Shake it! ASL Support & Resources in Western MA

Language Acquisition for Tactile Learners

For those interested in exploring a new language, American Sign Language (ASL) presents a unique challenge. Rather than being specific to written and verbal communication, American Sign Language is based in physical communication, and requires the use of specific (and sometimes subtle) movements. American Sign Language can be fascinating to explore with young children, whose bodies are active and whose brains’ language centers are fast developing, as it combines both motion and linguistic understanding. Similarly, American Sign Language can provide older children with valuable language experience, especially those who tend to be tactile learners, as it relies on not only the brain’s ability to process language but the body’s ability to remember physical motions and states.  Read the rest of this entry »

Empowering Our Girls: Inner Strength, Smarts & Resources for Girls

Fight Like a Girl: A New Definition for 2015

When I was a little girl, “Fight like a Girl” was a term I heard used by boys calling other boys wussies. As a teenager, the term used in the lunchroom after two girls would have a brawl, arms flailing, scratch marks on faces and hair left in clumps on the floor.

Today, I believe that “Fight like a Girl” needs of a new definition, based on the inner strength, smarts and resources that all girls can draw on any time she needs to.

So, we need to teach our girls how to fight like a girl. Here is a list of 5 things we can teach them.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 20th-24th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 13 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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
July 18th & 19th, 2015
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Jazzy Ash’s Heebie Jeebies


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • 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]

 

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 18th & 19th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for Suggested Events for July 18th-24th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our monthly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 43 Community Highlights: Zookeeping to Coding. Orchestra to Lawn Puppets., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and Summer Bucket List: Reader Recommendations for Western MA!

July 18th-24th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

River-Based LearningNaturalistCulture CelebrationsSTEMCulinary ArtsMuseum AdventuresZookeepingGarden-Based LearningFiber ArtsHistoryCircus ArtsShakespeareAstronomyMusic StudiesPuppetryOutdoor ConcertFamily Weekday Performances

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

43 Community Highlights: Zookeeping to Coding. Orchestra to Lawn Puppets.

A diverse array of native plants surrounds us in Western Massachusetts, yet many of us cannot name, much less identify, most of these species. It’s hard to value something when we don’t even know it exists! On Saturday, July 18 from 9am-12pm, come out to explore the woods at Just Roots‘ Exploring Wild Plants program with naturalist Ted Watt to learn the names, distinctive characteristics, and uses of many of our native plants. Registration required. 413-325-8969. 34 Glenbrook Drive, Greenfield, MA. (< $)

River-Based Learning to Garden-Based Learning. Zookeeping to Coding. Orchestra to Lawn Puppets… 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:

Experience a slice of life from the Civil War era at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead. on Saturday, July 18 from 10am-4pm. This immersive experience will include Civil War reenactors, cooking demos, storytelling, singing, crafts, a quilt show, children’s activities, and more! 413-532-1631 x 10. 207 Bryant Road, Cummington, MA. (< $)

Tanglewood‘s Watch and Play program on Sunday, July 19 at 1pm gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)


River-Based LearningNaturalistCulture CelebrationsSTEMCulinary ArtsMuseum AdventuresZookeepingGarden-Based LearningFiber ArtsHistoryCircus ArtsShakespeareAstronomyMusic StudiesPuppetryOutdoor ConcertFamily Weekday Performances


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 18th-24th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Without Hilltown Families, I would be unaware of almost every wonderful event organized by our community. Hilltown Families brings people out of their houses and out into the world: in doing so, our wider community is strengthened along with our individual families.” – Tricia Loomis (Northampton, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families 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… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Through Sep 6

This summer, experience Curious George – Let’s Get Curious!, the new blockbuster exhibit at the Springfield Museums! Follow George on his mischievous adventures through his neighborhood, a fully interactive construction site, a farmhouse, and even a rocket ship to the stars! Along the way, kids ages 3 through 7 will learn important math and science lessons to keep the learning going this summer. May 23- September 6 at the Springfield Science Museum. Parking is free. For more information, visit: www.springfieldmuseums.org.<

