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David Ziskin

Superintendent of Schools

25 High Street

Fort Plain, NY 13339





Harry Hoag Elementary teacher plans hands-on activities

Hands-on activities.

That’s what Harry Hoag Elementary social studies teacher Cheryl Toomey tries to incorporate into her lessons. And after just a few weeks of school, she’s done just that. Hands on

If you go into her classroom, you’ll see a bevy of maps of the United States. But they’re not just any maps. Mrs. Toomey charged her fifth grade students with creating physical maps of the country using shell macaroni. Many of the maps have painted macaroni on them to show the Rocky Mountains and other landforms.
“It’s not always easy to make a hands-on activity, but I like to have the kids interested in what they’re doing, so I look for ways to involve them,” she said. “Active participation without always being lectured too helps a lot.”

For her sixth grade students, Mrs. Toomey created an archeological project. She brought in physical artifacts and instructed her students to figure out what they were and what they were used for. She then created an activity where the students pretended the year was 3012 and they had to excavate a site in Fort Plain.

“I made them create a poster and detail what they found,” she said. “Students ‘excavated’ a playground, a Nice ‘n Easy, and Ponderosa.”
And since the students don’t have a computer class this year, Mrs. Toomey tied-in basic computer skills with the lesson.

“To make the posters, the students had to make a table in Microsoft Word,” she said. “They couldn’t make the posters the right size unless they learned to make a table.”