01 July 2015

Reading All Summer

How are you doing with your summer reading?  At our house the kiddos wax and wane between excitement and enthusiasm for reading to some days where I hear, "Do I have to?" I wish the kids were always eager to grab a book, however, books have some big competition in the summer (sprinklers, popsicles, swimming, camps, friends, bike riding, frog catching, etc...) .  

Here are a few ways I like to motivate the kiddos, ages 7, 12 and 14, to read, listen to reading and talk about books: 

Audio Books
We all listen to the same stories in the car.  It naturally stimulates a discussion.  The more intense the topic, the deeper the discussion.  We use Audible from Amazon as well as several free apps for audio books.  Once the book starts, it's amazing how quiet the car becomes and how engaged they are in the story - often begging me to wait to turn off the car as they want to hear, "just the next part!" 

I also sneak in content books to build their knowledge for upcoming school work - lots of historical fiction, classic literature, non-fiction, and self-help type books.  Over the past year, we have listened to: 10% Happier by Dan Harris, Of Mice and Men* by John Steinbeck , The Traveler's Gift and The Noticer by Andy Andrews, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, The Giver by Lois Lowry, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Great Gatsby* by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I Have Lived a Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson.  *I censored parts for my youngest daughter or only played when she wasn't in the car.    

While we drive eight hours to our camping destination this weekend, we will listen to World Without End by Ken Follett (a little precursor to ninth grade Social Studies for my son).  On the way home, we will revisit the Harry Potter series.  My youngest has not yet experienced the books and in the blog post I reference below, the narration is supposed to be fabulous.  

As you can see, we pack a lot of books into just trips to and from sports, school, weekend camping trips, visits to family, etc... Audio books allow the kids to experience books at a much more rigorous level than they might approach on their own while also taking advantage of time we have while being in the car.  

Reading Aloud
Regardless of age, just like with an audio book, kiddos love listening to stories.  I am currently reading The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm to Caroline. Reading aloud to your kids is a great way to recapture the awesome feeling we all have during One School, One Book reads.  

Take advantage of the air conditioning, variety of reading sources and freedom to explore as many titles, magazines, audio books that they can get their hands on!    

You and your children can easily look for new books based on your ratings of other books. Goodreads links with online bookstores and reading apps, allowing you to flow effortlessly between their site and others.  You can rate books as far back as you can remember - the more you rate, the more accurate the predictions become.  If you are anything like me, the list of books you want to read far outweighs what you can actually manage.  Goodreads allows you to keep a list of books you "want to read" as well   

Resources you may find useful for the summer: 

Audible by Amazon  Thirty day free trial!

Audiobooks Thousands of free audio books! 

Kindle for Android or Kindle for iTunes  Free eBooks / audio books and free rentals!

Oxford Owl Hundreds of fee books for children!

Goodreads' Best FREE Kindle Ebooks for Children 184 FREE books for children!

Goodread's Best Middle Grade & Children's Best books from 2014 - reader reviews included!

Smashwords Free eBooks for children, teens and adults!

Blog post by Shannon Younger encouraging parents to use summer as a time to make their children better readers: Expert Tips to Make Your Child a Better Reader

29 June 2015

Teaching Resilience to Our Children

I like this kidspot.com/au post from Michael Grose, expert writer on many parenting topics.  Michael provides us with a variety of approaches to help support our children when they are faced with challenges - big or small.  

Kidspot: Grose explains how children and adults in resilient families tune into each other's needs, choosing situation-specific language, rather than simply regurgitating generalised ‘feel good’ or ‘get on with it’ platitudes.

10 phrases you hear in resilient families: are you using them?

16 June 2015

In this Washington Post article from Amy Joyce, I enjoyed the reinforcing reasons to raise children to be kind.  Joyce, who runs the Make Caring Common project, details not only her rationale for kindness being the most important value, but, also a variety of ideas to try with your child to help them put kindness before all else.  What a great list of ideas to practice with our children during our summer months.  

Are you raising nice kids? A Harvard psychologist gives 5 ways to raise them to be kind

04 June 2015

Knitting with their Arms!

Students in fifth and sixth grade learned how to knit - with their arms!  Betsy Reigle taught two Lunch 'n Learn sessions about arm knitting.  The students had a great time and each walked away with a brand new scarf!

Thank you, Mrs. Reigle!

27 May 2015

Parent Toolkit Video Series

Summer recess is a time for children to relax and play.  While summer is the time for vacations and fun, it can also be a time for kids to lose valuable math and reading skills they have acquired during the school year.  Sometimes, getting children up and outside to play actively can be a challenge in the summer.  This video series provides a quick look at several ideas for families to keep kids active, healthy and learning over the summer - all while doing what you have planned anyway!  
Summer Video Series from ParentToolkit.com

Video topics include: 
3 Steps to Summer Success
Road Trip Tips
What's the Deal with Sunscreen? 
Keeping Kids Active

Ride a Fire Truck to School Video Contest - Entries Due October 9

The Hilton Fire Department is offering students a chance to win a ride to school on a fire truck by submitting a home fire escape plan video.

Students in grades 3-6 are eligible to participate. The videos will be judged by the Hilton Fire Prevention Committee and one winner from each grade will be announced at the annual Hilton Fire
Department Open House on October 4, 2015.

All contest videos must be submitted no later than Friday, October 9, 2015.  When submitting your video please include your child's name, teacher's name, school, and grade your child will be in for the 2015-16 school year. All submitted videos will be played for the public at the October 14th open house and shared with students in class.

For more information and an entry form visit the Cadet Tech Blog:

26 May 2015

Parlez-vous Fran├žais?

We enjoyed learning how to speak French in our Lunch 'n Learn today!  Sue Skaryczinski taught kindergarten, first and second graders how to count, say hello and thank you in French. The students also learned which countries in the world speak French. 

Thank you, Ms. Skaryczinski

Would you like to share a passion, hobby, skill, talent, knowledge or any other idea with us?  Please contact the main office to get on our 2015-2016 Lunch 'n Learn schedule!  

25 May 2015

Starts Tuesday Sept 1, 2015
High school tennis courts
                                                  3:00 – 5:00
No experience necessary-
Just a positive attitude and a tennis racquet needed

Physicals for Merton Williams
August 13th   8am – 12pm

Recerts for Merton Williams
August 20th   9am – 11am
August 21st    9am – 11am
August 25th   12pm – 2pm
August 31st   2pm – 4pm

For more information contact the athletic office     392-1000 x2136

22 May 2015


Instrumental Music at Village

TO:             Village Parents
FROM:         Ms. Beth Fabrizio;
Village Elementary School Band Director               
RE:              Instrumental Music at Village
DATE:         May, 2015

The Hilton Central School District begins instrumental music in the 4th grade.  Students can also start in the 5th or 6th grade.  Your child will soon have an opportunity to learn how to play a band instrument, and become part of our successful instrumental music program as well.

Join Us for Spirit Day!

Attention Families!  We are looking for volunteers to help with stations during our annual Village Elementary Spirit Day!  

What: Village Elementary Spirit Day
Date: Monday, June 19th 
Time: 9:30 am- 2:30 pm 

Please follow this link to sign up: Spirit Day Sign-Up

19 May 2015

We cannot stop learning!

Our second Lunch 'n Learn session took place today.  Fourth, fifth and sixth graders spent their lunch periods learning from Kim Lowden.  Ms. Lowden grew up in a small town in central England.  She brought photographs of her town, toys, cars, buildings, toys, churches, etc... The students enjoyed this learning experience and will be sharing their new knowledge with their classmates later today.  

15 May 2015

IPads, 3D printers and robots, oh my!

The District budget vote is Tuesday, May 19th at both the High School and Northwood.  At each voting location there will be a district technology showcase from 4:30 – 7pm. Students and teachers will be demonstrating the various ways our students use technology in Hilton.  Come check out all the cool tech our students use!”

05 May 2015

Lunch 'n Learn

We just had our first Lunch 'n Learn session!  Today's session was geared toward fourth and fifth grade students.  Christine Burkey-Kelly presented a session all about triathlons.  Christine is an avid swimmer, biker and runner, participating in many events locally and nationally.  She recently ran the Boston Marathon, has participated in the NCMEC Bike Ride for many years and is training for an Ironman Triathlon in Kentucky.  

Christine explained everything about triathlons, shared all her gear and equipment and let the kids explore her gear.  The students learned about safety, aerodynamics, training, and a variety of other interesting facts.  

Interested in presenting at a future lunch /n learn session?  We would love to have you!

01 May 2015

Help Stuff the Bus!

The Hilton Central Schools Teachers’ Association will be collecting food from May 4th until May 15th at all Hilton schools and Tops market in Hilton.   The food will help support the Hilton Food Bank.   Look for the bus outside Tops on Saturday, May 16th from 9:30 until 10:30.    

Spring is Here!

Please be sure your child has proper footwear every day for school.  They need safe, closed toe shoes with rubber soles to play on playgrounds, go for walks and participate in PE classes.  

As weather changes frequently, please be sure your child has a sweatshirt or sweater in their bag each day in case the temperatures dip.  

Hijacking your kids’ education. What does that mean, exactly?

In this recent blog post from TED, a mom talks about how she encouraged and sparked her sons to be remarkable people. To be different than everyone else. Jane Andraka worked tirelessly to encourage her sons to innovate, to find their passion, to become the people they were meant to be. In the post, Jane says, "...real happiness comes from fulfilling what you were meant to do. Struggling and succeeding."

Looking for ways to encourage your children to truly define what happiness means as an adult who fulfills their life's work, check out this straight forward Ted Talk by Jane Andraka.  While her ideas are direct and express her opinions, they provide an opportunity for all of us to learn something new about ways to help our kiddos - often by getting out of their way and allowing them room to explore and fail.  

Want to see Jane's son, Jack Andraka, give his Ted Talk?

Hilton Central School District’s
Annual Local Educational Agency (LEA) Title I Parent Meeting
Thursday, June 4, 2015
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Location:  Board of Education Room at Central Office
in the QUEST Elementary School

The Annual Title I Parent Meeting is required by NCLB to review and to plan our Title I program with all stakeholders being invited to attend (parents, teachers, administrators, para-professionals, and students).  This meeting is held to inform parents of their school’s participation in Title I, Part A and to explain the requirements of this part, and the right of the parents to be involved.


29 April 2015

Ride a Fire Truck to School Video Contest - Entries due October 9

The Hilton Fire Department is offering students a chance to win a ride to school on a fire truck by submitting a home fire escape plan video. Students in grades 3-6 are eligible to participate.

The videos will be judged by the Hilton Fire Prevention Committee and one winner from each grade will be announced at the annual Hilton Fire Department Open House on October 24, 2015. 

All Contest videos must be submitted no later than Friday, October 9, 2015. When submitting your video please include your child's name, teacher's name, school and grade your child will be in for the 2015-16 school year. 

All submitted videos will be played for the public at the Open House and shared with students in class.