Do Rae Me Fa So La Ti Do!

Mommymadememashmym&m’s, mommyma….. Can you hear the music ringing in your ears? That’s the Chickering Chorus! Chorus is a program we have at our school. We sing songs that are so cool like “Cantar!”, “Symphony of the Heart”, and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. “Cantar” is in Spanish. It is so fun! We practice at 7:30 in the morning and if you come before 7:30 you get a blue ticket, which was an idea of a 5th grade student. To reward us for our attendance, Ms Pappas gives us a bead, (blue, white or black) for each time we come, which we add to our necklace. A couple of times a year, she will recognize the students with perfect attendance with a gold bead.

Students singing at their annual winter concert.We asked Ms Pappas a few questions about what she thinks about chorus. One question was what is the process of picking the music? She told us that she takes the whole summer to choose the songs. The songs that “stick in her head” on the first day of school are the ones she chooses. We asked what do you like about teaching chorus? She loves the people and think chorus is a great thing and every single person that does it is a great person. Chorus is fun and musical and we love Ms Pappas so much and we thank her for all her time.

The Chickering Reporters interviewed two kids from third, fourth, and fifth grade and learned some of their opinions about chorus.  We asked three questions from each grade and these are some of their answers.  The third graders first question was what is your favorite part of chorus?  Some said they liked listening to Ms Pappas tell her jokes because they made the them laugh and the reviewing the songs because you get to sing with our friends and it is fun.  We asked the third graders what is your favorite song?   “Stopping by Woods On a Snowy Evening” because it has a high pitch; another is “Cantar” because it is in a different language (Spanish).  The final question we asked do you like to perform in concerts?  The overall response from the third graders was “Yes” because they like to perform in front of people.

We asked the forth graders, What’s your favorite part of chorus? Most fourth graders replied that they like being with their friends.  What is your favorite song? The students said that “Cantar” because it is cool, loud and funky. Finally, we asked do you think that other grades should be able to do chorus? Students said yes but not younger than second graders.

What is your favorite part of chorus? we asked the fifth grade students. They said they like getting to sing songs with Ms Pappas. What is your favorite song? The one said “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” because he has a violin part in it. Another said, “Symphony of the Heart” because she likes the piano music. We asked, do you think we should have a choice of songs? The answers were mixed, “No” because Ms Pappas knows what songs are written at an appropriate key for students to sing. Another said, “Yes” because sometimes Ms Pappas picks songs that we don’t really know so maybe we could pick one that we know instead. We thank the students for giving us their thoughts about chorus.

Even though 7:30 in the morning is early, all the students, who participate, love singing together with Ms Pappas.

Reported by Abby and Sarah

Brilliant Brassica Fast Plants


Do you have a green thumb? Well we know a terrific plant that germinates in 24 hours! Its name is Brassica Fast Plant.

In fourth grade, one of our science units is Plants, taught by Mrs. Haggett. What  better way to learn about the life cycle of plants than to grow them! We were each given a square styrophone container which was divide into quarters. Into each section we filled it 1/2 full with soil. Then we added a layer of fertilizer followed by more soil. Mrs. Haggett gave each student eight Brassica Fast Plant seeds, two for each section.

Normally when you plant seeds you would water them. Specialized table with grow lamp containing Brassica Fast Plants with flowers about 18-20 inches tall.Mrs. Haggett has a nifty way to keep our plants hydrated. She has a shoebox-size, plastic container with a cloth stretched across the container. There is a corner of the cloth hanging into the water and the entire cloth absorbs the water. There are small holes in the bottom of each of the plant containers, which allows the water to be absorbed by the soil, which, in turn, hydrates the plants.

I bet you’re wondering how the plants grow?  Well, here’s how the plants get light without putting them near the windows.  Mrs. Haggett hooks up a lamp above the plants.  As the plants get taller, she hooks the lamp up higher so the plants won’t hit the lamp. Sunlight is really important to help plants grow because it it is required for photosynthesis.  The plant’s leaves absorb the light and turns the light energy into sugars for nutrition.  When the plants are small they only have leaves on them.  When they grow,  they have leaves and buds.  As the plants grow , they get really tall. They have lots of leaves, buds, and pistols.  The pistols hold the seeds for the plant.  That’s how the plants grow.

The fourth grade students like this science unit. Some of their comments are “I like it because it is fun to watch the plants grow”, ” you can see your plant closely, you can investigate your plant”, and ” you can see the roots coming out of the bottom of the container and see how tall they can get”. We have enjoyed growing the Brassica Fast Plants while learning about the life cycle of plants.

Brassica Fast Plants were developed by Dr. Paul Williams, a professor at the University of Wisconsin. Dr.  Williams was studying a disease that affects Dr. Williams holding a tray of Brassica Fast Plants in bloom. cabbages.  In order to study this disease, he needed a plant that had a short life cycle.  It took him 15 years to develop the Brassica fast plant.  Mrs. Haggett said this plant is perfect to teach children the life cycle of plants in a short amount of time.

We asked our teacher, Mrs. Haggett, why she likes teaching this unit. She likes that students can see the stages of plants growth from seed to seed. Just as real scientists observe and draw what they see, so do her students. She wants the students to understand how plants relate to animals, soil and energy. She likes how students get to do hands on activities like growing their own plants.

The fourth grade botanists enjoyed being scientists as they learned about the life cycle of plants while studying their Brassica Fast Plants. To learn more about Dr. Williams and the Brassica Fast Plants you can visit the following site: .


Reported by: Amy, Martin, and Sophia

Image of Dr. Williams from  Wisconsin Fast Plants website accessed: 3 February 2012