Sun., Sept. 24 in Hatfield. You can pedal towards a hunger free community by participating in this fun event. With 4 routes to choose from (10, 25, 50 or 100 miles), riders of all ages can get involved. When you’re done riding, you’ll want to make sure you stay for the After-Party. They’ll have a cookout with food from Smithsonian Caterers, including BBQ chicken, burgers, hot dogs, and salads. Berkshire Brewing Company will be back to serve their selection of craft beer. Early bird registration ends Aug. 31. To register, visit their website at willbike4food.org.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 26th-Sept 1st, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Kitchen Scrap Gardening Offers Hands-On Learning

How Compost Can Support Experiential Learning

While almost all food scraps make great compost, certain scraps can make something even more wonderful – more food! Families can engage in hands-on experiential learning by collecting bits of these special foods and creating their own mini-gardens. Young gardeners can learn about how plants grow, and can enjoy delicious homegrown foods with ease! Read how in our post, 17 Kitchen Scraps Born Anew for Experiential Learning.

[Photo credit: (cc) mannewaar]

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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 »

Learning Ahead: Camping

 Season of Summer Camping

Summer is camping season! Campgrounds are open, tents are aired out, and the makings for s’mores are ready for starry nights surrounding the campfire telling stories and enjoying each other’s company. The smell of campfire and early morning rises in the woods during the cooler hours of the morning define the spirit of summer outside in New England.

Backcountry camping is different from car camping. Car camping allows folks to pack all of their gear into their car, drive to a campsite, and pitch a tent at a maintained campground or an area for camping. Generally, your car is close to where you pitch your tent, and most campground areas have sites and amenities (such as showers, rental equipment, and trails). Backcountry camping involves carrying everything you need in your pack, so you must be frugel with your packing. It also means you might be setting up camp in the woods in an area of your discretion, as opposed to having a site with amenities. It’s a different experience, and both allow for a range of adventure. Read the rest of this entry »

Bird Language Connects Citizens to Their Habitat

Bird Language Connects Citizens to Their Habitat

Why do birds vocalize simple chirps sometimes while at other times they emit elaborate, melodious songs? “Bird language” is a term referring to the combined chirps, songs, and behaviors which allow birds to communicate with each other. Humans can study the sounds and behaviors of birds in order to gain an understanding of what they are communicating.

The following video gives examples of bird sounds and their meanings:

Why study bird sounds? The study of bird language intersects with the broader topics of animal studies and biology, and can connect people to their local habitat through a greater level of awareness of animal interaction. Learning about bird language, and identifying birds by sound, requires concentration and careful listening skills. An interest in ornithology can thus improve our listening skills in general. Quieting the mind and tuning in to particular sounds and sensations is a skill which can be applied to mindfulness, and even music studies. Bird songs have in fact had a great impact on human music, and as a result, culture. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: August 21-25, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
August 21-25, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

 

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HFVS Eclectic Happiness Episode with Guest DJ, Chris Ballew (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Eclectic Happiness Episode with Guest DJ,
Chris Ballew of Caspar Babypants

The theme of this show is “songs that make you happy.” Through a variety of styles and genres Caspar Babypants takes the listener on a smile generating ride through some of his favorite happy tunes that lift spirits and make people dance and sing or just happily groove along. – www.babypantsmusic.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
August 19th & 20th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Caspar Babypants – “Blackberry Pie” [Jump For Joy!]


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Blossom Dearie – “Put On A Happy Face” [May I Come In?]
  • Buddy Holly – “Everyday” [Greatest Hits]
  • Caspar Babypants – “Blackberry Pie” [Jump For Joy!]
  • Brushy One String – “Chicken In The Corn” [Destiny]
  • Big Block Sing Song – “Hair” [Greatest Hits]
  • Caspar Babypants – “Free Couch” [Jump For Joy!]
  • Komeda – “Blossom (Got To Get It Out) [Kokomemedada]
  • Elvis Presley – “Blue Suede Shoes” [Elvis ’56]
  • Johnny Cash – “Nasty Dan” [The Children’s Album]
  • Frances England – “Digging In The Dirt” [Fascinating Creatures]
  • Dean Jones – “Tiny Fishes” [Napper’s Delight]
  • Dee-light – “Groove Is In Teh Heart” – [World Clique]
  • Tallboys – “Cumberland Gap” [Yeah Buddy]
  • Stevie Wonder – “Fingertips Part 2” [Definitive Collection]
  • Vince Guaraldi Trio – “Linus And Lucy” [A Boy Named Charlie Brown]
  • Caspar Babypants – “Pushy The Tug” [Jump For Joy!]
  • Greg Ruby Quartet – “Easy For You” [Look Both Ways]

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Suggested Events for August 19th-25th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs

Reach thousands of families in the region with our 2017-2018 directory! Reserve your space. Our community is rich in after-school learning opportunities to supplement the interests of our children, teens, and life-long learners. We are putting together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts to be published on our web site later this month and featured throughout the school year. If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.

Bulletin Board

Sat & Sun thru Labor Day

Hoosac Valley Train rides are for families, groups, and couples. Travel 10 miles on a one-hour scenic train trip through history. Staff are excited to share this rail experience with you. Their authentic Budd railcar is from 1955. Gift shop has memorabilia and rail-related products for adults and children. Group size 20+ are asked to make reservations one week in advance. Summer train rides are every Sat and Sun thru Labor Day at 11am, 1:30pm, and 3pm. Cost $8/10/12. Cabaret Trains are Saturday Aug 26, Sept 9 & 23. Cost $20. Purchase tickets online only to guarantee your seats or come 30 minutes before ride to purchase tickets at the counter. 80 persons per ride. See www.hoosacvalleytrainride.com or contact info@berkshirescenicrailroad.org.

Aug 19

The Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a day-long festival featuring students, alumnae, and faculty including: And the Kids, Christine Ohlman, Felixis Jinx, June Millington, Kalliope Jones, Kristen Ford, Leah Kunkel, Lioness, Mal Devisa, Naia Kete, Parlicium, SpaceKase, Whoda’ Funk It?, and Wishbone Zoe. Takes place on Saturday, August 19th at IMA’s Big Barn lawn at 165 Cape Street (Highway 112) in Goshen, MA. Gates open at 11am. Family friendly. Festival seating. Food & drink vendors on-site. Picnicking allowed. For tickets & information visit www.ima.org.

Ohana means family! Ohana School of Performing Arts in South Hadley is a family that shares a passion for creativity, self-expression, love, and performance. It’s a place where you can experience life-enriching, all-inclusive classes that inspire children and adults to express themselves through movement, dream big, and change the world. Ohana believes that each and every human being deserves the chance to experience dance. Join their family and help them to spread peace and positivity through performance. Email them at Ashley@ohanaperformingarts.com or call 413-539-9996 for more information. Located at 470 Newton Street, South Hadley, MA. www.OhanaPerformingArts.com

Sep 24

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event is returning for its seventh year on Sun., Sept. 24 in Hatfield. You can pedal towards a hunger free community by forming a team of four or more friends, family or co-workers. Riders can choose from any of the four scenic routes (10, 25, 50 or 100 miles) through the Pioneer Valley. Enjoy a fun and exciting day with your team while raising funds and awareness of hunger in our region. Early bird registration ends Aug. 31. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at willbike4food.org.

Looking for summer options? Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 19th-25th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Community-Based Events for the Solar Eclipse

Partial Eclipse Visible on Monday, August 21, 2017

On Monday, August 21, 2017, the moon will pass in front of the sun, creating a solar eclipse which will be visible throughout the United States. In western Massachusetts, this event will be visible as a partial eclipse, as the moon will not entirely obscure our view of the sun. In fourteen states across the country, it will be visible as a total eclipse! The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the United States in this manner was June 8, 1918!

Since the sun will still be visible to us throughout the eclipse, viewers will need to acquire eclipse glasses in order to view it safely. Various organizations will be offering these tools, as well as fun educational activities, at eclipse viewing events on Monday, August 21, 2017:  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Summer Wildflowers & Gardens

 Season of Summer Wildflowers & Gardens

Summer is the season of flower-studded meadows and blossoms on the wayside or at home in our gardens. Nothing says summer like a freshly picked bouquet of Oxeye Daises or New England Asters. Summer is also the time of year when public gardens are open to visitors wanting to learn about botany or just enjoy the beauty of cultivated flowers. These public gathering places connect community to the growing season, these senses in the form of color and scent, and to the incredible beauty and diversity nature has to offer. In Western Massachusetts there are a few public gardens to explore and enjoy that may offer inspiration to the artist, writer, or botanist inside:

Read the rest of this entry »

Bees & Ants: Symbiotic Relationships with Plants

Bees & Ants: Symbiotic Relationships with Plants

“Bees and flowers have an amazingly close relationship. Flowers need bees in order to reproduce, and bees need flowers to feed their colonies. Take away one, and the other would disappear too. It begs the question: When it comes to evolution, which came first, the bees or the flowers?” Discover more with this short video by It’s Okay To Be Smart.

But not only do bees have a symbiotic relationships with plants… so do ants!

Literature Guide for Debby Dahl Edwardson’s “My Name is Not Easy”

Literature Guide for Debby Dahl Edwardson’s My Name is Not Easy

Download literary guide for Debby Dahl Edwardson’s My Name is Not Easy

Told from multiple perspectives, Debby Dahl Edwardson’s My Name is Not Easy is a narrative of the hard, culture-crippling truths of the boarding schools that native Alaskans attended during the early 1960’s. The characters in Edwardson’s story attend the fictional Sacred Heart School, a Catholic institution whose structure and methodology is fierce, brutal, and deeply rooted in the idea that native students needed to be re-trained in order for their communities to succeed. The characters are fictional, but just like their school, they each present carefully designed portraits of “typical” students at such schools, and their experiences give literary life to the real life experiences of unnamed others.

The students at Sacred Heart have been sent there from villages all over Alaska, and while each one’s story of why they’ve wound up there varies, each native Alaskan student’s story shares the same undercurrent: their presence at the school forces them to let go of their language, their landscape, and their people, and it is assumed by those in charge that this is necessary in order for native Alaskans to survive. On top of the clashes between students from self-identified Eskimo villages and Indian villages are emotional and physical abuse from school staff, forced consumption of radiation-filled iodine for government testing, and the adopting out of students not deemed appropriate for school life.  Read the rest of this entry »

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