Harnew Elementary School

Education for today with a vision for the future.

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Welcome to Harnew

  • November 2018


    Dear Harnew Community,

     Beginning November 20, 2018, you will have the opportunity to participate in the Illinois 5Essentials Survey. This opportunity allows you to share your views on important elements of school effectiveness. The results from the survey will provide a rich picture of the inner workings of your school from an organizational perspective.

     On behalf of the Illinois State Board of Education, UChicago Impact will administer the Illinois 5Essentials Survey online. This survey is based on the Five Essentials for School Success, an evidence-based framework developed by the University of Chicago. This framework identifies how school performance on five factors or “essentials” can lead to important student outcomes, including improved attendance and larger test score gains.

     Prior research has shown that schools strong on three or more of the 5Essentials were 10 times more likely to improve student learning gains than schools weak on three or more of the Essentials. Those 5Essentials are:


    • Effective Leaders
    • Collaborative Teachers
    • Involved Families
    • Supportive Environment
    • Ambitious Instruction

     Prior research in more than 400 schools has shown that schools that were strong on at least three of these “5Essential” indicators were 10 times more likely to improve student learning gains in math and reading than those that were weak on three or more Essentials.

     All teachers and 5th through 12th grade students will be responding to this survey. 5Essential Reports will be generated for schools if their teachers and/or students meet the response rate threshold of 50 percent. These reports will be sent to schools and districts in March 2019 and will also be included in the State Report Card. If at least 20 percent of parents from Harnew complete this survey, a parent supplement will also be generated.

     Your participation in the parent portion of the survey will help us understand the conditions at your child’s school and guide improvement. Your identity and survey responses will be kept completely confidential and will never be connected to you or your child.

     The Illinois 5Essentials Survey will be conducted November 20, 2018 through January 18, 2019. To take the survey please visit http://survey.5-essentials.org/illinois/survey/parent/ and select the appropriate survey to begin.

     For more information about the Illinois 5Essentials Survey, or to view previous years’ Reports, please visit https://illinois.5-essentials.org. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact 5Essentials Customer Support at 1-866-440-1874 or 5Essentials@uchicago.edu.


     Anthony Gill

    Harnew Principal


  • These Websites RULE!!

    Below is a list of sites I’ve compiled during my years as an Instructional Technology teacher. In an effort to make what you’re looking for a breeze, I included a brief synopsis of each site and color-coded it so you’ll know which sites are best for your child:

    Red for primary students (grades K-2),
    Blue for intermediate students (grades 3+), and
    Purple for ANY student of any age group.

    In addition, each site’s synopsis contains a hyperlink for easy accessibility.
    Rest assured that they’ve be tried and trued, kid-tested and teacher approved!!

    Be "Cyber" Intelligent
    This site just might be considered the "holy grail" of internet safety sites as it provides grade/age-specific sites that will provide parents as well as children with helpful, educational, and meaningful activities. Click here!
    This site has plenty of games, videos and activities to help children of all ages learn about Internet Safety! Click here to learn how to be safer online

    Funbrain Playground

    Now here's a site straight up your primary child's alley! Funbrain Playground has a bazillion (okay, 24) FUN games that will keep your youngster busy and focused! Loaded with cool graphics and lots of silly sounds, this site is sure to make its way into your favorite's folder!  


    The Great Piggy Bank Adventure

    Although it's not the most important thing in life, money does play an integral part in an individual's life. While most children learn the names and values of money during their early academic years at school, it's often at home where they learn the value of saving and investing money.  

    Saving can be a difficult skill to teach, especially when kids aren't yet able to really realize or reap the benefits of stashing their earnings. Regardless, it's still critical to educate kids about the importance...even if it's with pretend money. That's why the innovators at Disney developed "The Great Piggy Bank Adventure." 

    "The Great Piggy Bank Adventure® online is a virtual board game that educates kids and adults on the importance of wise financial planning. Kids will learn about important financial concepts and use these lessons to complete the game and achieve their dream goals. While The Great Piggy Bank Adventure® is designed for kids from ages 8 to 14, fun-loving adults are encouraged to play with their kids and get involved in their financial education." 

    CLICK HERE to go on your piggy bank adventure!

    "A Thousand Sites in ONE!"

     http://mrnussbaum.com/ is an overall great site that has many educational games that will reinforce lessons learned in the classroom. The site is divided into categories, so finding what you need is a cinch and just a mouse click away. To visit "a thousand sites in one," click here!


