Using This Portal

Welcome to the Family Portal! Here's how to navigate it:

  • All buttons are arranged alphabetically except the New Families Start Here button, which is pinned to the top
  • the top of the page (left column on a computer) has buttons that families use most such as the Wednesday Envelope, Magnus Health Forms and Volunteer Forms
  • the middle section contains latest news/information OR the information you have accessed through clicking on a button
  • the bottom of the page (right column on a computer) has resources such as dress codes, handbooks, student and family directory and health policies.

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Summer Refresh

Summer is a time to invigorate, relax and be present for family and friends.

Each child has his/her own unique academic abilities, social-emotional needs, interests and personality. The summer is time for your child to have moments connecting with family and friends, to unplug and to go outside and play, explore and discover something new. At the same time children will enjoy a balance of some structure and lots of free time.

Children have different needs and the summer is the perfect time to review and refresh skills as well as have carefree days. This website is a curation of resources designed to give parent choices for children, "a place to fish" and specific ideas and learning aids for times where your child's learning can be more informally structured to provide balance and support throughout the summer months.

A new and notable feature is our a "DIY and Learn" page, parents may elect what level of participation is best for their child. There are both free and pay per account resources on this new page, and parents can decide with their child as to what learning experience may support a summer fascination or budding curiosity. EMS students can find free tutorials and opportunities for a variety of interests. Please, use as needed. Have a wonderful, refreshing summer and enjoy!

"A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”
Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Looking for summer homework for rising fifth through eighth graders? Coming Soon!

Summer Suggestions

Literacy - Reading


Summer Reading - A Video from Teaching Tuesdays

Phonemic/Phonological Awareness and Sight Words

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the separate sounds, or phonemes, that make up words. Words can be broken down into syllables, and syllables can be broken down into separate units of sounds, called phonemes. This is important to reading and reading readiness. This is especially important for children in Kindergarten and first grade.
The following types of activities support children to develop phonemic awareness:
• rhyming
• matching beginning sounds,
• counting syllables
• counting phonemes

Phonological awareness includes phonemic awareness, and an understanding of syllables, onsets and rimes (link), alliteration, rhymes and words. This is especially important for children in first and second grade.

(Click on the visual icon for resources to practice phonemic and phonological awareness below.)

" choose free apps" to support
skill building and practice


Reading Rainbow - Read Along Children's Book app

Evidence/Inference and Picture of the Day

Use visual images of action that include sports, activities and day-to-day scenes of life to discuss:
What do you observe in this picture? What details do you notice? What do you see when observing it "closely" or when you "zoom in"?
What inferences can you make based on what you see in this picture?

"Picture of the Day" is an inferring strategy that is used to improve reading comprehension. Try out a few questions as you look at the pictures below. Then search together or have your child take some pictures on their own to use for their own "Picture of the Day" experience.



About Journaling

Encourage your child(ren) to write over the summer by keeping a journal, and writing letters to friends and family members. Personal experiences and events, including drawings and photographs, can be kept in a special summer journal.

Your child may want to keep a digital version. Students in grades three and four have access to their Google Drive account (link). Children in grades K -4 have access to Wixie (link)through the summer.
Kids Journal (link) is a great way to document any activity with text and pictures. Students can also create comics and create photo collages to tell stories with sequence or to categorize events in both physical and digital environments.

keyboard photo: Keyboard 36_1_37.gif

About Keyboarding

Incoming Third Graders
Children develop familiarity with hand position to support where the home keys are and proper body posture to support how children keyboard provide the foundations for keyboarding skills . Students are encouraged to use a variety of keyboard interfaces and become familiar with a multiple layouts.

In fall of third and fourth grade students experience QwertyTown. While not for every child, part of the appeal relates to the social participatory aspect that children engage in as they work through the levels as citizens of a class community. Motivation occurs as children chat with peers when they work through skills at each level to earn different rewards. Learning both hand position and having opportunities to type in context like chatting supports keyboarding skills. Engage your child in typing activities that are holistic and child-centered. Three or four times a day they should send a text message, short email, or other note. Rapid response (chatting and texting) style communications are important for developing interest & familiarity with keyboards. Resist the temptation to discuss the home row. While Qwertytown covers this concept, modern computing does not include the tactile feedback of a home row. This is an area where short frequent opportunities are more important than longer typing sessions.


Reading and Book Choice

Summer is upon us and we are hopeful that summer reading will be high on your child’s list of activities. Children can read books of their own choosing with your guidance.

Decisions, decisions - Where can I find titles of great books, including videos to help keep my child's literacy skills sharp and maintain a momentum for reading throughout the summer?

(Click on the visual icons for link to resource.)


Notable Children's Book List


Coretta Scott King Book Awards


Outstanding Video Productions


Children's Book Lists by Category


Access to EMS Recommended Reading List

For parents that are currentlyGoodreads users

Consider engaging your child in finding some really great book titles from our choice of book lists above.

With your child and in your own personal Goodreads account, create a shelf for your child. Your child can add books that are he/she may want to read to that shelf with you. Your child may visit a library to try out some of these different books to see, which books are "just right." The child having their own shelf may support goal setting discussions about reading over the summer.

This experience can possibly provide fodder for a conversation about how you participate in a digital environment. If you want to go in this direction, discuss what types of information you share online when you sign up for an account like Goodreads and why you make those choices.


Numeracy - Math


Image used under terms of Creative Commons attribution:

Applying Math to Everyday life

Practice estimating skills around the house.
  • Ask your child to estimate the total cost of a few items purchased, distance, temperature or angles in an architectural structure; then compare to the actual number. Check actual measurements using receipts, GPS, Google Maps, rulers, tape measures, thermometers, or Google Earth.
  • Color code measuring cups and spoons, marking the ¼ teaspoon and ¼ cup red, and the ½ teaspoon and ½ cup blue. Adding visual clues can help children to identify similar measurements and fractions. The next time you're in the kitchen, have your child help you measure out the ingredients by using these tools.

Use money to teach your child about math—and budgeting!
  • Do you give your children allowance? Working with them to spend even a very small amount of money in a store can help them practice addition and subtraction.
  • Cook or bake with your child. Ask your child to pick his favorite recipe to make and buy the items together in the grocery store. Challenge older children to do the math and double the recipe or double the budget.
  • While at a restaurant or while traveling discuss the concept of tipping and have your older child calculate the tip.
  • See if your bank has an online program to teach your child about saving money. Start an "online" piggy bank.

Practice telling time and reading time with an analog clock or watch.

  • Consider engaging your child in the process of choosing and then buy your child the analog watch of choice to wear.
  • Make sure you have at least one analog clock in the house, the kitchen is a great place to have one.
  • Practice telling time on both analog and digital clocks.
  • Create a schedule for the day with your child and connect it to what the time looks like on a clock.
  • Bake a cake or something and then figure out the "now" time and the "done" time for when the cake comes out of the oven using an analog clock and/or a digital clock. Note: The clock you choose to use will be dependent on the skill you are practicing. For example: If you are just adding minutes to time then a digital clock may work, if you are adding minutes and practicing time telling then you want to use an analog clock.

Adapted from: and

Applying Math to Game Playing


Knight's Tour and Grid Hopping Game

(Below is a great video link and challenge that deals with number theory. It is particularly useful for those interested in mathematical theory, logic and reasoning and best suited for older elementary students.)

Click (link) to Knight's Tour video

You can play this on a 10x10 grid. But also can play on smaller (or larger) grids, like 5x5 or the traditional chessboard’s 8x8. By the way, you can play it on any rectangular grid, so don’t limit yourself to a square. So here we go:

  1. Draw a grid
  2. Pick your starting cell and write “1” in it
  3. Move as a knight would move in chess and write “2” in the cell you land in.
  4. Move again and this time write “3” in the cell you land on.
  5. Continue until either you visit every single cell once and only once or until you cannot make another move.
This game will present many choices (apart from the size of the grid itself) - where to start, which way to move first, which way to move next, should you backtrack to the skipped cells? Play a few rounds, and some patterns start to emerge. The game itself is simple enough to be taught to young kids: you can reduce the grid dimensions, increase cell size, and use stickers instead of numbers to mark already-visited cells. But the math behind the game is not simple at all. Enjoy!

Resource: MobiusSnoodles


Basic Skill Practice

To help children keep their math skills sharp during the summer, we would like to suggest the following digital resources which contain a variety of mathematical activities, including reviews, drills, problem solving tasks and games.

Search by grade level, skill, or topic to find what you need for your child.
(Click on the visual icon for link to resource below.)


Math is Fun


Aplus Math Interactive
Flashcards and more


Hooda Math Games


Cool Math


Math Arcade



new for summer 2015
Owl face - Click image to download.
Broken Calculator

Math Playground


An amusement park of math games


Skills Tutor

About IXL and Skills Tutor
Incoming second - fifth graders have an IXL account
through The Elisabeth Morrow School. Login information will remain the same through the summer.

Incoming fifth graders have access to their Elisabeth MorrowSkills Tutor accounts through the summer and will use their same login information that they have used all year.


About Calculation Nation

"Calculation Nation® (link) uses the power of the Web to let students challenge opponents from anywhere in the world. At the same time, students are able to challenge themselves by investigating significant mathematical content and practicing fundamental skills. The element of competition adds an extra layer of excitement."

For interested parents of incoming fourth and fifth graders. The website is designed for upper elementary and middle school children. Feel free to set up an account in Calculation Nation with your child. Remember help your child to choose an appropriate online (screen) name and consider the following:
• An online (screen) name has the potential to become permanently associated with your child, so guidance is critical. It should not contain real or identifying names.
• As with any account, remind your child not to share personal information.
•Search for parental controls or information to explain what you can control or your child can control in the website.


APPitic is a directory of apps for education by Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs)

Navigate to Apps by Subject Area

Here is the Appitic (link) to try out some new free apps based on a skill, interest and/or need. Click on "Themes" on the top navigation bar to access "Apps for Subject Area" (See above image). Note: After navigating to the area you need and finding an app, it is important to click on "Show Detail" to read the description that in many cases includes grade level and other important information.

In the classroom where iPads are used we utilize apps that are interdisciplinary in nature in addition to apps that focus on just skill development. These types of multi-purpose apps allow for children to communicate, create or collaborate in new ways.

Integrative Activities

Check out these tabs for several additional activities shared by the science, library, technology, arts, gardening, and other programs!

DIY Website

"DIY is a safe online community for kids to discover new skills, meet friends who are geeks just like them, and be awesome."
Parents this is an opportunity to be involved in the process of setting up a web-based account with your child, and being involved in a participatory culture. This resource can also be accessed through a free app easily downloaded using this link in the iTunes store. Note there are many videos to explore for free. Camps are advertised for a minimal cost. If your child is just looking for new skill ideas and not posting to the site, there is no need to pay anything. Once an account is set up, this site is designed for students age seven and older to navigate independently. Parents of younger children may find something of interest to do together.

EMS students if you are interested in this then show your parents.

Additionally DIY has a set of community guidelines for its participants that are worthwhile to look over regardless if an account is set up or not.


Free Youth Programs Available

For more information about registration and workshop topics.

Little School Head of the Day - Favorite Game

Mr. and Miss Ferrara were head for the day on --------. They shared their favorite Learning Portal Games, extablishing a new tradition and stamp for each new Head for the Day to leave with their classmates.

Emeritus Head's for the Day

Mr. Couri was head of the day on May 29, 2015. All students received popslcles, and a Casual Day dress down. Here is his favorite Learning Portal Game. Hope you like the game.

Code Monkeys

Coding, Logic and Revisiting Creativity

Coding and logic activities. Creativity through process oriented computing.

Most of these resources use block programming, a visual programming language. To learn more, click on the buttons above. Depending on the age and skill development of a child there will be varying levels of independent, creative engagement. Some resources are best used with an adult for the first time at home and one requires an account to be created by a parent with the child.

These resources should be used as you see fit to encourage independent play and participation. Some children are ready for this level of engagement, and some may not be at this point in time. As a parent you are the best judge of what is an appropriate activity for play and how much time should be spent on it. Talk to your child to gauge what level of interest there is in this type of coding experience. Remember, simple logic and sequencing skills can also be developed in a variety of activities and do not always have to involve a computer to program. For example, baking a dozen wonderful, chocolatey chip cookiesfrom scratch is a great way to develop a sense of order and mathematical ability.

Hot Science

Summer Refresh: LS Science

Here are some ideas for summer science fun:

Visit a nature center - Many of these have special summer programs and events!

Some close to EMS

Flat Rock Brook:

Tenafly Nature Center:

J.A. McFaul Environmental Center:

Be a Naturalist at home (or at the beach or on vacation):

Encourage your student to observe, identify, count, measure, draw and/or record information about the birds, trees, shells, sticks, rocks, insects that you see wherever you are this summer. Record in a special notebook! Tape or glue stuff in!

Visit a Museum or Zoo - Many of these have special summer programs and events!

Liberty Science Center:

American Museum of Natural History:

Bronx Zoo (or it’s smaller zoos in other boros):

NY Botanical Gardens:

Bergen County Zoo at Van Saun Park:

Turtle Back Zoo:

Bear Mountain Zoo:

Do some crazy designing and building:

Raid the recycling bin and build something - a bridge across a puddle, the tallest possible tower, a tree-house for fairies! Or use Legos, blocks, wood, or found natural objects. Draw and label the final product. Ask your kid about the building process: what was your biggest challenge? What did you have to change? What surprised you?

Cook and Bake:

Many of the skills involved in cooking and baking - following directions, working with ingredients, measuring, combining materials, collaborating - are also science skills!

Websites for Ideas and Learning:

Brains On Podcast. A science podcast for kids:

Brainpop - short videos on a HUGE variety of topics and activity suggestions:

BrainpopJr - short videos and activities and games for younger students:

Ology: science Info, Activities and Idea for Kids from the Natural History Museum:

Kids Health - learn more about how your body works and how to keep it healthy:

Keep Active - PE

Mrs. Smith's Summer Activity Resource: Shape America