Learning Ahead: June 6th-10th, 2016

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

This week we are featuring 22 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, June 6, 1pm-2:30pm
Tuesday, June 7, 1pm-2:30pm
Want to improve your writing, public speaking, and improvisational abilities? Sheela Clary will give tips on improving these skills in her two-day storytelling workshop at Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Clary has been featured on The Moth radio hour, one of the nation’s most popular storytelling radio shows. Learn new ways to communicate your ideas, and meet others with whom you can share your creative process! Email community@berkshiresouth.org for more information. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (Members <$. Guests $)

Tuesday, June 7, 4pm
As long as visual art has existed, people have used the human form as inspiration for their work. This talk, “Splendor, Myth and Vision Paintings,” will discuss and give a preview to an exhibition of nude paintings to be temporarily held at the Clark Art Institute. Come to Ventfort Hall to see 28 paintings borrowed from collections of the Museo Nacional Del Prado in Madrid. The collection includes work by Titian, Guerino, Rubens and Velazquez. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($$)

Friday, June 10, 7pm
If you have only read Shakespeare’s plays, and have never seen them performed, you may not be familiar with the music written for these plays. The majority of Shakespeare’s plays were written to include music. This performance at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead will focus specifically on the music of Shakespeare’s plays and popular music from Shakespeare’s era. For more information, call 413-686-5027. 780. Holmes Road. Pittsfield MA. (FREE)

Franklin County

Tuesday, June 7, 2:30pm-4pm
Teenage years can be a stressful time, and reading is one of the healthiest de-stressing activities. The Greenfield Public Library’s Fandoms Anonymous Teen Book Club meets on the first Tuesday of every month, and welcomes teens to gather and share their love of reading. This month, members will discuss Assassin’s Blade by Sarah Maas and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. New members are welcome to join any time! 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, June 9, 4pm-5pm
Computer-based skills have become increasingly important in the workplace, as well as in social relationships. Basic computer skills can also open the door to endless learning and sharing of information! Want to become a more confident computer user? This workshop series at the Sunderland Public Library will walk you through basic computer skills to help you build a strong foundation. Sessions will take place on June 9, June 16, and June 30th. Meet others who want to improve their technological knowledge, and learn new skills in a supportive environment. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, June 9, 6:30pm
Spelling aloud exercises working memory in order for spellers to put letters in the correct order. This is the same core executive function we utilize when doing mental math. The Greenfield Public Library is holding an adult spelling bee as part of Greenfield Bee Week. Folks who love etymology and Greek and Latin root words will enjoy trying to use these clues to figure out the spelling of a variety of words! Sign up with a team of three. The event will be held at The Second Congregational Church of Greenfield and will benefit the library’s summer reading program. 413-772-1544. 16 Court Square. Greenfield, MA. ($)

Have you ever watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee? This competition for students through 8th grade will have you on the edge of your seat and bring a smile to your face! Here are some highlights from the 2016 finals, which took place on May 26th:

Friday, June 10, 5:30pm
Do you like to grow edible plants in your garden? Herbs are a highly useful plant to grow and use to add fresh flavor to your meals, make tea, create aromatic bouquets, and more. Once you harvest your herbs, however, it can be difficult to use them before they dry out or go bad. This workshop at the Sunderland Public Library will teach you how to preserve your herbs to extend their use. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Monday, June 6, 6pm
This Sci Tech Cafe event at Union Station will explore topics related to social robotics, including speech recognition technology and dialog systems. This presentation could interest folks who are interested in linguistics as well as those who enjoy learning about technological innovations. The talk will be given by computer science professor Heather Pon-Barry, director of the Interactive Computing Research Lab at Mount Holyoke College. For more information email scitechcafe@gmail.com. 125 Pleasant Street. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)

What are we talking about when we discuss social robots? They can take many forms and serve many functions. Meet one of them, humanoid robot ASIMO…

…and Kirobo, a robot astronaut (turn on the captions for English subtitles).

Tuesday, June 7, 6:30pm
Come to the Jones Library for an introduction to American Indian music. In his new book, Heartbeat, Warble, and the Electric Powwow: American Indian Music, author and musician Craig Harris draws on interviews with musicians, producers, and ethnographers to relay the cultural story of Native American musical traditions. He will be discussing his research and book in an interactive, participatory, multi-media presentation. You will hear Native-infused jazz, reggae, country music, blues, hip-hop, and electronic dance music. Copies of Harris’s book will be available for purchase. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, June 7, 7pm
Why do movies become classics? Is it the storyline? The acting? The cultural context? Some combination of the above? The 1942 romantic drama Casablanca won academy awards for outstanding motion picture and screenplay, and frequently appears on lists of the top films of all time. Watch Casablanca at Amherst Cinema and decide for yourself how and why this film is widely considered to be a wonderful classic film. This is the first film in a series of films featuring three-time Academy Award-winner Ingrid Bergman. 413- 253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Wednesday, June 8, 6:30pm
As part of Wednesday Folk Traditions at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum, you can hear traditional and original music performed by the Tim Eriksen Trio. This group will play ballads from the Appalachians to the Pioneer Valley. Come to the museum every Wednesday through July 20th to hear a range of folk music. Picnickers are welcome on the museum grounds at 5:00 pm. 413-584-4699. 130 River Drive, Hadley MA. ($. 16 and under <$)

Wednesday, June 8, 6:30pm
Like oral storytelling, poetry readings capture the audience’s imagination and provide images to picture as well as ideas to ponder. These readings are also great inspiration for poets. You can hear poem readings from two local writers, Peter Marcus and Gary Whitehead, at the Pelham Library. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, June 8, 6:30pm
Connect with fire while learning about construction and design by building a backyard, earthen oven! This workshop at River Valley Co Op will explain the construction, use, and modern adaptation of various oven designs. Backyard ovens can be a wonderful gathering space for friends and family, and the perfect way to make artisan breads on your own property. Registration is required. Please call 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

There are many techniques and materials that can be used in the construction of an earthen oven. Here’s how a team of potters took on the challenge:

Thursday, June 9, 5pm-7pm
Scherenschnitte, which means “scissor cuts” in German, is a form of paper cutting art which originated in Switzerland and Germany. Scherenschnitte by Jonathan Kahane and Doris Heierli will be exhibited at the Westhampton Public Library in the Community Room. All are welcome to attend this reception, converse with the artists and view their artwork. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, June 9, 6:30pm
The documentary, What’s Race Got to Do with It? explores the ways in which the concept of racial “colorblindness” can actually do significant harm. While a goal of achieving a truly equal and colorblind society may seem commendable, it is impossible to achieve racial equality without recognizing real disparities which are race-related. This screening at the
Jones Library is co-sponsored by the Coming Together project and is part of a wider film and discussion series designed to facilitate meaningful conversations about dismantling inequality in our community. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Watch the film’s trailer here:

Friday, June 10, 5pm-8pm
Each generation of children in the United States experiences a new set of popular toys. Does their play change depending on the toys they use, or are there fundamental elements of play which are always present? These are the types of questions Jan Ruby-Crystal explores through her painting. She draws upon her own childhood memories of play, as well as her experience as a parent and grandparent, as inspiration for her art. This opening reception for her exhibit at Historic Northampton will feature a performance by A2Z Science and Learning Store’s yo-yo team! 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, June 10, 7pm
The study of geology encompasses many related topics including energy, water supply, mineral resources, climate change, and natural hazards. With a knowledge of geological processes, you can study the Earth in whatever natural spaces abound in your town. You may have a Goshen stone walkway at your home, or perhaps you’ve walked on one nearby. This special stone originates in and around Goshen, MA, and has an interesting history. Richard Little, professor of geology at Greenfield Community College, will be teaching interested community members about the geology of Goshen, at Goshen Town Hall. 41 Webster Avenue. Goshen, MA. (FREE)

Geologic time scales are very different than the time scales we normally reference in our everyday lives. Gain an appreciation for earth’s history and geologic processes in this fabulous short animation, “A stone’s adventure through time.”

Hampden County

Monday, June 6, 4:30pm-6pm
Studying your family’s genealogy can teach you about history while providing insight into where you personally come from. The Holyoke Public Library will be offering a two-part workshop on how to use the program RootsMagic to build and save your family tree. This first workshop on June 6 will cover the basics of both the free and upgraded version of RootsMagic, including how to install it. The second class on June 13th will delve deeper into building family trees. 413-420-8101. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

What drives people to study their family histories? Listen to these folks describe what brought them to genealogy, and what they discovered along the way.

Monday, June 6, 6:30pm
In his new book, Heartbeat, Warble, and the Electric Powwow: American Indian Music, author and musician Craig Harris draws on interviews with musicians, producers, and ethnographers to relay the cultural story of Native American musical traditions. He will be discussing his research and book in an interactive, participatory, multi-media presentation at the Storrs Library. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, June 7, 1:30pm-2:30pm
One aspect people enjoy about creating and appreciating art is that it can get you out of your own head for a while, and show you another person’s experiences and perspective. At live performances, audience members help make the event meaningful through their attention and presence. This reading at the Holyoke Public Library will do just that, in two artistic forms- poetry and prose. Elizabeth Corcoran Murray will read from her non fiction book, A Long Way from Paris, and V. Jane Schneeloch will read from various books of poetry she has published over the years. 413-420-8101. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, June 9, 12:15-1pm
What do Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and Lee Krasner have in common? To begin, they are all female, they are all celebrated artists, and they lived during the early and mid-1900s. Learn more about these talented artists and their revolutionary techniques in a presentation by the co-founders of ArtScapades. Feel free to bring a lunch to enjoy during this program at the Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)

Friday, June 10, 6pm
This coming fall, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the Eastern States Exposition, the site of The Big E. The Eastern States Exposition has hosted presentations of the livestock, as well as commercial, industrial and artistic products, throughout the past century. The Storrowton Village Museum on the site of ESE has been an integral part of that history since its origins in 1926. The “Imagination and Determination” tour will tell the history of Storrowton Village Museum through the perspectives of living history actors. It all began will Helen Osborne Storrow, who was charged with creating the “Home Department” exhibition on the grounds. Attend this program to learn how the rest of the story unfolded! 13-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (<$)

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