Every Thurs

The Amherst Business improvement District (BID) is thrilled to announce the launch of Kendrick Park Summer Concert Series. The concerts feature local musicians and are scheduled for every Thursday on July 16, July 23, July 30 (Family Night), and August 6 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in Kendrick Park in downtown Amherst. Musical acts from a variety of genres will play. All concerts during Amherst BID’s Downtown Beats are free and open to the public. Food will not be sold at the concerts. Attendees are encouraged to purchase food and drinks at the many delicious restaurants surrounding both concert venues. For more information about the Amherst BID and upcoming events, visit www.amherstdowntown.com

Jul 18

It’s Circus Time at the Emily Dickinson Museum! On Saturday, July 18, the Emily Dickinson Museum presents “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus” from 1 to 4 pm. All are welcome to this Family Day! Admission is $5 for families and free for Museum members. Activities include songs and stories with Tim Van Egmond; an Imaginary Tea Party with Emily, the Fairy Queen; the Circus Parade; and young writer readings from “Writing with Miss Emily” camp, a program for children at the Jones Library. Other activities include face-painting, children’s tours of the Homestead, 19th century games, and kid-friendly crafts. For details and complete schedule, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events. Questions? email EDMprograms@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org or call 413-542-2034.

Jul 22-25

Sooooo a long while ago, a very cool kitty asked a young lass, “How would you like to be a hero?” The girl had nothing better to do, so she nodded. The adventure begins. The basic rule: when in doubt always trust the cat. Puss is one clever kitty; she’ll show us how to get from empty pockets to the height of adventure. PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—continues its season with Puss in Boots. Performances are Wed., July 22 – Sat., July 25, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Treasure Island, August 5-8. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

Aug 6

Join us on Thursday, Aug 6 from 6-8pm for a meaningful time volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Thursday, Aug 6 , 6-8pm, Potluck and Volunteer. (Bring your favorite dish to share.) Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Sep 27

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will once again be holding their 5th Annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event on Sunday, September 27th. You have the opportunity to support their community by riding as an individual or forming a team. Starting a team (4 or more) with your friends and family is an easy way to help feed our neighbors in need! With multiple courses to choose from—a 3.5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of all ages and levels can get involved. This year’s event will include a new location (Hatfield Lions Club Pavilion), new routes, and the biggest after-party yet with food, beverages, games and live music. To register, or to learn more about Will Bike 4 Food, visit their website at www.willbike4food.org.

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, program, 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

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
July 18th-24th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Community-Based Learning at Native Plant Nursery & Wildlife Sanctuary in Berkshires

Weekend with Wildlife Highlights Symbiosis of Native Species

“The caterpillars are remarkable and seeing them up close gives you a new appreciation of the creatures who often go unnotice,” shared Project Native Intern, Lindsay Buesgens.

Dedicated to growing and teaching about native plants, as well as preserving the species who depend upon them, Project Native in Housatonic, MA, offers extensive opportunities to learn about the plants and creatures who live within the local landscape and the ways in which their existence is interconnected. Maintaining 54 acres filled with over 200 local plant species, a wildlife sanctuary, and a native butterfly house, Project Native’s impact is great.

From July 24-26, 2015, families can join Project Native in celebrating the wonders of the natural world by participating in Weekend With Wildlife, a three-day-long event featuring studies of caterpillars, birds of prey, and the many inhabitants of the lush landscape offered at Project Native’s 54-acre farm in Housatonic. Though the grounds at Project Native are filled with enough life to sustain enough wildlife-centric learning to fill hundreds of weekends, the Weekend With Wildlife will include visits from special guest presenters, within whom will come many fascinating wildlife visitors.  Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Lisa Campbell Ernst’s “Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt”

Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt by Lisa Campbell Ernst

More than just a tale about a farmer who wishes to sew quilts rather than sowing seeds, Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt can be used to raise discussion about gender roles and cooperation – not to mention opportunities to connect the story to concepts in math, art, and history, too!

