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!

What’s up with 5H?

Pumpkins helped us think of some great adjectives for our writing!
Getting inspiration for descriptive writing!
Working on our Kindness Pledge
Studying cells under a microscope
Skyping with Leonardo Lanna, National Geographic Explorer

We’ve been busy as usual! We’ve learned about cells through virtual reality and by looking at them under microscopes. We Skyped with National Geographic Explorer and founder of Project Mantis Leo Lanna, and soon we will be looking at his expedition reports to decide which one should be sent to the magazine for publishing. We’ve learned about Leonardo Da Vinci and his artwork and have been writing about Thanksgiving. We’re learning about decimals in math and the beginning of the Revolutionary War in social studies. We’ve also been emphasizing kindness by creating a Kindness Pledge, comparing notes on Kindness with another class in Texas, and acting as Undercover Secret Kindness Agents for our classmates.

Next week we will be visiting the Star Lab ( a temporary exhibit at Hambright) to go inside a cell and look around. We will also teach our friends from Spain about the US on Monday through an Empatico Skype. We will also be doing STEM activities related to Thanksgiving.

Also, next week on Wednesday, November 27th, we will be sharing a simple meal together as a classroom family that we will make ourselves. If you would like to send in a food donation, please sign up at the link below. Thank you so much for supporting our classroom!

Sign Up!

Red Ribbon Week starts tomorrow!

This is a reminder that Red Ribbon Week starts tomorrow!
10/28 – Monday: Team Up Against Drugs. Wear your favorite sports team                     apparel.
10/29 – Tuesday: Orange you glad you don’t do drugs (wear orange).
10/30 – Wednesday: Support Red Ribbon week (wear red)
10/31 – Thursday: Be a “Jean-ious” – Don’t do drugs!

Pajamas and book characters!

Tomorrow is pajama day in 5H, however, I totally forgot it’s also Dress Like a Book Character Day! So maybe they can dress like a book character in their pajamas?!? I’m so sorry that I forgot!

We’ll also be celebrating with some pizza (for synergizing and working as a class!) and spending time with our second grade buddies at a pumpkin-decorating party. Don’t forget- tomorrow is our spelling test AND 1:30 early dismissal!

Updates from the Guidance Office

Red Ribbon Week is October 28th through 31stThe following themed days are ways that your child can participate.

 10/28 – Monday: Team Up Against Drugs. Wear your favorite sports team                     apparel.

10/29 – Tuesday: Orange you glad you don’t do drugs (wear orange).

10/30 – Wednesday: Support Red Ribbon week (wear red)

10/31 – Thursday: Be a “Jean-ious” – Don’t do drugs. Wear Jeans.    

Thanksgiving Food Drive Information: