Learning Ahead: November 23rd-27th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 14 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.

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Berkshire County

Monday, November 23, 2pm-4pm
People with dementia or Alzheimer’s and their caregivers are welcome to attend a special gallery talk at the Clark Art Museum. “Meet Me at the Clark” takes place when the museum is closed to the public in order to create a private, calm atmosphere, and consists of a viewing and discussion about the art. This gallery talk is great for both the person with dementia and the caregiver – both can enjoy seeing and experiencing art and spending time together in a meaningful way. Call to register in pairs. 413-458-0410. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Monday, November 23, 1pm and 7pm
The Berkshire Museum presents Paul Taylor: Creative Domain (Unrated, 2014) in the Little Cinema. Among the most acclaimed choreographers in American history, Paul Taylor has been reinventing the roles of music, movement, and theme in dance for nearly 60 years. In that time, he has offered only glimpses into his creative process. This film is a rare in-depth documentation of how he creates a single dance. Through the lens of award-winning cinematographer Tom Hurwitz, we see Paul’s non-verbal communication with his dancers. Below the surface of this dance and the many works that came before, is Paul’s power of acute observation, revealing a side to his choreography that is strangely prophetic. The dominant voice is Paul’s, between the guarded and unguarded moments we see him with new eyes and new understanding. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Route 7), Pittsfield, MA. ($ Members, $$ Non-members)

Franklin County

Tuesday, November 24, 6pm-7pm
Free All-Ages Chess Club at the Sunderland Public Library starts from square one, so beginners and more advanced players are all welcome. Club leader Andy Morris-Friedman will guide you as you learn how to play the game, use different techniques and strategies, and use all of your pieces to your best advantage. The club will study famous games and will help you discover new ways to improve your play. Chess is one of the great classic games of the world. It teaches sportsmanship and cooperation, builds confidence, and exercises your brain. Children in third grade or below must be accompanied by an adult. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, November 24, 6:30pm
Is the health of our Earth on your mind? Gather with others who are contemplating the same topic at the Environmental Awareness Discussion Group, which meets on the last Tuesday of the month at the Dickinson Memorial Library. Members of the group use both non-fiction and fiction books and films as launching off points for meaningful conversations about the environment. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street, Northfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, November 27, 9:30am-4:30pm
Opt-out of Black Friday chaos, and instead let Historic Deerfield be your destination for handmade, heartfelt giving in preparation for the holiday season. On the Day of Giving, every museum visitor will have the opportunity to handcraft a special gift using simple or natural materials. Historic trade demonstrations of paper marbling and redware pottery-making will provide inspiration for handcrafted gifts. Works by paper marblers Regina and Dan St. John and redware potter Stephen Earp will be available for purchase at the Museum Gift Shop and Bookstore.The Day of Giving kicks off the museum’s support of the Community Action Holiday Gift Program. Visitors can bring unwrapped gifts for children up to 18 years old until December 13. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. ($)

Hampshire County

Monday, November 23, 7pm
Forbes Library holds a poetry discussion group every Monday in the Coolidge Museum. Come discuss the works of famous poets with community members of all backgrounds – lifelong poets and those who are new to reading poetry. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Monday, November 23, 6:30pm-8pm
The Emily Williston Memorial Library invites you to Monday Night Book Club, which meets the fourth Monday of each month (except in May). For adults and/or young adults who are mature readers. 413-527-1031. Emily Williston Memorial Library, 9 Park St., Easthampton, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, November 24, 5pm-7pm
The earliest known drawings date from 30,000 to 10,000 BCE and were found on cave walls in France and Spain, demonstrating that humans were drawing pictures long before they learned how to write. Like other art forms, drawing has evolved over time and closely paralleled the development of painting. This evolution was aided by the discovery of an enormous graphite deposit in Cumbria, England, during the 16th century. First used as a marking tool for sheep, this particular deposit of graphite was extremely pure and soft and could easily be broken into sticks, which made it a natural material for sketching. The versatility of this ancient medium will be explored in Leaving Our Mark: In Celebration of the Pencil, on display from November 24, 2015 through March 27, 2016 at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. View the special exhibit, see a demonstration by sculptor Jennifer Maestre and enjoy cookies and coffee from Palazzo Cafe during this opening reception for members only. RSVP by Friday, November 20. 413-263-6800, ext. 488. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE for Members)

Wednesday, November 25, 1pm-2:30pm
Join your neighbors and the Amherst Survival Center for a Community Thanksgiving Meal at Immanuel Lutheran Church. Help prepare and serve the meal, bring a dish, or just enjoy socializing and making new friends, perhaps swapping family stories of Thanksgivings past. Call to volunteer. 413-549-3968. 867 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, November 27, 2pm
See Eric Carle books come to life at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! Picture Book Theatre presents: Rooster’s Off to See The World and “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” Said The Sloth. Featuring a talented cast of young dancers from Amherst Ballet, Picture Book Theatre features costumes, large puppets, and stick puppets, all in the style of Carle’s vibrant illustrations. 413-658-1126. Amherst, MA ($)

Hampden County

Monday, November 23, 6:30pm
The ukulele is a small stringed instrument, similar to a guitar, that originated in 19th Century Hawaii. The ukulele has enjoyed a revival in recent years that can be attributed to its accessibility, affordability and popularity. Julieann Stepanek wants to inspire budding ukulele players by teaching four monthly classes at Storrs Library. Once a month, through December 28th. Come to one session or all four! Registration required. 413-565-4181. Storrs Library, 693 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, November 24, 2:30pm
Come to the Southwick Public Library for Anime Afternoon. Hang out, talk about comics/Manga, watch episodes, and anything else you want to do. Drawing supplies provided. 413-569-1221. 95 Feeding Hills Road, Southwick, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, November 27, 7pm
History told through the lens of local food is a delicious way to understand where we live while supporting a sense of place. In New England, apple cider is a seasonal delight we can all connect to as we move through the seasons.  At the Southwick Library, local historian Dennis Picard will present, “A Drink When We Want It… Traditional New England Cider Making, History and Techniques” with Dennis Picard. Traveling back to the 17th & 18th centuries, Dennis will guide participants in the understanding of how cider was produced and consumed hundreds of years ago… a nice contrast to how cider is commercially produced and shared today. Learn why cider was so popular and celebrate it’s popularity today. 95 Feeding Hills Rd., Southwick, MA (FREE)

Friday, November 27, 10am-5pm
Start the holiday season off right with the Springfield Museums’ “Holiday Happenings” event! There will be loads of family activities, a performance of A Christmas Carol by the Puppet People, and the opening of this year’s Seussian Holiday Gingerbread exhibit, plus music by the Springfield Sci-Tech Band, TEN31’s living Red Poinsettia sculpture, and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, all free with museum admission. 413-263-6800. Springfield, MA (FREE w/Museum Admission)

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