This week’s installment of Hilltown Families’ 2015 Summer Reading Resource series features Lisa Campbell Ernst’s Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt. A heartwarming tale featuring themes of rural living, cooperation, and gender roles, the story is a great read for folks ages 5 and older.

Sam Johnson, one half of the book’s namesake, is a rural farmer who leads what appears to be a fairly idyllic agrarian life. One day, he decides that he’d like to learn to quilt and asks his wife’s quilting group if he can join. Surprised that a man would request such a thing, the women turn Sam away. Rather than be discouraged, Sam stands up for himself and pickets their decision, then creates his very own men’s quilting group. With his fellow male quilters, Sam creates a beautiful quilt that he plans to enter in the county fair – in order to compete against the women’s group’s creation. In the end, an accident and a compromise combine to make for a surprisingly happy ending.  Read the rest of this entry »

Hand Clapping Games: Summer & Schoolyard Creative Free Play that Supports Learning

Hand Clapping Games Spur Learning

In schoolyards all around the world, hand-clapping games have been a staple activity of childhood for generations. Pairing silly songs and rhymes with quick claps, slaps, snaps, and other movements, hand-clapping games can provide endless hours of entertainment and friendship building.

In addition to the recreational benefits of hand-clapping games, studies have shown that hand-clapping games support children in developing many essential skills. Researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev studied children in grades 1-3 and found that children who participated in spontaneous clapping games during their free time had stronger spelling skills than peers who didn’t. Additionally, the same students had neater handwriting and better writing and drawing skills than students who didn’t participate in clapping games. Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for July

July’s Nature Table is Ready to Crawl Away

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.

There’s nothing scary about mammals. There’s nothing scary about birds. Fish are perhaps a bit odd looking, and might produce a scare when discovered in murky waters, but they’re pretty safe creatures too. There isn’t much to be truly scared of within the plant kingdom, either. Bugs, on the other hand, have the power to produce negative reactions the likes of which other creatures can only dream of eliciting from humankind. There’s just something about them – or many things, maybe – that can induce panic in humans of any size. So what is it about these miniature beasts that bothers us so much? This month’s nature table contains a collection of potential panic-inducing specimens that may lead us closer to forming an answer to this question.

In the heat of July in western Massachusetts, the small-yet-intrepid youth explorers leading me this summer have begun to discover a wide range of creepy-crawlies in all kinds of different habitats. We’ve found mites in rich soil, giant beetles amongst wild strawberries, wolf spiders on river rocks, spittle bugs frothing on buttercup stems, and ticks (the least welcome of all discoveries) navigating their way through forests of leg hair. For the mini-naturalists I’m adventuring with, these creatures have been met with kindness and curiosity rather than shrieks of terror (the ticks received a slightly less warm welcome, but still no shrieks), but for many kids, the discovery of anything small that can crawl is a terrifying experience. The discovery that a small crawling creature can also fly – well, let’s not imagine the panic that might induce.  Read the rest of this entry »

6 Community-Based Resources: Train Travel with Local History

Follow the Rail Trail: Exploring Local History Through Trains

Energy Park Caboose in Greenfield: “The Town of Greenfield and NESEA found an original 1944 New Haven caboose in good condition… renovations were completed and the museum opened May 2001. Visitors find an excellent example of the workspace inside an active caboose as it would have looked in the mid-1940’s. Many original features are showcased in one-half of the caboose including: a pot-bellied stove, the fusee & torpedo box, a large oil can used at the station, and the brakeman’s desk. The other half is a gallery of vintage photos, models, and ephemera.”

Though Amtrak just recently made its debut in a handful of communities in western Massachusetts, mass transportation has existed in our state for centuries – since 1631 to be exact! While there’s plenty of mass transportation statewide to learn about, the railways of western Massachusetts present local folks with lots of opportunities for community-based learning. Trains have served as a means of moving both goods and people across the state and country for generations, and rail travel has played an important role in the development of industries and, as a result, communities throughout western Massachusetts. Letting railroads serve as a point of entry to community engagement, families can utilize enthusiasm for train travel as a way of connecting interests to local history, innovation and transportation.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Landscapes: Obtaining a Yield in the Garden and in Community-Based Education

Critical Life Skills: You Can’t Work on an Empty Stomach

Cucumbers and peppers, and tomatoes, oh my! Although these are not quite as daunting as lions and tigers, and bears (oh my), Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz faced a situation many of us who garden face each year. Should we feel the thrill of coming face to face with yields like cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes or the fear? Obtaining a yield is such a simple concept and yet can be a bit overwhelming at times, especially if we don’t know how to handle the yields that we all have in our lives.

This year my family incorporated several smaller “no-till” garden plots into our landscape design and are obtaining quite an additional yield ourselves. The first one is along the front of the house where we added a no-till kitchen garden area to include an herb spiral feature. We made two circular no-till garden plots in the back yard and let the kids plant “pizza gardens.” In addition, we added two vertical living playhouse structures and two additional circular no-till garden beds in the front yard planted with the Three Sisters – corn, squash and beans (or in one case mammoth sunflowers, squash and beans). We are looking at obtaining quite a yield this year, but the food that will result is just one of those yields we hope to acquire.

These new garden plots are an example of how my family integrates the values, principles, and framework of a design science called permaculture into how we ethically value, design and live in our physical landscape. However, we also integrate this way of thinking into our learning landscapes as well. Instead of thinking exclusively about natural resources, this framework helps us and our children learn how to value and use natural relationships. Once children start to see how they are connected with, and have a responsibility to others and the earth, they begin to leverage patterns in all areas of learning and life. Learning the skill of ethically and sustainably “obtaining a yield” is one way to help children design and enrich natural relationships – with self, others, and the earth – and nourish life. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 13th-17th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 12 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Superhero Episode with Guest DJ, Tim Kubart (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Superhero  Episode
with Guest DJ, Tim Kubart

This week on the Hilltown Family Variety Show, join Guest DJ Tim Kubart from Tim and the Space Cadets for a show about Superheroes, both imaginary, and real! Superhero theme songs get mixed in with contemporary kindie music and classic rock about flying, and saving the day. Also, a story is read about a Super Dad! — www.timandthespacecadets.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 11 & 12, 2015 (rebroadcast)
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO: “Superhero” by  Tim and the Space Cadets

 


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Tim and the Space Cadets – “The Anthem Part 1” [Anthems for Adventure]
  • Tim and the Space Cadets – “The Anthem Part 2” [Anthems for Adventure]
  • John Williams – “Superman Theme” [Superman: The Movie Original Soundtrack]
  • Justin Roberts – “Backyard Super Kid” [Pop Fly]
  • The Ramones – “Spider-man” [Mondo Bizarro]
  • Jimmy Buffett – “Captain America We Love You” [Captain America]
  • Lavern Baker – “Batman to the Rescue” [Batmania]
  • Mitch Miller – “Mighty Mouse Theme” [Mighty Mouse]
  • Chester Stover – “Underdog Theme” [Underdog]
  • Lunch Money – “Gingerbread Man” [Spicy Kid]
  • Shoo Raynor – “Super Dad” [Super Dad the book]
  • Tim and the Space Cadets – “Superhero” [Anthems for Adventure]
  • Patty Shukla – “Superhero” [Play with me, Sing Along!]
  • Spin Doctors – “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues” [Pocket full of Kryptonite]
  • Vanilla Ice – “Ninja Rap” [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret of the Ooze
  • Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
  • Recess Monkey – “Flying! Reprise” [Flying!]
  • Tim and the Space Cadets – “Upbeat/Downbeat” [Anthems for Adventure]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 11th & 12th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for Suggested Events for July 11th-17th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our monthly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 19 Community Highlights: Sungazing to Raptors. Messy Science to Historical Swords., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and Summer Bucket List: Reader Recommendations for Western MA!