    Have a tech-savvy child who's always looking for a cool, new site? This one will blow him or her away by giving them a chance to play movie director! National Geographic Wildlife Filmmaker is a one-of-a-kind site that posts all sorts of animal clips that are eagerly waiting to be organized into a movie...add some music and captions and you've got a contender for an Academy Award! 

    Click here to get started!

    ABC Ya!

    Yaaaaa! This site is fun, educational, and chock full of endless activities that will engage and challenge your child! Gauged towards grades K-5, your child will grow with this site and is certain to make it to your "Favorites" folder!  

    Try it out here!

    BBC's CBeebies

    Did I mention how much I love BBC websites? Here's another one specifically for children in the primary grades (K-2). Stories, activities, games, and much more, this site has so much to offer your little one while giving you the peace of mind that he/she is accessing a safe and educational place they're sure to love.  

    Click here! 

    BBC's KS1 Bitesize Games

    Brought to you by the one and only BBC, KS1 Bitesize Games are as funny as they are educational. Choose from either "Literary" (Language Arts) or "Maths" (Math) and prepare to complete three levels in each topic area. Equipped with goofy, yet astonishing graphics and cute sound effects, this site is sure to get your child psyched about learning! 

    Click here! 

    *Note: Being a British site, all characters do have a bit of an accent but are still understandable. 

    BBC's The Magic Key

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with BBC, allow me to introduce you...BBC stands for British Broadcast Corporation and is a wonderful site for both children and adults. Similar to that of PBS, BBC has created show-based sites to provide familiarity while simultaneously engaging children in stimulating activities. The kid sites are extraordinary as they are fun and entertaining but also very educational as well. After accessing the site here, just click on the family to begin.

    Book Adventure

    "Book Adventure is a FREE reading motivation program for children in grades K-8. Children create their own book lists from over 7,000 recommended titles, take multiple choice quizzes on the books they've read, and earn points and prizes for their literary successes. Book Adventure was created by and is maintained by Sylvan Learning." 

    Start your very own book adventure here!

    Coolest Hands-On SCIENCE site...EVER!!!

    So that's where Mr. Wizard got all his ideas from... 

    Yet another FANTASTIC site from PBS..."ZOOM" is a science-based show that is "by kids, for kids" and has made its way online. Here, kids can watch episodes of the show, get some great ideas for the Science Fair, and learn about all things Science. The link below will automatically take you to the ZOOM activities page, but be sure to click on the actual ZOOM icon, located at the upper left-hand corner, to explore the entire site.  

    Zoom on over to ZOOM here!


    All out of coloring books and crayons? Searching for a craft for you and your child to do?
    Try the Crayola site and watch your child's creativity come alive! This site offers an infinite amount of activities to try. This site has coloring pages, games, and crafts galore! And best of all?? Clean up is a CINCH!

    To have a Crayola experience, click here!

    Fit "Phit" in your Favorites!

    Brought to you by coolmath4kids.com, "Phit" is a hit with the kiddies at Harnew! The rules and game objective of "Phit" are so simplistic, yet it remains one of the kids' all-time, favorite games to play during (winter) recess. The game offers hundreds of levels as well one heck of a workout for your cranium!  

    Try fit here! 

    Fun Brain

    Here's another one of those BONUS sites...it's educational, fun, and engaging. This place seems to have it all including Sudoku, web-books and comics, games, Mad Libs--you name it!

    Click here to give your brain some fun!


    This educational site is based on the television show, Gisele's Big Backyard. One of the best primary sites I've come across, this site has plenty of activities to keep your little one busy. Gisele's Big Backyard is conveniently arranged by subject/content area and also offers a rating system to help you find the best game for your child. Be sure to explore the entire site, as it has plenty of games, activities, and videos! This way to the backyard!

    HATE Math but LOVE Games?

    “Cool Math 4 Kids” is a site that I wish would have been around when I was a kid! This site is especially valuable if you have a child who is struggling with math, but loves games. It helps kids practice their math skills through an abundance of games and activities. Furthermore, coolmath4kids.com also provides users with a portal of links that will effectively instruct/review certain mathematical topics such as fractions, multiplication, even tessellations! 

    Turn hate into love…click here 

    Have you ever "Wordle-d"?

    Something so basic yet SO FUN! "Wordle is a toy for generating "word clouds" from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends." 

    Wanna "wordle?" Click here!

