Tag Archives: Plank North Elementary

House of Hamill brings Irish music to Plank North

9 Nov

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Students at Plank Road North Elementary School were bouncing to an Irish beat on Wednesday as Rose Baldino and Brian Buchanan of the House of Hamill, a Philadelphia-based folk/Irish/rock group, spent the day conducting Irish music workshops.

Toe-tapping music filled the school all day as the musicians discussed different facets of Irish music, including the difference between a violin and a fiddle, and how to tell a jig from a reel.

Brian and Rose not only shared their exceptional musical talents with the students, but also an important lesson on perseverance, especially for anyone struggling to learn an instrument.

When he started playing the violin, Brian remembered, “I was terrible for a very long time. It sounds bad at first. It’s hard to make it sound good, but little by little you start getting better.”

At the end of each lesson, the musicians opened up the floor to questions. A lot of hands shot up, and a lot of the “questions” were more like very important (to a grade-schooler, anyway) informational-sharing statements (“My cat is named Pete!”). But several clearly showed the students had been listening, and were very engaged and entertained.  And when Brian and Rose challenged them to distinguish between a jig and a reel, they were pretty much spot-on.

Brian and Rose are visiting Plank North again today for more workshops, and will conclude their visit this afternoon with a school-wide concert.  Tonight, they’ll travel to Lovin’ Cup near the RIT campus, where they’ll perform from 8 to 11:00 p.m. Click here to see more information about that.

House of Hamill

Brian and Rose teach fourth graders the tempo difference between a jig and a reel as Plank North music teacher Sarah Rosenberry helps the students count out the beat. (Provided)

 

Below is a short clip of House of Hall playing for the students. Click here to see the video.

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Click here to see a short clip of Brian and Rose playing for Plank North students. 

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Completed U.S. map will delight Plank North students

30 Aug

class and map

In honor of the first day of school (at least for me, anyway), I offer this photo.

Those of you who read my East Extra column may remember a story I wrote in June, about Plank Road North Elementary School kindergarten teacher Peggy Garritano, and her efforts to revitalize the big United States map painted on the playground outside her classroom window.

The last photo I took of the map, which you see above, shows the map after Garritano had finished painting all of the states. But it still needed some final touches.

On Monday I happened by the school and saw the finished product, complete with its bright white state outlines. It’s a thing of beauty, and will be a welcome sight for the students when they come back on Tuesday.

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Summer cuteness

20 Aug

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In my continuing series of kids having summer fun without the aid of electronics, I submit this super-cute photo.

It was taken Saturday at Webster’s Joe Obbie’s Farmer’s Market, during the market’s annual Back-to-School Day. Children who attended were treated to balloon animals and school-supply gift bags, and could sit in the driver’s seat of a Webster Fire Department truck.

Here are two of those happy children, Grace and Paxton, who even got to try on some real firefighter gear. They’re pictured here with Webster firefighter Sarah Rosenberry, who also happens to be the kids’ music teacher at Plank North Elementary School.

Summer’s not over yet! Please make sure to send me along a photo or two of YOUR kids having some simple summer fun! 

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Book battle at Plank North

2 Jun
Finalists

Gretchen Pulver, left, with this year’s Plank North Battle of the Books finalists.

Now these are the kinds of battles you WANT to hear about.

Plank North Elementary School just concluded its annual Battle of the Books, a two-month long weekly contest which pits students in each of the school’s fifth grade classes against one another in a challenge which tests the students’ knowledge of literature.

The students divide themselves up into three-or-four person teams and come up with fanciful team names like the “Moolalas,” “The Athletic Dabbers” and the “Undercover Gymnasts.” Then they try to become experts in the eight different books chosen for that year’s competition.

In each of the first three rounds, held during the classes’ normal library time, the teams are asked 16 questions — two from each book. The top scoring team from each class then moved on to the final round.

The entire Plank North fifth grade gathered in the school’s cafeteria Wednesday afternoon to watch the final battle and cheer on the teams — The READ-ATHLONS, Tropical Pineapples, Bookish Bunch and The Page Turners.

It was a tense contest. Gretchen Pulver, the school’s Library Media Specialist and the event’s organizer, said that she has never before seen the final scores so close.

In the end, the READ-ATHLONS came out on top with 49 points, winning the coveted trophy. The Tropical Pineapples and the Bookish Bunch tied for second with 46 points, and the Page Turners came in third with 43 points.

Plank North is just one of many schools in our district which hold this annual event. Kudos to the dedicated librarians who spend so much time organizing the battles and finding such a creative way to encourage our children to read and love books.

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THE READ-ATHLONS

This year’s Battle champions, the READ-ATHLONS. Clockwise from left: Analise Alexander, Alyssa Doody, Bizzie Baglieri, and Leah Marcell.

The U.S. is reborn at Plank North

21 May

united states

If you’ve ever attended — or had children who attended — Plank Road North Elementary School, you’re likely very familiar with the huge United States map painted on the playground near the southwest corner of the school.

Depending on how long ago you were there, you might also remember it as a very colorful representation of our great country, each state sporting a bright prime color.

But that hasn’t been the case for a long time. Over the years, the once vibrant map has faded, the colors almost completely unrecognizable.

Plank North kindergarten teacher Peggy Garritano has decided to do something about that. The map sits outside her classroom window, as it has for the 17 years she’s worked at the school. Apparently she got tired of looking at the faded states, so she’s taken it upon herself to restore the map’s original vibrancy.

For several weeks now, Garritano has been coming around 6:30 a.m. every day — weather permitting — to paint a state or two. And even though she’s doing all of the work, Garritano is still able to use the slowly blooming map to teach her students about the United States.

When I was in their classroom the other day, the kids were excited to tell me about the states that had already been completed (including “Montania,” according to one little boy); why Texas would take a long time to paint and Rhode Island a very short time (“Look how little it is!” said one little girl); and apparently they had already taken issue with how the map shows Alaska and Hawaii so close to the mainland.

I’ll be following the map’s progress, including writing an East Extra column when the project is complete. So stay tuned.

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Plank North welcomes return of former student, now a Marine

5 May
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Plank North Elementary teacher Marcia Napolitano welcomes her former student.

Here’s a heartwarming story that happened at Plank Road North Elementary School this week, when students got an extra special visit from a freshly-minted U.S. Marine.

For the last three months, the students of Marcia Napolitano’s fourth grade class have been following the progress of Jason Ingerson, one of Napolitano’s former students, as he worked his way through Marine Corps recruit training.

Ingerson, who was in Napolitano’s class during the 2006-2007 academic year, first visited his old classroom back in January, just after he signed up with the USMC and just before he shipped off for boot camp. He answered the students’ questions about his decision to enlist and his family’s reactions, and described the challenges he was expecting to face once he reached Parris Island.

While Jason was away, Plank North Principal Craig Bodensteiner — himself a Marine veteran — gave Napolitano’s students a taste of what boot camp is like, running them through physical drills and lessons on saluting and standing at attention. He also demonstrated the kind of verbal abuse a recruit would have to take from the drill instructor (physical education teacher Kevin Sayers got to play the part of the recruit for that demonstration).

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Last Tuesday, Jason Ingerson returned once again to his old Plank North classroom to greet the students who had helped him through 12 of the most difficult weeks of his life. Standing smartly in blue dress uniform at the front of the room, he answered questions once again. But this time he was a United States Marine.

WHAM Channel 13 was on hand for the reunion, and featured the story as their Tuesday evening Bright Spot segment. You can see that video by clicking here.

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Many thanks to Jennifer Calus of the WCSD for her great photographs.

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