New Second Grade Teachers

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Chickering Student Radio




This year at Chickering School, Mrs. Loughlin moved from 3rd grade to 2nd grade, and Ms Cronin moved from 1st grade to 2nd grade. Please click below to listen to our chat with these teachers.



Reported by: Robert, Sam and Tommy

Learn, Laugh, Care, … and Make a Difference!

Do you like donating to various charities that help all kinds of animals and people? That is exactly what Chickering School is doing this year for the first time. The fifth grade students at Chickering vote to choose the charities that the school will donate to, and the rest of the school can donate (optional) in exchange to be part of a fun activity! Our first day of donating was titled: “Crazy Hat Day!”. A poster to promote Wacky Wednesday with a drawing of a small dog because all donations go to the animal shelter.On January 21st, the second fun activity was “Wacky Wednesday”, a day where you could donate one dollar to wear wacky clothes! Each dollar collected goes to the charity selected for the month.  This fantastic new idea is called Make a Difference Day!

This is Chickering’s first year participating in Make a Difference Day. Make a Difference Day is a day where the entire school gets together to help a charity around the world.  We are doing Make a Difference to help make the world a better place, one charity at a time.

How much of a difference do you think a dollar can really make? Not much you assume… Think again! One of the fifth grade classes was reading a TFK (Time for Kids) in the TFK, it talked about a charity called Aarambah, and they wanted to donate to it.

Aarambah is an organization that uses its donations to make help desks. What is a help desk you ask? A Help Desk is a desk that takes 20 cents to make.  Image of elementary student in India using the Cardboard Help Desk.These desks are made out of recycled cardboard and can be converted into a suitcase and backpack. When the kids use these desks it will improve their posture. How? Most kids in India don’t have desks and chairs like we do in here at Chickering. So, in school, they sit on the ground and hunch over their work. With the help desks, it will cause them to sit up and this will improve their posture. Our first Make a Difference Day we donated to the amazing charity…(drum roll)… Aarambah! Clearly, this is a very amazing charity that people all over the world can donate to.

The fifth graders run the Make a Difference program, because they are the student role models and the leaders of Chickering.  Every classroom in the fifth grade is assigned a grade by their teacher and there are groups in that classroom that are assigned a certain class in that grade.   The students talk to their assigned grade and tell them about the charity and the privilege that they will receive if they donate.  It’s great that the other grades are looking forward to donating and making a difference.

A bright neon green poster that reads Neon Day.Without a doubt, Make a Difference Day is a great way to get the community together and help the world!  With three or four more of these days, Chickering is sure to make a big impact! Our next difference day has already been scheduled! It is on March 11th and we get to wear all neon! Chickering is learning, laughing, and making a difference, one charity at a time.

Reported by Liza, Jane, Emily, Lauren

Image of Aarambah Cardboard Desk
< 13 March 2015 >

Wonderful Nonfiction Writer!

Cover of the book: Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart.Have you ever wondered what happens under the snow (Under The Snow)? Have you ever wondered how monkeys enable us to have chocolate (No Monkeys No Chocolate)? Have you ever wondered if all spit is the same (Spit-acular!)?  Then you will love Melissa Stewart’s books! Ms. StewarBook cover of No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart.t came to visit the 4th grade classes on December 15th, 16th and 18th. She met with the whole grade and each class two times in the library.

Melissa Stewart, a Massachusetts author, shared some information about herself and some of her nonfiction books. She writes for all audiences. One Book cover for Spit-acular by Melissa Stewart.of the books she wrote is Spit-tacular, which is a book about humans’ and animal’s spit. She uses great adjectives to describe saliva … “drool, drivel, dribble, slaver, slobber, spittle, sputum, spew, loogie, lungie [and] gob”.

We wondered what influenced her to be an author. She explained, when she was our age, she loved science. When in college, working on a degree in biology, a professor suggested she should be an author.

She has written more than 150 nonfiction books and we were curious as to why she only wrote nonfiction books. “For me, I think there are some authors who love to create stories, make up stories and invent worlds. But for me, I think the real world is just so interesting and so amazing that I try to learn as much as I can and share it with other people. So that is why I write nonfiction books.”

Since she likes writing non-fiction, we wondered if she had a favorite topic to research. She shared the following topics:

  • “all science,
  • animals,
  • plants,
  • outer space, and
  • rocks and minerals.”

“Everything about the writing process,” is what she likes about writing. Her process is to begin with the ideas and the inspiration. Then she thinks about all the possibilities for the book. Next, she works hard to write her vision. Through this stage, she shares her writing with her writing group for comments and suggestions.

We were curious about what she wrote when she was our age. Picture of Melissa Stewart walking in the woods.She shared that she doesn’t remember a lot but in third or fourth grade, she wrote a report about pollution. In sixth grade, she wrote about the human heart. That is all she remembers when she was our age.

We wondered if she had a favorite book, one she didn’t write. She answered, she doesn’t have a favorite book, but she does have a favorite author, Steve Jenkins. She loves his art and his words, as well as the structure of his books.

We really like Melissa Stewart’s books. She doesn’t bore you because she keeps it interesting. She uses different strategies such as, metaphors, creative vocabulary, and entertaining expressions to keep the reader engaged. We learned a lot about the process of writing nonfiction. When you read her books, you can really tell she likes expository writing.  So if you are interested in reading remarkable, sensational, outstanding and spectacular books, you should check one out.

Reported by Luke R., Daniel, Luke B., Felix and Peter

Image of Melissa Stewart
Stewart. Melissa. Melissa Stewart’s Science Clubhouse. “Meet Melissa”. 12 March 2015 < >.

