Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Reading Ideas from Politics and Prose

Politics and Prose has released it's annual guide of Summer Favorites, which is stuffed full of great reading ideas for every age group.  If you have a rainy (or especially hot!) day this summer, stop by and check out the amazing Children and Teen Department yourself!  

Follow the link to explore their recommendations:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Welcome to the Fifth Year of the HTS Summer Learning Blog!

Dear Parents,

In an effort to keep students engaged and learning over the summer months, we have assembled a selection of math, reading, and technology resources designed to combat “summer slide.” We feel this is especially important since it is the second year with an extended summer break. We ask that you set aside some time every week for your child to read and to work on a bit of math.  Summer Resources include:
  • Summer review math packets (rising 2nd-4th Grades) or summer math projects (rising 5th-7th Grades). We have designed the math review packets to keep math skills fresh over the long summer. Students are encouraged to work on the packets throughout the summer and return them to their teacher the first week of school.  The projects for the older students are intended as a way for the students to engage with mathematics in fun and interesting ways.  Both the packets and the projects will be due on the first day of school in the fall, Tuesday, September 8.
  • Each grade has a Summer Reading List, and many of the grades have specific assignments as well.  The Lower School list can be found in the Tuesday folder; the Upper School lists can be found on the HTS Website, and on the HTS Summer Learning Blog.
We would also like to welcome you to the fifth year of the HTS Summer Learning Blog.
The HTS Summer Learning blog will serve as the gathering place for all HTS summer assignments, but the tech team has also assembled a variety of fun, often techie ways to help students prevent that dreaded "summer slide."  In particular, you might want to direct your child to the resources on keyboarding, mathematics and coding.
We will be updating the blog throughout the summer with new reading ideas, websites and Apps for your iPads, so be sure to follow us by email, or keep checking back for updates.
Please let Derek Ferguson or Mary Beth Morell know if you have any comments, or would like to suggest a website, link or App to add. They can be reached at and respectively.
Enjoy lazy summer days filled with swimming, hiking, exploring, friends, and fun -- and be sure to spend some time enriching your and your children’s brains as well!
Charlie Hennessy

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

121 Books - A Very Subjective Guide

I spent the past two mornings with Derek, who will be replacing me at HTS next year.  It took hours to walk through all the various resources our teachers use... including this blog.  I realized I've neglected this blog almost completely this summer... 

But then I received this post from Dinner a Love Story (one of my favorite culinary blogs) this morning with their delightfully subjective guide to their favorite books. 

This enchanting thought in the introduction reads:

As friend-of-DALS and writer-extraordinaire George Saunders puts it, “A minute spent reading to your kids now will repay itself a million-fold later, not only because they love you for reading to them, but also because, years later, when they’re miles away, those quiet evenings, when you were tucked in with them, everything quiet but the sound of the page-turns, will seem to you, I promise, sacred.”


And so I had to share this with you all. I'm not sure how long the link will be live, so do open and save it... it just might be the place to find that perfect last-month of summer read for your children... Trust me parents, they do grow up fast...

The link can he found here:


And thank you Jenny and Andy (and the girls!)


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Three Great Edutopia Resources to Help Prevent the Summer Slide

Edutopia, a website devoted to finding what works in education, is one of my favorite teacher resources.

I also love the ideas and resources they offer for parents, and I'd like to highlight three recent blog posts that offer great ideas to prevent the summer slide or slump:

Parents: Inspiring Readers Through the Summer Slump:


Friday, June 13, 2014

A Trio of Websites Full of Great Ideas for Summer Learning

The web is alive with great ideas to help prevent the summer slide!  Following are a few ideas that have landed in my inbox over the past few weeks:

Common Sense Media

The crew at Common Sense Media have assembled a Summer Learning Guide of the best apps, games and websites to engage students in the following areas:

  • Explore the World
  • Hands-on-Science
  • Get Creative
  • Tinkering and Tech
  • Learn Together
  • Multimedia Memories
Access the guide here: 

This website - All About Adolescent Literacy - offers resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.  They have assembled a fantastic "Beach Bag" Full of Summer Learning Resources:

Ideas include:
  • Armchair Travels
  • Tour the Museums
  • Don't Forget About the Library
  • Tips for Parents
  • Write On!
  • Resources to Share with Teens
  • Reading Incentive Programs
  • Beyond Reading and Writing
Explore the site by using the link here: 

Reading Rockets

This PBS TV show has a great website chock-full of ideas for teachers to share with families.

