01 September 2015

Only one week until school begins!

It has been an exciting week with students and families visiting to set-up lockers, checking out room locations, reconnecting with friends and sharing in the anticipation that comes with a new school year.  

Students: We are looking forward to seeing you next week on Tuesday, September 8th!  Be sure to return to your typical school routines, being sure to get plenty of rest, eating healthy foods and packing snack and a water bottle to keep you going during the school day.  Be sure, also, to check through your backpack each day to double check that you have all materials and assignments for homework and the next school day.  

Families: Looking for ways to commemorate the start of the 2015-2016 school year? Check out these ideas from Modern Parents, Messy KidsThe Best Breakfasts for School Brain Power

Wishing you a wonderful Labor Day weekend!  See you soon! 

31 August 2015

1:1 iPad Distribution

Student iPads will be distributed in school beginning September 11, 2015. Please note that a signed Protection Plan enrollment form must be received in order for students to receive an iPad. Protection Plan enrollment forms can be submitted to your child’s math teacher between September 8-10 if they have not been submitted already.

Protection Plan forms were mailed home the week of August 14. If you did not receive one please contact 392-1000 x7022 for assistance. Terms and conditions of the ProtectionPlan and User Agreement can be found on the HCSD 1:1 homepage, found via the first “Helpful Link” on the HCSD website

25 August 2015

Pre-Order School Pictures

If you would like to pre-order your child's school picture, please head to the website below prior to September 17th. Choose the "Order Now" button.  When prompted for the Merton Williams' password, enter: MWMSSPI15.  

School Pictures Inc. Website

Families will also have the opportunity to order after pictures have been taken.   At that point, families will receive an individual password and will be able to view the photo as well as order on-line.  Shipping charges will apply for those ordering after the photos are taken. 

19 August 2015

In the blog post below, a Scholastic.com author shares some of the top fears children have when beginning middle school.  From learning their locker combination and being late for class to worrying about friendships or personal style, this post helps parents find an approach that may help their child face and overcome their worries.  It is helpful for children to know that their families understand and validate their fears while supporting them with practical approaches to move beyond them.  

Click for post: Kids' Biggest Middle School Fears

18 August 2015

Helping your Middle School Child Stay Organized

The anticipation of a new school year is upon us all!  As students enter or continue in middle school, they often struggle to manage their assignments, after school activities, family events and other various appointments and commitments.  

Teaching our children time management is a skill that will support them throughout their life. By helping children lay out their week and understand what is happening in the coming days, they become better able to plan while anticipating how much is expected of them on a given day.  

Seeing a visual of their week, promotes children to become increasingly self-managed while still having support and back-up from an adult. A shared family schedule, posted at home or shared on personal devices, allows students to see more than just their school assignments - which are often what drives their personal agenda throughout the week.  

There are many apps that allow families to share and contribute to common calendars. There are also simple, paper calendars to accomplish the same goal. 

The following apps are popular for family calendar sharing and allow for access on all the child's devices (iPad from school, cell phone, computer, etc...) 

03 August 2015

Blog Transition

As I transition from Village Elementary to Merton Williams Middle School, I will maintain the same blog for families and students.  

All posts prior to this reference Village Elementary School and/or elementary school ideas and topics.  

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.