Spooky science comes to life for sixth graders

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Dry ice experiments at Fort Plain
Dry ice experiments at Fort Plain

The trick was a treat for the students in Pat Hanifin’s sixth grade science classes on Halloween.

Student filled cylinders with colored tap water and then added dry ice, otherwise known as frozen carbon dioxide, to create creeping fog as part of their “Spooky Science” lesson for the day.

Students learned about handling dry ice safely. Even though the fog created by the ice and water is harmless, dry ice itself cannot be touched by bare skin or eaten. The extremely low temperature will cause frost bite very quickly.

Dry ice may look like the cubes from the freezer at home, but it stands at -109 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dry ice experiments at Fort Plain
Dry ice experiments at Fort Plain

Dry ice doesn’t melt like water cubes either, as the dry ice the students used bubbled into a grey mist when they added it to the colored water. After they added a few drops of dish soap to the “cauldrons” bubbles formed and held the fog in place until the bubbles popped.

The room looked much more like Dr. Frankenstein’s lab instead of Mr. Hanifin’s regular classroom.

Beyond the hands-on experiments, students learned how dry ice is made, its properties and some of its common industrial uses.

Household income disclosure forms available

Household Income Form (Word Doc – Fill out, Print)

Household Income Form (Printable PDF)

Our school participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) under the National School Lunch Program.  Under CEP, all students receive a free breakfast and lunch each day, for the entire school year.

However, to determine eligibility to receive additional benefits, such as assistance with college course and other school program fees, families need to complete a Household Income Form.  This form also helps the school to qualify for special grants and funds.

  • Do I need to fill out a form for each child? No. Use one Household Income Form for all students living in your household.
  • My child(ren) already receive free meals at school, why should I complete this form? Many state and federal programs use household income information to determine eligibility for programs. By completing this form, our school is able to determine eligibility for additional programs that benefit everyone.
  • Who should I include as members of my household? You must include all people living in your household, related or not, who share income and expenses.  You must include yourself and all children living with you.  You do not have to include other people living with you who are financially independent.
  • What if my income is not always the same? List the amount that you normally. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include overtime if you only get it occasionally.
  • What do I do with the form, once it’s complete? Return the form to the main office of either building – by dropping it off, sending it with a student, or mailing. Elementary students may return it to their classroom teacher.

If you have any questions about this Household Income Eligibility Form, please contact Lauri Broady at 518-993-4000 #1003 or lauri.broady@fortplain.org

Sixth grade class raises $233.60 for hurricane relief

The Fort Plain sixth grade class recently finished a fund raiser for the victims of hurricanes in Texas and Florida.

The “Harry Hoag Hurricane Heroes” campaign raised a total of $233.60 by collecting spare change in jars in classrooms throughout the Harry Hoag Elementary School every Monday for weeks.

The money will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Elementary talented, gifted programs coming up

Elementary students with a interests in Math, ELA, community service, or drama can explore each in the new talented and gifted programs at Harry Hoag Elementary School this year.

Each program meets once a month on Thursdays after school.

Information was recently sent home with students in grades 2-6, but if families would like more information they are encouraged to call the main office, (518) 993-4000, ext. #3072.

The programs

“Fun with Math” is for students with an interest in math who are looking for a challenge. Students will focus on mental math skills, and developing speed while working with math facts.

“Challenging Minds” is for students who enjoy puzzles, word games, riddles, reading challenges and spelling.

“Caring Kids” focuses on local public service projects. Students can make placements, bookmarks, and cards for local senior citizens, veterans, and nursing home residents. They also support food pantries and animal shelters with collections and donations.

“Elementary Drama Club” gives students a chance to learn acting skills and try out being in the spotlight. They also learn about script fundamentals, how to select sets and costumes, and behind-the-scenes jobs in the theatre.

Little Free Library set up at Harry Hoag Elementary School

Jackie Kennedy once said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”

Gallup and her class with the new Little Free Library.
Gallup and her class with the new Little Free Library.

Since October is National Book Month, Fort Plain first-grade teacher Kyra Gallup took the first lady’s thought to heart. She and her class put the finishing touches on their own Little Free Library on the Harry Hoag Elementary School playground last Wednesday.

“I started working on it over the summer and my class and I were so excited to go out and stock it full of great books,” Gallup said. “The hope is that the box stays constantly filled with great books and that our children get the chance to be exposed to more books than before.”

The new Little Free Library.
The new Little Free Library.

The concept of a Little Free Library – a free standing outdoor cabinet where books can be taken and left for others free of charge – is an international movement that started in 2009 to give as many people access to books and knowledge as possible. More details about the project are available at littlefreelibrary.org.

“Our Little Free Library has books for every children of all grade levels from preschool up to sixth grade,” Gallup said. “We stocked ours with chapter, nonfiction, story, and joke books.”

Currently, one of Fort Plain’s current first graders, Molly Shults, is working on getting another Little Free Library built in Haslett Park next to Main Street. Shults has even gone before the Fort Plain Village Board to get approval for the project.

“That is just the beginning. You never know what other books might appear,” Gallup said. “We are hoping that there will be even more Little Free Libraries popping up around Fort Plain. Anyone can make one!”

Students helping students: Jr./Sr. High Schoolers pack food for Harry Hoag students

Students in Lisa Petty’s Life Skills class at the Junior/Senior High School pack up bags once a week.

Life Skills students pack bags of food for Harry Hoag students to take home.The seventh graders through seniors aren’t packing up to go on a vacation every Tuesday or Thursday mornings. Instead, they stuff macaroni and cheese, Ramen noodles, oatmeal, granola bars, and fruit snacks into decorated paper bags for selected Harry Hoag Elementary School students to eat over the weekend.

“This is something that we started doing three years ago. It is a small gesture that, we hope, makes a big difference,” Petty said. “These kids love to help others. That is something we all need in our lives.”

The food items are purchased every week by Liberty ARC, the Montgomery County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., which is a statewide advocacy organization serving people with disabilities through 48 member Chapters. After all the food is packed the Life Skills students take it up the road to Harry Hoag to be distributed to elementary students on Fridays.

Life Skills students pack up food for Harry Hoag students.“One of the things I appreciate most about the Fort Plain Central School District is the emphasis we place on supporting our students in and out of the classroom,” said Harry Hoag Elementary School Principal Lauren Chrisman who coordinates which students receive packages. “This program provides children with comfort beyond the school day. From my interactions with students there is a sincere gratitude for these care packages.  Healthy students are happy learners and we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to help our students in this way.”

The Life Skills class is planning a roast beef dinner fundraiser at the Canajoharie-Fort Plain Elk Lodge on Thursday, November 9 to support the efforts. People are invited to eat in or take out for $10 per adults and $5 per child.

Those interested in helping in anyway with the fundraiser or the food program can contact Petty at lisa.petty@fortplain.org.

“These [older] kids are always looking out for others and that is the kind of thing that really makes this all worthwhile,” Petty said. “We are all here to help each other.”

Faculty, Staff gather for first Superintendent’s Conference Day of the year

Even though students weren’t in classes, teachers and administrators in the Fort Plain Central School District still came together for the first Superintendent’s Conference Day of the 2017-18 academic year on October 6.

David Wallace delivers his presentation to Fort Plain faculty.The day was highlighted by a pair of presentations to all Fort Plain teachers and aides about the continuation of the district’s adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) training from David Wallace. Wallace is the Associate Executive Director for Program Development for the LaSalle School in Albany.

“These are the kind of days where we get to go beyond the day-to-day tasks that we have and explore areas that require deeper exploration,” said Fort Plain Superintendent David Ziskin. “Days like this give us a chance to focus our efforts on topics that we might not otherwise have a chance to think about.”

Faculty and administrators in each of the school’s buildings also had breakout sessions. The Junior/Senior High School staff worked on, “Grading Smarter, Not Harder,” to assess the values of what is graded and what those grades mean. While the Harry Hoag Elementary staff had sessions about Close Readers, student management support and motivational tools, and data-driven instruction among other things.

The conference day is one of four scheduled staff development days spread throughout the school year.

“I would like to extend a great, ‘Thank You,’ to our faculty and staff for their attention and participation in all of our activities. These are the kinds of meetings and discussions that will make our schools even stronger than they already are,” Ziskin said. “I would also like to thank David Wallace for coming and speaking with us. I think that some of the perspectives and thoughts he shared will help us in the future to continue to prepare Fort Plain students for success during their time here and after graduation.”