Hilltown Families

Archives

Our summer series of literary guides written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England are designed to maximize your child’s reading experience, and mobilize critical thinking.

This week’s guide looks at local author Mordicai Gerstein and her book “The Mountains of Tibet.” The subject covers critical thinking with regard to topics such as religion and reincarnation. Children will consider different cultures and their belief systems, and critically analyse similarities and differences they may notice, in relation to themselves. Needless to say this is a stimulating exercise for kids- especially for third graders and older.

Our series of literary guides written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England are designed to maximize your child’s reading experience. A quality outlook to your child’s reading releases so much in terms of a child’s reading and sophisticated interpretation of themes.

This week Jeanne Birdsall’s “The Penderwicks” is set in the Berkshires and covers the adventures of four daughters and their eccentric dad while on a quirky vacation. The text drives critical thinking and theme connection and is suitable for those kids ages 10-11. The guide provides direction on how to maximize this wonderful reading experience! Download it now for free!

Our summer series of literary guides written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England are designed to maximize your child’s reading experience, and mobilize critical thinking.

This week’s guide helps us navigate William Steig’s “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” under the banner of ‘be careful what you wish for.’ The illustrations offer first and second graders challenges to find clues linking to the overall narrative, and a wealth of new words to discover. They’ll also be inspired to construct that verbally watertight wish (we’ve all done it!) and to imagine where it could take them. Literally an inspiring read that will enrich your child’s literary development.

Our summer series of literary guides written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England are designed to maximize your child’s reading experience, and mobilize critical thinking.

This week’s lit guide to Arthur Dorros’ story, “Abuela,” inspires young readers to connect to Hispanic culture, learn Spanish phrases and also to recognize illustrative patterns. The great concept of ‘journey’ is also open to exploration.

Read on and see how “Abuela” can lead your child’s literary development!

Our series of literary guides written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England are designed to maximize your child’s reading experience. A quality outlook to your child’s reading unlocks so much in terms of a child’s learning and ability to build theme connections. This week’s guide covers a topic a bit light on the cover, a firefighting cat, but has a lot of relatable themes.

“The Fire Cat” by Esther Averill is designed for 2nd grade students and while a bit unrealistic in terms of the subject matter (a cat who works in a fire station,) it contains many relatable themes such as how to come to term with what skills you have, and how to fit into society. Big questions right there! The writing style lends itself to greater phonetic development.

Read on and see how Pickles the cat can lead your child’s literary development!

Every time a child picks up a book, they gain so much in terms of literary enrichment through development of vocabulary and critical thinking, and much more. Our series of literary guides written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England are designed to maximize your child’s reading experience. This week’s guide covers a topic familiar to so many people from so many perspectives: the relationships between siblings when growing up.

“My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother” by Patricia Polacco outlines the dynamic between a younger sister and older brother in a family still steeped in Ukrainian culture, from their immigrant background. It looks at sibling relationships and explores the concept of family through a different lens. It’s an enriching summer read that will help your children draw upon their own observations and experiences and match them up with the themes in the book. The educational guide gives pointers on setting the scene for a reading connection between you and your child.

Summer is the perfect reading season, and we’re making literary guides available for you to encourage your child to expand and deepen their reading experience. Each guide contains a featured book with guidelines in how to stimulate critical thinking.

This week’s book is Elly Mackay’s “If You Hold a Seed” covers the author’s experience with pregnancy and her core desire for growth. Pre-discussion with your child can help sharpen their experience before they start to read and connect to the themes of growth.

Maximizing a literary engagement experience is a crucial tool in a child’s development. Like the featured book, you can really explore the theme of growth through these guides.

Using resources offered by Teach with Movies, families can utilize the educational potential found in hundreds of movies for kids of all ages. Offering support specifically designed for parents, teachers and homeschooling families, Teach with Movies’ site is filled with movie guides that include ideas for lessons, conversation starters, follow-up activities, and more – all designed to encourage and support students’ learning…

Looking for ways to enhance your family reading time? Hilltown Families has a wealth of resources for supporting families with kids of all ages in expanding the stories that they read together into deeper learning experiences. Check out these literary guides…

Have you heard of TED-Ed yet? TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas through collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform. Lessons featured on TED-Ed are written by educators and animated by professional animators. These videos provide lessons on a wide variety of topics in every typical school subject. Families can use TED-Ed resources to supplement studies done in school, to help with homework, or to explore new and exciting topics together…

Our Summer Reading Resource series is coming to a close with our seventh and final installment, Astrid Lindgren’s “Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter.” The accompanying literature guide is written for 4th grade students with lessons and exercises in finding context clues and understanding characters. The guide also includes a rich list of questions to ponder for each chapter in the story…

“Make Way for Ducklings,” written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, is our featured title this week in our Summer Reading Resource series. This downloadable literature guide, written for use with 1st & 2nd grade students, includes outlines for activities that call for readers to create their own list of rhyming family names, write a new adventure for the Mallard family, and gain practice reading aloud. The guide also includes suggestions for post-reading discussions about the historical context of the story, the book’s illustrations, protecting animals, and the relationship that animals have with humans when they live so close to each other…

This week as part of our Literature Guide Series, “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” is featured. The literature guide accompanying the story includes lesson plans for helping children use the book as a platform for expanding their understanding of descriptive language and developing their skills in summarizing a text. The guide also includes questions for pre-reading discussion, and a list of possible topics to discuss after reading to help children understand the story and learn from it…

Our Summer Reading Resource Literary Guide series continues this week with Kate Banks’ book, “Max’s Words,” illustrated by Boris Kulikov. The literature guide provided for “Max’s Words” is written for six- and seven-year-old first graders, but the activities – which focus mainly on defining words and creating connections to text – could easily be used with students of any elementary age. There are mini-lesson outlines for activities that can be done to encourage young students to make text-to-text and text-to-self connections during and after reading, an exercise that helps students to make what they have read meaningful and to extract themes from a text…

Our Summer Reading Resource Literary Guide series continues this week with Roald Dahl classic, “Danny the Champion of the World.” The literature guide is written with 4th grade students in mind, but the story can be easily read and appreciated by younger students who have begun reading chapter books… a fun book for bedtime read-aloud time or to absorb aurally on CD during summer travel!