July 11th-17th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Astronomy Outdoor Adventures/HikingArt StudiesBirds of PreyTheaterCommunity GatheringGarden-Based LearningLawn ConcertsSTEMHistoryEcology

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

19 Community Highlights: Sungazing to Raptors. Messy Science to Historical Swords.

Can you guess the bird of prey? While mice and squirrels have seen these upclose, have you? They belong to the red tailed hawk, and while it is common to catch sight of a red tailed hawk circling overhead, how many raptors has your family seen up close? Visit the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday, July 11 at 1pm to meet 6-7 birds of prey, and if conditions allow, you may get to see them take flight as well! 413-665-2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Sungazing to Raptors. Plant Science to Lawn Concerts. Messy Science to Historical Swords. 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 highlight this week:  Explore the rich river habitat that lines the Housatonic River with a knowledgeable guide from the Housatonic Valley Association on Saturday, July 11 from 10am – 12pm. Look for interesting native plants and animals and enjoy the beauty of a walk through nature! This hike along the Old Mill Trail is not strenuous and is suitable for families with young children. Preregistration required. 413-394-9796. Old Dalton Road (off rt 8), Hinsdale, MA. (FREE)


Astronomy Outdoor Adventures/HikingArt StudiesBirds of PreyTheaterCommunity GatheringGarden-Based LearningLawn ConcertsSTEMHistoryEcology


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 11th-17th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

Weekly Suggested Events

“There are so many opportunities for families to enjoy and be enriched by in our area…without your eNewsletter most of us wouldn’t know about them. My family would have missed out on discovering new nature excursions, cultural experiences, and new friendships that build community.” – Josh W. (Shelburne Falls, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families 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… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls has full week summer art programs available for children & teens. Space is still available! All programs involve collaborations with local artists, bringing a range of media & technical expertise to an already inspiring and nurturing studio art experience. Two separate weeks in August feature guest artist morning workshops in mosaic, printmaking, felting, henna, shadow puppetry, musical instrument making, painting & collage. Every day at The Art Garden includes time for self-directed projects using the extensive collection of traditional & non-traditional art materials available. Fees vary. Financial aid available. Registration required. Details: www.theartgarden.org, csartgarden@gmail.com or 413-625-2782.

Jul 8-11

PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—opens its season with a very silly show, featuring Porky, Oink and Bacon Bits—the Three Little Piggies. However, they need your help. They have three actors and they all want to be pigs. Who plays the wolf? Guess what: the entire audience will play the wolf in this wild adaptation of a favorite tale. You can even come dressed as a wolf. Start practicing your huffing and puffing! Performances are Wed., July 8 – Sat., July 11, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Puss in Boots, July 22 – 25. PaintBoxTheatre.com

Jul 10-Aug 9

The 24th Annual Ko Festival of Performance, July 10-August 9, has 5 weeks of original & compelling theatre for teens – adults curated on the theme of “NEW | HOME | LAND: Strangers, Newcomers & Neighbors in a New America.” Also, the Mettawee River Theater Company in their last year of touring, with “Out of the Past,” performed for all ages, out under the stars with giant puppets, masks, live music and a spirit of celebration. Plus 3 intensive workshops for adults: “FIRST PERSON: Crafting Your Story for Performance,” ZEN & THE ART OF PERFORMANCE,” & “IMAGE-OBJECT-PUPPET: Creating a Poetic Theater.” All on the Amherst College campus. KoFest tickets $7-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. Visit kofest.com or email info@kofest.com

Jul 18

It’s Circus Time at the Emily Dickinson Museum! On Saturday, July 18, the Emily Dickinson Museum presents “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus” from 1 to 4 pm. All are welcome to this Family Day! Admission is $5 for families and free for Museum members. Activities include songs and stories with Tim Van Egmond; an Imaginary Tea Party with Emily, the Fairy Queen; the Circus Parade; and young writer readings from “Writing with Miss Emily” camp, a program for children at the Jones Library. Other activities include face-painting, children’s tours of the Homestead, 19th century games, and kid-friendly crafts. For details and complete schedule, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events. Questions? email EDMprograms@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org or call 413-542-2034.

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

Jul 15

Join us on Wednesday, July 15 from 1-3pm for a meaningful morning volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Wednesday, July 15th, 1m-3pm, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

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, program, 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

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
July 11th-17th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Western MA State Forests & Parks Supporting Nature-Based Education through Community Engagement

Learning through the Lens of Local Habitat at Western MA State Forests & Parks
By Guest Writer, Gini Traub

As a tax-supported agency, DCR’s educational programs are offered free of charge. They are available to public, private, and home school groups, scouts, and adult learners. Here’s a quick run-down of field trip opportunities in the Connecticut River Valley.

When you hear the term, “Field Trip,” what do you think?

Recently I spoke with a teacher at the Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter School in Framingham. This middle school emphasizes expeditionary education with field trips for students. “But we don’t call them field trips,” the teacher said. “Students think a field trip is a day to goof off. We call them field work and field research, just like scientists do.”

I couldn’t agree more, even though I still call them “field trips.” I’m a regional educator for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the agency that manages the state forests and parks. There is so much to learn and discover in them. And it fits with so much of what’s taught in the classroom.

Why not take classroom learning and see how it’s applied in the field? The subjects can be geology, soils, plants, and ecology. It can be history, too: No matter where we walk in wooded Massachusetts, chances are we will find evidence of past human activity, what I sometimes call hidden history. Read the rest of this entry »

Thunderstorms: Those Rumbling Science Shows

Summer Thunderstorms Inspire Folktales and Science Learning

The feeling of a summer thunderstorm is familiar to us all – the temperature drops, the breeze cools, bright leaves rustle endlessly louder, and a distant echo of thunder rolls across the darkening sky. Though they can be scary for youngsters (and anxious pets), thunderstorms are an important part of summer weather, bringing much-needed rain to the landscape and cooling the oppressive heat that hangs in July’s muggy air.

Thunderstorms remained quite mysterious for centuries, and cultures worldwide have developed a variety of folktales to explain their occurrence. Read about these follktales and science learning thunderstorms inspire

Family Volunteer Day Summer Series Supports Food Security All Summer Long

Hunger Doesn’t Take a Summer Vacation

During the summer months of June, July and August, food pantries and meal sites across Western Mass. see a 45% increase in visits over the holiday season. (Photo courtesy of Feeding America)

By now, you’ve probably heard the national news about a public school kitchen manager in Colorado who was fired for giving a free lunch to a crying first grader who was hungry. The manager was fired because the child wasn’t officially qualified for the federally-subsidized lunch program. However, what you may not have heard is that thousands of kids in schools across Western Massachusetts are in this same situation. They are relying on cafeteria staff, teachers and even their classmates to feed them because they don’t have enough food at home.

With so many families struggling with free or reduced school meals, image the challenges they face in the summer when those meals disappear. June, July and August are, by far, the busiest months for our member agencies in Western Massachusetts (which includes food pantries, meal sites and shelters). Approximately 44,665 individuals were served at our member agencies during those three months last year. That’s nearly a 45% increase over the winter months of December, January and February.  Read the rest of this entry »

State Forests & Parks: Treasure for all to Enjoy

Massachusetts State Forests & Parks Connect Community to Local Habitat and Natural Resources

In the extreme southwest corner of Massachusetts is a cluster of state parks noted for their spectacular scenery and breathtaking views, including Mount Washington State Forest. Adjacent to the state forest is Bash Bish Falls, one of the state’s most dramatic waterfalls. Cascading water tumbles through a series of gorges, and then plummets some 60 feet into a sparkling pool below. One of the many “so much fun for so little money” locations the DCR manages.

  • “Come out and play!”
  • “Find yourself in a state park.”
  • “It’s your nature.”

These are some of the phrases Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has used over the years to invite visitors to Massachusetts state Forests and Parks.  They are all true. Here’s another one:  “So much fun for so little money!” It’s unofficial, of my own invention, and so true, too.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation – the state forests and parks – kicks its recreation season into high gear in June.  Plan a visit.  Plan lots of visits.  Let’s talk about the “so much fun” part first.  “For so little money” is covered later in this article.

SO MUCH FUN

The first thing to know about your state Forests and Parks is that there are lots of them – approximately 150 sites throughout Massachusetts. They range from small “pocket parks,” such as playgrounds, in eastern Massachusetts, to several thousand acre forests in western Massachusetts. October Mountain in Berkshire County, at over 16,000 acres, is one of the largest.

The point is this:  Each park is special in its own unique way, whether it is a geologic wonder, like Natural Bridge‘s marble formations in North Adams; or the state’s highest peak, Mt. Greylock State Reservation, in Lanesboro; or waterfalls like the 80-foot Bash Bish Falls in Mt. Washington; or even re-claimed forest land, such as Erving State Forest and many of our other state forests. Read the rest of this entry »

Museum Adventures: Mead Art Museum

From Mead to You: Making Learning Connections at the Mead Art Museum

Experience, investigate, and explore world-class art and hidden treasures at Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum. In July, families can travel the world without ever leaving the area through the Mead’s family workshops and open house days. Enjoy art-making, guest performances, tours, and more—all of it free and open to all.

Search for secret doors in a seventeenth-century paneled room. Puzzle over a cuneiform inscription that praises a powerful Assyrian king. Marvel at a hanging sculpture spinning in a still gallery.

Visitors to the Mead Art Museum do so much more than see objects—at the Mead, art is experienced, investigated, and explored. Set on Amherst College’s beautiful main quadrangle and flanked by a fascinating, stand-alone stone steeple, the Mead offers a world of resources for connecting art across countless cultures, mediums, and eras.

Just as its south-up, equal-area map (on permanent display in the Kunian gallery) turns traditional worldviews “upside-down,” the Mead provides learning opportunities that encourage creative thinking and a global, culturally-aware approach to art history.  Read the rest of this entry »

Yo-Yo School Can Unlock Secrets of Physics!

Yo-Yo school encourages understanding of physics alongside tremendous manual dexterity

The yo-yo sleeps for now but this simple object, containing two discs, one axle and long string, is an instrument for gravity-defying trickery, which requires some grounding in the principles of physics.

Not many toys can boast over 2,500 years of use worldwide, but the yo-yo has enjoyed consistent use in hundreds of cultures for nearly three millenia. Seemingly moved by magic, the yo-yo is little more than a well-designed tool to demonstrate basic principles of physics. Consisting essentially of a spool and a string, yo-yos (when in the hands of a skilled operator) can spin, jump, hang, and bump in patterns that are so graceful and speedy that they seem almost impossible. And for those of us with few yo-yo skills, they may feel impossible to perform, too!

Luckily, folks who want to learn to better understand the physics and physical movements behind yo-yo tricks have numerous resources available to them – including both weekly classes and a world class championship right in western Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley! Popular education-based store A to Z (located on King Street in Northampton) hosts Yo-Yo School three times a week inside their store, and their teachers are true masters. Amongst the crew of talented yo-yoists are a world champion and a world class competition judge! A visit to A to Z Yo-Yo School ensures expert instruction and access to a wide variety of yo-yo styles and colors – if you don’t have a yo-yo at home, you’ll be able to pick out a favorite before class begins.

Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Mat: Bravery is Being Scared But Acting Anyway

Dad’s Dreams, Mom’s Heart

What’s an anxious Mama to do when presented with a last minute chance to travel to Alaska with her Dad? I remind myself what I teach my son: Bravery doesn’t mean not being scared. Bravery is being scared but acting anyway.

Date night, Pioneer Valley. Scrunched down in my seat at the Academy of Music, tears roll down my cheeks. And I let them, which is unusual for me. On stage, Heather Maloney sings,

I am made of
All the same stuff
That makes the seasons what they are.
I am made of
Dirt and stardust
My daddy’s dreams
My mother’s heart.

What do I know of my dad’s dreams? What did he hope to be when he was six? A country boy with a frog in his pocket, he knew the answers but rarely raised his hand because of his lisp. I know he was often the kid picked last. I know he preferred Gene Autry to John Wayne. Were there dreams in between being a cowboy and a retired chemical engineer? Had to be. An outdoorsman turned corporate traveler, I learned last summer that he’s made it to all but six U.S. states. Next week, he and I check Alaska off that list. Read the rest of this entry »

100+ Science Books to Support STEM Learning this Summer

Science Books to Support Self-Directed Learning & Interests

Experience is always the best teacher – and this is especially true for children! However, when kids are eager to learn about a topic, the experiences available might leave some space for supplementation. After you’ve explored the woods, caught critters, messed about with materials, and exercised all five of your senses together, it might be time to turn to print materials in order to help kids add specific language and detail to their understanding of scientific topics. And, in addition to being filled with lots of useful and fascinating information, science-themed books give children valuable practice reading and interpreting non-fiction material – a skill that will allow them to develop strong skills for self-teaching and answering their own questions.

Whatever topic children are learning about, there are age- and reading level-appropriate materials available. And, thanks to the creativity of children’s authors and illustrators, they’re not only informative but engaging and filled with photographs, diagrams, drawings, and other visuals that children in comprehending text. Read the rest of this entry…

Learning Ahead: July 6th-10th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 10 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Ocean Episode with Guest DJ, Casey Schaefer of The Whizpops (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Ocean Episode
with Guest DJ, Casey Schaefer of The Whizpops

The Hilltown Family Variety Show presents Casey Schaefer of The Whizpops. Casey will take us on an exciting thematic adventure underwater, playing a wide range of music that will help you learn about the importance of ocean wildlife and the fascinating world of symbiotic relationships. — www.thewhizpops.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 4th & 5th, 2015 (rebroadcast)
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  “Sea Turtle” by The Whizpops


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • The Whizpops! – “Manatee” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • Aaron Nigel Smith – “Rowing In The River” [Everyone Loves To Dance]
  • Sisbro Studios – “The Peg Leg Song” [The Riddle Solvers – EP]
  • Otis Redding – “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” [Dock Of The Bay]
  • Raffi – “Down By The Bay” [Singable Songs For The Very Young]
  • The Whizpops! – “Sea Turtle” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • The Whizpops! – “Coral Reef” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • Sisbro Studios – “The Parrot Fish Poop Song” [The Riddle Solvers – EP]
  • Recess Monkey – “The Hermit” [Desert Island Disc]
  • Weezer – “Island In The Sun” [Weezer (Green Album)]
  • Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” [Alone in IZ World]
  • The Beach Boys – “Surfing USA” [Endless Summer]
  • Bill Harley – “Pirate Song” [Big Big World]
  • Sisbro Studios – “The Great White Shark Song” [The Riddle Solvers – EP]
  • The Beatles – “Yellow Submarine” [Revolver]
  • The Whizpops! – “Octopus” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • The Beatles – “Octopus’s Garden” [Abbey Road]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 4th & 5th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 4th-10th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our monthly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 24 Community Highlights: Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and Summer Bucket List: Reader Recommendations for Western MA!

July 4th-10th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Native FaunaNature-Based LearningNative American CultureMusic StudiesLocal HistoryHikingCircus ArtsOutdoor ConcertsAnimalsArt StudiesFire SafetyCartooningSTEMArts & Crafts

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

  1. Hindsight Parenting: The Rise and Fall of The “Cool” Kid
  2. Parenting Green: Make Yourself Re-useful
  3. Five Catalysts to Connect us with Community-Based Learning
  4. HFVS: 4th of July Birthday Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. What to Play? Make Your Own Toys!

 

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

24 Community Highlights: Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark.

Bald Eagles to Beavers. Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark… 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-based educational highlight this week: Tanglewood‘s Watch and Play program on Sunday, July 5 at 1pm, gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)


Native FaunaNature-Based LearningNative American CultureMusic StudiesLocal HistoryHikingCircus ArtsOutdoor ConcertsAnimalsArt StudiesFire SafetyCartooningSTEMArts & Crafts


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

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