Destination Immigration

Can you imagine the mills, in Lowell Massachusetts, being so loud you can hear them from 5 miles away? These mills ran along the Merrimack River. Making thread and cloth was the purpose of most of the mills. This is the third year the fourth graders have visited the Tsongas Museum in Lowell which is located in the Boot Cotton Mill building.

The looms on one floor of the Boot Cotton Mill. Klunk Ka-Klunk Ka-Klunk Ka-Klunk. Imagine the noise of of hundreds of machines in just one mill, while we heard only 20 looms, which was very loud in the Boot Cotton Mill. One of the many activities was listening to a story about a mill girl who slid off the banister and fell four stories.  Her name was Lizzie Ryan. Nobody really knows the outcome of that terrible accident, but we can infer that if she survived, she was very, very, badly hurt.

Lowell, Massachusetts, was and still is a destination of many immigrants. We were told to pretend we were immigrants at Ellis Island and to make two lines: one boys and one girls. We received passports, which contained our immigrant’s name, date of birth, date we arrived, Immigration activity for students to experience being interviewed as an immigrant at Ellis we were coming from, and reason we emigrated. The immigrant officer, asked us how we said “hello”, our name, where we were coming from and when we came. Following our interview we saw 5 signs which read: “War,” “Family,” “Education,” “Jobs,” and “Famine.” The officer asked the immigrants to gather around the signs that best represented the reason for emigrating. This is how we said ‘Hello’ in our six different languages:

Greece – γεια σας, Ireland – Dia duit, Canada – Quebec  bonjour,

Cambodia – Su os dyey, Colombia – Hola, and Portugal – o’la.

Our strategy to find our fellow emigrants was nice and simple. We said ‘Hello” in our unique language, and together met up at our station with our trunks. The officer gave us instructions to open our trunks; to carefully lift our artifacts out of the trunk; and display them for everyone to see. Each group had very different artifacts. We each had an instrument and some had books. The irish had a doctor’s book and the Cambodians had Cambodian-English dictionary. It was very interesting to see what immigrants had brought to America.

This is a mock 1831 Town Meeting discussing the need of a school for Irish children.In April 1831, Lowell, Massachusetts, was experiencing challenges with the Irish immigrants’ children. A special town meeting was held to address the following proposal:

“That the Irish children should have a school in their own neighborhood and the school should receive money from the town.”

The selectmen were comprised of a priest, 2 shopkeepers, and a mill owner. A lively debate followed among the citizens of Lowell. A school teacher shared, “One day a fight broke out between a Yankee and an Irish child. I think we need a separate school for the Irish.” “I don’t want to lose my workers,” said a mill owner, “a lot would leave to go to school.” Another mill owner expressed, “I would like smarter workers” and was in favor of a new school. Everybody got a chance to stand up and express their opinion. But later we were informed that we had to be eighteen, male, and a US citizen to vote. After we found that out, we took off the votes of the people that weren’t allowed to vote, and the majority ruled that we should build the school. But, in 1831, they didn’t actually build the school immediately.

After the role-play, we took a walk over to the boarding house. The boarding house is where the Mill Girls lived when they worked. We did a scavenger hunt. Everybody had to choose one or two partners and we traveled around the boarding house trying to find rooms or items and describe them with two adjectives.

The different rooms had artifacts, such as tools and dishes in the kitchen. The kitchen had displays of meals (breakfast, dinner and supper) Typical boarding house dining room setup for supper with china and silverware for the Yankee Mill Girls.prepared for the Mill Girls, by the housekeeper, who had a small room off the kitchen. The Mill Girl’s breakfast might include fried codfish, fried hash, fried potato balls, pumpkin mush, toast and butter, apple pie and coffee with brown sugar. Dinner (served at lunch time) was the large meal of the day. They may have eaten, soup with croutons, boiled dinner of corned beef, potatoes, turnips and parsnips with horseradish sauce, pickles, homemade bread, bread pudding, coffee with milk and brown sugar and water. A light meal at supper could be baked beans and pork, homemade rye bread with bacon and cheese, fried potatoes, flap jacks with applesauce, baked indian pudding with cream, plain cake, tea with milk and brown sugar, and water. With only 30 minutes to eat breakfast and dinner, they managed to eat a awful lot of food.

The Mill Girls lives were regulated by bells. The mill bell tower tolled Picture of the bell tower at the Boot Cotton Mill in Lowell, Massachusetts that regulated the Mill Girls tell the girls when to work, when to eat and when to go home. The bells rang at:

4:30 am - wake up
5:00 am - begin work at mill
7:00 am - return to boarding house for breakfast
7:30 am - return to mill
12:00 pm - return to boarding house for dinner
12:30 pm - return to mill
7:30 pm - end of work day

Display of a typical Mill Girl with shopping bags.The Mill Girls returned to the boarding house for supper and had to be in bed at 10:00 pm. They did this 6 days a week and on Sunday’s after attending church, they were free to shop, attend lectures or do whatever they wanted.

A law was past that the Mill Girls could only work 10-hours a day instead of fourteen. On top of that, imagine living in a cramped boarding house, working in a room with hundreds of machines, and working ten-hours a day for years. The Mill Girls were hard working, proud, and educated.

We enjoyed this trip to Lowell. The immigration Image of the park just outside the Tsongas Museum.activity seemed to be especially popular. It was interesting to unpack luggage from other countries. We enjoyed taking pictures in the immigration room of timelines and contents of the bags. We liked the town meeting role play as well; it was fun to pretend and dress-up as citizens of Lowell in 1831 and to discuss a controversial  issue. We also enjoyed exploring the large boarding house. It was interesting to see sample meals from back then and see the Mill Girls’ bedrooms. The fourth graders this year seemed to like the field trip, and maybe you will, too!

Reported by: Paige, Will, Alexis, and Maiya