Our Summer Reading Resource literary guide series continues this week with Western Massachusetts author Mo Willems’ “City Dog, Country Frog.” This downloadable literary guide pairs Willems’ book with suggestions for ways to help children expand their thinking, create connections to the text, and allow their literacy skills to grow. Download the guide while finding out about other opportunities in Western MA to supplement studies via Mo Willems’ “City Dog, Country Frog.”

Letting Swift River Go by Jane Yolen, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney Our new Summer Reading Resource series will be featured here on Hilltown Families every week throughout the end of August, sharing downloadable guides of children’s literature from graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England. Each literary guide pairs a featured book with suggestions for ways to help children expand their thinking, create connections to… Read More

This week we take a look at PBS LearningMedia, a free online digital media service for preK-12 educators (formal & informal). PBS Learning Media provides a wide variety of educational resources to help curious families expand their learning with extensive content, presented in the form of videos, still images, games, audio clips, rich text, and lesson plans, covering a wide array of topics…

Food Security in Summer Months in Western MA For children across America, the end of school means the end of book reports and spelling tests, and the end of school breakfast and lunch-their most reliable source of nutrition. In Western Massachusetts, 38,870 kids don’t always know where they will get their next meal. That’s one out of every five kids in the region. Across the country, more than 16 million children live… Read More

End of the School Year Gratitude & Appreciation End of the school year is fast approaching and many families are looking for creative ways to express their gratitude of the teachers and administrators that educate and support their children throughout the school year! Gift ideas can range from making something from scratch in your kitchen, to pairing up store bought sweets for a fun association that expresses your appreciation, to a summer… Read More

Apps that Increase Children’s Vocabulary I once had a teen client who had the most amazing ideas and insights. He was one of those kids who really cared about people and thought about things deeply. I always considered it a gift to work with him. So why did he need speech and language services? Unfortunately, he had a very small repertoire of vocabulary words and he couldn’t access the very reading material… Read More

Narratives: What did you do today? Have you ever tried to find out about your children’s daily experiences? Well, of course, teenagers rarely want to share their day with an adult, but younger children do. For some kids this is one of the hardest things to do. Why is that? It seems like such a simple thing to do! Well, let’s think about it. Telling a story pulls all kinds of language… Read More

Grammarsizes When kids are little, we enjoy the quirky ways they express their ideas. We hear them say funny, ungrammatical things, and it delights us to hear them grapple with the English language. These errors show a developing repertoire of grammatical forms. When they say “mans” and “falled,” they show an understanding of the underlying rules of English grammar. They’ve listened to language around them enough to simplify and use morphological rules… Read More

Speech Articulation It’s holiday vacation time and family time! Hooray! This is a good time to check out our children’s communication skills. But how is a parent to know what is typical? Children go through steps to learn to articulate speech sounds just like the steps children take to develop motor skills for learning to walk (crawling, standing, walking while holding on to furniture, taking steps independently) or learning to write cursive… Read More

Sophia Flips the Classroom with New Social Education Platform Are there topics that you want your kids to learn that haven’t yet been (or aren’t) covered in their school’s curriculum?  Are you a teacher looking for online information to supplement your student’s textbook or classroom notes, or a place to share your own curriculum?  Are you a homeschool or unschool learning facilitator wishing you had a map of topics in multiple disciplines? Sophia,… Read More

Hilltown Families collaborated with The Food Bank of Western MA in compiling a list of kids books on the topic of food security/scarcity for their Youth Action Hunger program. We asked our readers to share their favorite children’s book that touches on the topics of hunger, soup kitchens, food banks, homelessness, etc. See what titles our readers had to recommended, both for children and adults…

YAH! Curriculum Youth Against Hunger Education Take time this summer to learn about issues affecting your community as a family!  For starters, resources from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ Youth Against Hunger (YAH!) curriculum can be used to help kids learn about how issues of hunger, homelessness, and/or poverty are present within and affect members of their own communities. The curriculum, available on the food bank’s website, includes a wide variety… Read More

Board Game Bonanza for Students & Teachers In Westfield on May 2nd, 2012 Students at Westfield State University present the Board Game Bonanza! The event, which will take place on Wednesday, May 2nd from 1:30-3pm,  features student-designed board games that teach players about a subject within typical classroom content (think state learning standards) and incorporate physical movement at the same time!  Some of the games include an algebra review game with a… Read More

Discovering New England History with The Freedom Trail Foundation Daily Video Series Are your kids interested in Colonial History? Boston’s Freedom Trail Foundation offers a daily dose of history on their YouTube channel!  Every day, the group debuts a new clip (generally 30-40 seconds) offering information about an event that took place on that day in early American history!  Centered around the Revolutionary War, the clips feature historical re-enactors dressed in period… Read More

Technology, Art and Kids I sometimes hear concerns from parents about technology and their children.  Are they too young to use computers?  Are they using technology too much?  What I have found, in my experience using technology with students for over 20 years, is that it is not so much “how much” and “when” but “what.”  In our work at the Williamsburg Schools, we aim to enable kids to use technology constructively… Read More

%d bloggers like this: