Virtual Coding Camp!

This summer Penn Manor will be offering a Virtual Coding Camp for students in 5th or 6th grade during the 2020-2021 school year.

  • Students will have an initial online meeting with Mrs. Keller or Mrs. Foster in June.
  • They will join a CSFirst classroom online to receive coding instructions and access to Google’s CSFirst coding videos.
  • After the initial CSFirst sessions, students will be able to navigate the self-paced lessons to create fun engaging coding projects.
  • Click on the link to complete a form if you are interested in participating. 
  • Internet is required.  This camp is available to Penn Manor students at no cost.

Summer Study Buddies

From Dr. Mealy:

This spring Penn Manor & Millersville University began a Study Buddy Program. Millersville students & Penn Manor families have expressed interest in continuing this program over the summer. GREAT NEWS! More families now have the opportunity to become part of the program.

While there will not be the traditional, school year academics, Millersville buddies are happy to help with specific areas of educational need.  For example: multiplication tables, spelling words, reading/writing, even telling time, are skills we can continue to work on throughout the summer.  In lieu of the academic piece during the school year, are there any additional subjects, hobbies, and/or extracurriculars that you would like the Buddies to (remotely) meet about?  For example: maybe a specific sport, type of art, music, video games, etc.

Click here to complete the form which will get you matched with a Millersville Study Buddy. Additional specifics can be found on the form.

Did you see…this program was featured in the May 20th edition of the Merchandiser/Advertiser!  The article was titled, “MU Supports PM’s Transition to Online Learning.”  Millersville students strive to share compassion and contribute to public mission while we all navigate these challenging times. 

More Resources for Home Learning

I hope that you’re all staying happy and healthy at home! My family is doing well- Mr. Harnish still goes to work each day at the police station, Leo has lots of school work to do, and I am busy with work from home. We all miss our routines and freedoms that we took for granted!

Today I want to share a few more resources with you in case you’re looking to supplement home learning.


Each day at 2:00 pm, National Geographic hosts a live broadcast with a scientist working in the field. The first six registrants appear live on the broadcast and get to ask their questions directly to the scientist or explorer! Check it out here:


Wide Open School is a website that has pulled together all sorts of great resources for exploring from home. This includes live zoo cams, virtual field trips, podcasts for kids, online learning games and lessons, social-emotional health resources, craft and DIY projects and much more!


Your student has access to our online content in our Google Classroom site. Here they can ask me questions, listen to my daily read aloud, or find connections to resources like Belouga.


Recently, I was lucky to receive an Advanced Readers’ Copy of a book called When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson. I read it, sobbed and cheered, passed it to my son (a 5th grader) who pronounced it his favorite book of all time (and he’s a reader!). Then my husband read it and was blown away. It is really that good.

When Stars are Scattered is a graphic novel and true story about two brothers living in Dadaab Refugee Camp and their life and struggles in trying to leave for another country and a new life. Our 5-H students visited Dadaab virtually and met a man who lived there, and the co-author, Omar Mohamed, lives and works in Lancaster. It will be released in mid-April, but you can preorder it here:

PLEASE stay in touch and let me know if there is anything that you or your family need right now as you navigate this period of life a home. Also- remember that education- while so important- is less important right now than your family’s health and well being. It is OK to miss a day, or take a break when they need it. I’ll still be here when they’re ready:)

Ideas for Home

If you’re like me, you’re already wondering what to do to keep a fifth grader occupied in positive ways during this time at home. I wanted to share some resources that I’ve used and found over the past few weeks (and some that we always use) in order to give you some ideas in case you need inspiration and are at home with your kids for the time being.

Getting Outside

-In order to prevent both of us from getting cabin fever, Leo and I have been taking lots of hikes and walks outside. My son likes to do this, but if you have a reluctant walker the iNaturalist app is a fun motivator. The app allows you to record plant, insect, and animal life that you find on your travels, and it helps you identify what you’ve found. Simply download the app, snap a picture, and it will help you record and identify! You can even use this in your backyard.

-If you need fresh air, here is a list of Lancaster County nature preserves to explore:

-Citizen science is a great way to learn, explore outside, and contribute real data to real scientists! This page is an amazing resource to find citizen science projects in our area.

Home Activities that Help Brains Grow

Bake or cook together! This requires all sorts of academic skills in order to read recipes and calculate fractional amounts. Here’s a Food Network gallery with recipes kids can make:

Draw/ paint/ doodle/ create comics– my students love to spend time drawing but often don’t have much time to do so during the school day. This is a great time to doodle!


Make a Rube Goldberg Machine! You know those wacky, complicated contraptions that use chain reactions to complete an easy task? They’re a lot of fun for kids to make with simple things around the home. Here’s a video for inspiration:

Online Learning at Home

Scholastic Learn at Home:

This resource has daily learning explorations, with videos, reading, and interactive activities.

EPIC Books for Kids:

You should have received an email offering your student free online access to Epic through the end of the school year. Epic has some TERRIFIC ebooks for free. Our students really enjoy using Epic during he school day, so hopefully this will be another familiar addition to their day.

Prodigy Math

Students LOVE Prodigy Math and will beg to play during the school day. Set up like a normal video game, students must unlock each section by doing grade-level math problems.

I’ll continue to add resources here. In the meantime, do you have an activity or idea to share? Leave a comment and help us come up with some new activities!

Thinking of you call and wishing you health and happiness,

Katie Harnish

Lovely Day

We had lots of fun reading about vernal pools and looking for early spring signs of life. We saw some very interesting algae and some swimming insects under the microscopes! Today we also toured solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and nuclear power plants through virtual reality.

Tomorrow is camping day- students may bring a flashlight and a blanket if they’d like. Pjs are optional:)

Welcome “Bridge”

Yesterday we welcomed Mustafa Nuur of Bridge Lancaster and other local refugees to tell their stories and share their food and culture. We ate food from Somalia, Congo, and Syria. We also were able to see inside Dadaab Refugee Complex, one of the largest in the world, through a live Skype call.

It’s Been a While!

I’ve obviously not been devoting the time to this blog that I should be. I wanted to catch you all up on what’s been going on in 5H in case you hear a lot of “nothing” when you ask your student what they did in school:)


Our students have been interviewing local refugees and immigrants in our communities to hear their stories. So far we’ve interviewed people from Syria, Iraq, Nicaragua, Nepal and Cambodia. We are learning how to turn these interviews into podcasts. Next week, we will be welcoming Mustafa Nuur and Bridge Lancaster to Hambright to learn more about the stories of refugees, to try food from their countries, and to Skype into the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya.


Leonardo Lanna, National Geographic Explorer and founder of Project Mantis, has been partnered with our class this year. He shared his expedition journals with us; we then read, summarized and critiqued them. Up next, we’ll be proposing an expedition for Leo and his team! We’ll also be using both scientific facts and artwork to learn more about the praying mantis and the endangered Atlantic rainforests where they’re found.


This year, our classroom has been chosen to work with to teach kindness skills and try to model kindness school-wide. Most weeks, those who have demonstrated kindness to themselves, others, and our the world go out into the school for a half hour of service. If they have struggled during the week, they stay with me and we process what is happening and what steps we can take to improve the situation. 5H students have made cards for teachers, picked up trash on our school’s campus, and made pick-me-up cards for the 600+ students in our school. Today we read with Kindergartners and helped them locate countries on the globe as another kind act.

We’re also writing text dependent analyses, reading novels, learning about fractions, and conducting energy experiments- out usual daily work. Please keep encouraging your student to read nightly for 20 minutes and be prepared for Friday spelling tests.

Thanks for all of your hard work from home!