    Highlight this Site!

    Remember when Highlights was just a magazine? Now, it's online too! Keeping its wholesome reputation that many parents remember from the past, it's still full of great stories, engaging activities, and loads of fun games. It also has crafts, poetry, and a section for Science. A site that is sure to delight any child of any age, highlights.com is a safe and reliable resource that's sure to make its way to your "favorites" folder!

    P.S. It even has the famous "Hidden Picture" activity!
    Click here to access Highlights.com

    How to Help Make Everyday EARTH Day

    My students are always getting an ear-load from me regarding environmental issues. I think it's crucial that we acknowledge the on-going crisis that our Earth is facing before it's too late. Below is a kid-friendly site that will help educate children on these important issues and what they can do to become more involved, how they can make a difference and how they can HELP!  

    Click here...

    Hungry for FACTS?!?

    Need a reliable and resourceful site that will provide you with the facts and information you need? Try Fact Monster. While its target audience is children, Fact Monster is also appropriate for adults as well because it breaks the site down into organized categories and presents the information in clear and understandable manner. Whenever research is on the agenda in IT class, Fact Monster is one of my top choices for students to use. Give it a try by clicking here 

    I Know That!

    While this is a fabulous site containing dozens of different educational activities, please be forewarned that it has just as many pop-ups and registration screens...definitely an annoying inconvenience, but don't let that deter you and your child from trying it out. Just click "no thanks" and proceed to your desired destination. Organized by grade level and subject, "I Know That" is a site that will provide fun and effective review activities for your child. Give it a try by clicking here 

    I SPY

    I spy with my little eye...a site that will keep your child engrossed and happy with delight. Choose from six different game levels and see if you can find all the hidden objects.  

    Click here to begin spying! 

    I WANT to be an Ed-head!!

    Edheads is a spectacular site that has a simple mission: "Edheads will create unique, educational Web experiences designed to make hard-to-teach concepts understandable using the power and interactivity of the Internet. We will set a new standard for excellence by delivering in-depth content in a fresh, exciting style allowing the user to learn intuitively in an online environment." Talk about interactive...this site will provide unique opportunities for students to become involved in designing a cell phone, predicting the weather, or learning about simple machines. While this site does contain interactive activities for children of all ages, it also has some activities that may not be age-appropriate for some children ("Deep Brain Simulation" and "Virtual Hip Replacement"--not too gory or graphic, but may still leave some kids weak in the knees!) 

    Become an “edhead” by clicking here!

    Internet Safety

    Facebook. MySpace. Chat rooms. These are all popular sites that kids of all ages are accessing right from home. While most of these kids believe that these sites are safe, most of the time they are not. Dateline and 20/20 repeatedly do segments on the dangers of on-line chat rooms but unfortunately, kids are still drawn to these sites.
    The site below is an informative site for not only kids, but for parents too, on the dangers that a seemingly innocent website may hold. Educate. Engage. Empower...and click here!

    Learn and Play @ Home with FunSchool!

    Another fun, yet educational site that offers games, crafts, coloring pages, and even recipes! Fun for the WHOLE family!!! 

    Click here to try it out!

    Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get your Adverbs HERE!

    Ah, yes! The good 'ole days! If you began reading the title above and suddenly found yourself singing, you were lucky enough to be around during those vintage Saturday morning cartoons. And, if you were in the right place at the right time, you were able to catch School House Rock. If only the networks would broadcast it again...unfortunately, that's most likely never going to happen, but the good news is, you can access just about every episode you lovingly remember from a website called "Sqool tools." You'll be belting out "Conjunction Junction" and "I'm Just a Bill" in no time! Click here for a trip down memory lane!

    P.S. To access the actual video, you'll have to click on "Video Link" which will take you to another site.

    My Story Maker

    Have a creative and imaginative child that loves to read and/or write? Then "My StoryMaker" will capture your child's interest like no other... 

    Brought to you by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburg, "My StoryMaker" gives a child all the components of a great story: interesting characters, settings, and props, as well as all the freedom to develop your own, unique story! This site also allows you to print out your story and gives you a retrieval code. Remarkable! 

    Click here to make your story!

    Nutrition Explorations

    Here's another great, interactive, kid-friendly site that promotes a healthy lifestyle...It's called Nutrition Explorations and is suitable for kids, adults, AND educators! This site contains all sorts of facts and information on the food pyramid, exercise, and overall health. Equipped with some seriously FUN games and activities, this website will help encourage individuals to become more active and adopt healthy habits!! 