Topics include:
  • Ideas for summer learning fun (pen pals, geo caching, gardening)
  • Ideas for summer reading fun (libraries, book clubs)
  • Online activities for families (National Geographic, Discovery Kids, Smithsonian)

Link to the website here: 

Have you found any other great summer learning resources?  Share them in the comment section below!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kate DiCamillo's Picks For Summer Treehouse Reading

Oh how I love NPR.  As I was running errands Monday afternoon, All Things Considered featured a lengthy interview with Newbery Award winning Kate DiCamillo.  Her inspired Flora and Ulysses has been my favorite book for young people this year - the woman is a genius. I suppose that is why she has been named the country's national ambassador for young people's literature by the Library of Congress...

Kate recommended a number of books for "Summer Treehouse Reading.  Like Kate, I can wholeheartedly recommend Counting by 7s for middle school readers... it was extraordinary.  The link to her list can be found below - I know I'll be adding her recommendations to my list :)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Khan Academy: Keep your Math Skills Sharp Over the Summer with this Amazing Website!

For Upper School Students, we suggest Khan Academy as an interactive online resource to keep math skills sharp over the summer.  This website assesses where students are in their learning, and assigns problems to help students master any areas of weakness.  The students work at their own pace, take ownership of their learning, and have fun by earning badges and completing missions.   Video tutorials are available to help coach them through new topics, or areas where they might need review.  A dashboard is also available so that students - and parents - can track progress.

A comprehensive overview of the program for parents can be found here:

When students login for the first time, they are given a pretest to unlock their learning dashboard, and will start working through problems that align with their level.  Some of our students have used Khan Academy to supplement their learning in math class this year, so can continue from where they have left off in class. 

For most of our students, this will be a new challenge.  They will login using their HTS Gmail account and password.  (If you are new to HTS and need a Gmail address and password please Email Karelia Pallan: For summer review, we suggest students begin with the grade level they have just completed, and click on the box at the top of the page that says “Unlock your learning dashboard.” This will begin the pretest. The links can be found below:

4th Grade:
5th Grade:
6th Grade:
7th Grade:

If you have any questions, please contact: Polly Sileo: or
Mary Beth Morell

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Just Keep Typing - Part Three

As I've said before, in Just Keep Typing - Part Two and Just Keep Typing, (posts which feature lots of great keyboarding games), summer is a great time to work on your keyboarding.  This year, we have transitioned to using a popular new website titled Typing Club as our major keyboarding instruction tool at HTS, though most students have not used it since first semester.

Typing Club provides 100 free activities that begin with the basics and progress in difficulty until you can touch type on your entire keyboard.  I have found that our students like this program better than previous options, as the lessons are quite short and manageable.  They also seem to like the fact that as you type during each lesson you are given instant real-time feedback about your accuracy and speed. 

If your child would like to work on keyboarding this summer, just login to Typing Club using the child's HTS-issued Gmail account and password.  If you are new to HTS and need a Gmail account, please contact Tech Teacher Mary Beth Morell on

Please also check out previous keyboarding entries to explore great games like BBC Dancemat Typing, the Typing Games at ABCya and TyperShark.

Summer Reading Lists Have Been Posted!

Exciting news!  All Summer Reading Lists have now been posted on the HTS Website!

(Which means summer vacation is close:)

Links to all the lists and assignments can be found below:

We will also keep links to all the lists on the grade-specific pages to the right of this post.

If you have read everything on your list, and are still seeking fabulous books to while away your summer days, consider consulting the lists from your local public library... or consult one of the following websites:

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge Young Adult

Recent Favorites from Politics and Prose

or you can check out some of our previous suggestions on this blog:

Books from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

2013 Washington Post KidsPost Summer Reading Club Suggestions

Do you have any other favorite books or lists you would like to share?  Post them in the comment section below... and Happy Reading!

Mrs. Morell

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School!

We're back to school today, and it's so great to see the kids back and excited about all our new techie endeavors at Holy Trinity.

I would like to share two resources from the amazing Common Sense Media :

The Back to School guide:

I'm happy to answer any questions about the HTS tech program for you.  You can always reach me on

Friday, July 26, 2013

Oxford Owl Learning

Apologies for neglecting the blog for a couple of weeks! Catherine and I spent several days last week at Harvard attending an "iPad in the Classroom" workshop sponsored by EdTech Teacher - which was amazing.  We're still processing all that we learned and how best to share it with our teachers and students!  Look for blog posts in the coming weeks based on the workshop :)

Meanwhile, I discovered the Oxford Owl Learning website earlier this week from one of my favorite blogs: iLearn Technology.

Oxford Owl has over 250 free eBooks available online, designed for children up to age 11 develop their reading skills.  Audio is provided for each book (a wonderful feature!), and the books have activities that focus on reading comprehension and story recall.  The site also has tips for parents and teachers, printables and online games.  Sadly, these books do not yet work on iPads...

The Maths section (as they call it in the UK) is designed for children up to age 7 to develop math skills:

Explore and Enjoy!  Mrs. Morell