    Click here to check the Nutrition Exploration site out!!

    Online Pyramid Tour

    If you're like me and are completely fascinated with the Egyptian pyramids, but convinced you'll never make it to Egypt, you HAVE to check this site out! It is a virtual tour, created by PBS NOVA, of Khufu's pyramid. You can "crawl through Khufu's narrow passageways and navigate your way, as the pharaohs did, to the King's burial chamber." Utterly amazing and cool, this site will leave you breathless and wanting more!  

    So leave your SPF and passport behind and click here to begin your tour. 

    *Note: Be sure to read up on the site before taking the tour. The site highly encourages uses to down load the QuickTime plugin for a better experience!

    Math Live!

    Turn on the "Mathnavox" television and get ready to select which Math "show" you'd like to watch and learn more about. Joe, Anna, Hank, and Chelsea will be your guides as they provide a visual and interactive review of intermedial Mathematical concepts. Complete with lessons, glossary, and knowledge checks, this interactive site will help anyone understand Math a little better!  

    Access "Math Live!" here

    Math Playground

    Having trouble with Alegebra? Fearing fractions? Loathing linear equations? Then visit "Math Playground," a site that takes all those challenging, pesky math skills and rolls 'em into fun, educational activities. Navigate using the left side console or choose from one of the activities featured on the home page...there's even videos!!  

    Click here to check out this "math-nificent" website! 

    ALSO...be sure to check out the Logic games featured on www.mathplayground.com. They will truly give your brain a workout!! Click here to get started!

    NCES Kids' Zone

    "The purpose of the National Center for Education Statistics' Kids' Zone is to provide information to help you learn about schools; decide on a college; find a public library; engage in several games, quizzes and skill building about math, probability, graphing, and mathematicians; and to learn many interesting facts about education. Of course, all of these things have been designed to be fun too, so jump in!"  

    NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) is another worthwhile site to check out. Make professional-looking graphs, learn about all things Math, and even decide on a college! So much to do...so little time!  

    Click Here

    Paint Like Picasso!

    Have you ever painted like Picasso? Have you ever painted with him? Now you can! There's actually a site called "Picassohead" that gives its visitors the unique opportunity as well as capability to paint just like the famous painter, Pablo Picasso! Browse through the extensive gallery of completed pictures made by visitors just like you or design one yourself! Create a priceless work of art for your home or office...people will wonder how you ever got your hands on a Picasso!! Fancy beret optional! 

    Paint like the legend here!

    PBS Kids

    Have a child that loves PBS and the computer? Give this site a try for a truly fun and educational site for kids in grades 1-3. Familiar characters, like the Berenstain Bears and Arthur, will provide stimulating, engaging, and educational activities for your child to complete. Click here to access the site!

    PBS Kids for Older Kids

    Kids love PBS Kids...yes, even the older kids. But sometimes, they need a little bit of a challenge. The next best thing is a site called "Cyberchase." This site is an extension of PBS Kids and provides a perfect combination of nostalgia and engaging activities while still giving the ‘ole cranium a workout. Try it out here!

    Peep and the BIG, WIDE World!

    Peep and the Big, Wide World is a Canadian-based television show that "gives wings to the innovative idea of teaching science to preschoolers. Wry and distinctive visual humor, charming plotlines, and lovable characters combine with a comprehensive science program to attract and engage kids three to five years old." Narrated by Joan Cusack, the show provides youngsters with answers to their curious science-related questions. The show was such a hit that the producers created a website that would be made available to children that might not have access to the television show. Chock full of fun, educational games, PEEP will keep your tike entertained and engaged! 

    Click here to peek at Peep’s incredible site!

    Place that State!

    Do you have what it takes to place the name of the state where it belongs on the map? Good luck! You have 2 minutes to do it correctly or hang your head in shame as you receive a message saying, "You have FAILED the third grade!" A great refresher in U.S. geography and fun, too! 

    Beware...it's a little addictive! Click here to access the site.

    Professor Garfield

    I suppose stranger things have happened...but apparently Garfield, the loveable, lazy cartoon cat from the imagination of Jim Davis, has traded in his tray of lasagna for a diploma. With the help of Davis, Garfield is now "Professor Garfield" and has an educational site that focuses on Reading and Phonics. Intended for children of all ages, Professor Garfield's "Infinite Learning Lab" is brimming with all sorts of fun, engaging, and stimulating activities that are sure to get your child excited about learning. A tried, trued, and most importantly, kid-approved site! 

    Click here to visit Professor Garfield!

    Safe and Fun Game Site

    Kids are always searching for new activities and games to play on the internet. A safe and fun site I use whenever my students earn free time is called Squiggly's Playhouse.  

    This site offers a multitude of games and activities for your child to enjoy. Squiggly's also breaks each game down into categories to help your child find exactly what they're looking for. Have some fun and click here!

    Sheppard Software

    Wait...Is it software or a site? I asked myself that as I came across the name, but I can assure you it is a website. A fun, educational, and FREE site, Sheppard Software even made CNN's "Fun Site of the Week." Uuber-cool with stunning graphics and activities, this site is sure to delight children and adults of all ages. So what are you waiting for? Click here and check it out!

    Spell like a Champion!

    I need to give credit where credit is due...Mr. Zakes found and passed along this particular site to all of the ITs in the district. It was such a good site recommendation that I had to pass along to you! This site originates from another site called: http://www.makeuseof.com/. This particular site listed the top 10 sites to help kids become better spellers. I've personally tried each spelling activity and I can report that they are marvelous, engaging and helped me freshen up my spelling skills. On that same note, when you're finished checking out these spelling sites, I would highly recommend checking out the above site (http://www.makeuseof.com/) for additional sites of interest!

     Until then, click here to check out some great spelling games!


    Starfall is a remarkable site that is geared towards children that are just starting to learn how to read. The site introduces letters and their sounds, phonics, sight words, you name it. It also has short stories that emphasize the short and long vowel sounds. Other interactive activities also accompany this teacher-approved site. Have your tike click here


    "Storybirds are short, visual stories that you make with family and friends to share
    and (soon) print." 

    Here’s a remarkable and fun site that allows users to apply their creative imagination to develop short stories. First, browse the illustrator's gallery and select which pictures you want in your “storybird.” Then, start your storybird by adding words. The rest, as they say, is history. You'll be on your way to authoring short stories with the help of some very talented illustrators in no time! 

    To try this site out for yourself, click here!

    Sumo Paint

    "Release your inner artist and put Pablo Picaso to shame with the finest paint software online" 

    Do you like Microsoft Paint? Then you'll absolutely LOVE Sumo Paint! Imagine...create...design works of art right from your computer.
    *Downloadable versions available. 

    Click here to get your Sumo on!

    The Amazing Food Detective

    Help your child understand the importance of making smart food choices by playing "The Amazing Food Detective." This interactive site calls for all "junior food detectives" as there has been an "unhealthy outbreak of unhealthy eating habits." Kids will receive "evidence" and even travel to the crime scene where they will have to make some important decisions to help the victims of unhealthy habits make smarter choices. A very unique and educational site, "The Amazing Food Detective" is more than a game...it's a life lesson!  

    Grab your magnifying glass and click here!

    To Infinity and BEYOND!

    NASA has an official site just for kids! Broken down by age and grade, NASA offers some very cool space-related activities and games for your little space cadet! Click here to blast off!

    Type Like a PRO!

    Students not only learn the most current technological applications during their IT time, but they also learn how to TYPE!!! I feel that typing is an extremely beneficial and valuable skill to possess that will assist students in years to come. Students begin by learning the basics: Homerow finger placement, the homerow keys, and correct posture. Each level introduces two new letters and eventually basic punctuation marks and the shift keys. This is a "tried and trued", kid-approved site that will have everyone typing like a pro! Click here to access this great site!

    Walk Like an Egyptian...to the Food Pyramid!

    To help promote a healthy and active lifestyle, the USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture) has developed a website that provides kids and adults alike with guidelines to assist them in making healthy choices. They have taken all the guess work out of how to keep you feeling your best by providing tips, ideas, meals, and activity plans to ensure you're getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients on a daily basis. In additional to a boat load of information, the site also provides educational materials, posters, and even some fun games!! The link below will take you directly to the kids page of the website, but please be advised that there all sorts of additional links and information on the page.  

    Click here to venture on over to the food pyramid!!

    What's an "Idiom?" Find out here!

    Finally! A site that explains all those idioms! Arranged alphabetically, this site has taken the guess work out of all the slang phrases you hear on a daily basis. Great for kids with idiom-related homework or projects.  

    Click here

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