U.S. Rockin’ Regions

We wanted to try our hands at using the library’s new green screen and lights, so we offered to create an introduction video for our 4th teachers to use in their classrooms. We used the iPad app, Green Screen by Do Ink, and it was pretty easy.

We hope you like our first attempt using a green screen for a video production.

Created and produced by: Liam, Ollie and Margaret B.


A Field Trip to the Tsongas Museum

A picture of Wes, our guide at the Tsongas Museum.On our field trip to Tsongas Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, we had a guide named Wes. He was a very nice person.  The day was rainy and cold, but everyone was excited to be in Lowell.

The first location at the Museum was where  the Mill Girls lived. They slept in the same bed and they had a housekeeper and one of the keeper’s names was Mrs. Matthews. In the Mill Girls' Boarding House - an example of a typical dining room.A display of all the food prepared for each of their 3 meals was displayed on a wall. The Mill Girls woke each morning, very early, to bells from the mill and returned home at the end of a very long day, 14 hours or more. The girls own room had one fireplace, some windows, and some candles. It was very dark in there.

Next we walked, in the rain, to the place where they worked; it was very loud! They used mill machines that were every old looking. The Mill Girls worked fourteen hours+ a day, on one of five floors, with one hundred machines per floor. That’s a lot of noise! Did you know that the machines were so loud that over time the mill workers would often experience severe hearing loss?  Also, you could hear all the mills’ machines from up to five miles away.

Picture of 4 student selectmen at our mock town meeting regarding schooling for the Irish immigrant children.Our third experience was to participate in a Town Meeting. Should the Irish children have a school, was the focus of our town meeting. We dressed up as citizens of Lowell and we were all provided a name and a job of a real person from 1841.  We had a choice of either to provide Irish children with a school or to continue the practice of not providing education to them.  There were four selectmen.  Half of the class voted for the Irish children have their own school and the other half of the class said the Irish children shouldn’t have there own school. But then we figured out that girls/women could not vote, so that changed the whole subject and the new vote was to not provide a school for the Irish children. Although in, 1841, the Lowell citizens did vote to provide a school for the Irish youth.

Our last experience, was to be ‘immigrants’. We dressed up as immigrants from different countries.  Articles, a Greek immigrant may brought with them when immigrating to the United States.We had to get tickets from our teacher, who was also dressed up as the person who tells you where to go for processing, and we sat in a line on the floor by country. We waited for our guide to show us what to do next. There were bags full of things that immigrants and their family would bring with them like dolls, pots and pans, crosses, bibles, and clothes, based upon their country of origin. We talked together, within our group to decide why it was brought and how each item was used. We displayed the items, for other students, to see the types of objects people would bring from different countries.

Below is our brief interview with Mrs. Atkinson and Mrs. Shammas about bringing students on field trips, specifically to the Tsongas Museum.


Reported by: Schuyler, Thanos and Vanya

A Bodacious Band

“Let’s play Chaton Canon again from measure 52,” Mrs. Barry said, as the band Mrs. Barry Conducting Chanton Canon, a song 4th grade band plays.began playing Chanton Canon on her command. All the band students were on the stage, and Mrs. Barry was on her conductor podium, purposefully waving her baton. This was the one of the group practices of band before Arts Nights. The whole cafeteria was practically vibrating with music.

We wanted to find out more about the band at Chickering School. We had a fascinating chat with Mrs. Barry, and we also interviewed some band students, to learn information about homework, music, and the instruments.

We thought it would be nice to know why Mrs.Barry wanted to do her job. Why did she chose to be a band teacher? She wanted “to follow in my mom’s footsteps.” Her mom was a music teacher.  It can also be hard for a teacher, teaching a band. “What is the most challenging thing about being a band teacher?” we asked.  “There are many different instruments, all instruments are different and I have to help them all. It is tricky to teach different instruments,” she said.

4th grade band practicing on the stage in the cafeteria.We were curious to know what instruments the fourth grade students could play. Mrs. Barry shared, the flute, trombone, alto sax, trumpet, baritone, percussion and the oboe bassoon are all the instruments 4th graders may choose from. “The instruments that 5th graders play are easier when you have played the 4th grade instruments,” responded Mrs. Barry. We wondered what the students’ homework was like. They use a website, called SmartMusic. It can be used on an iPad or a computer. These devices record their playing and the software grades them and tells them how they did. One student said, “it is very stressful” and two others shared, “It can be frustrating when the technology glitches.”

We wanted to find out why the students decided to play band. Did they have other music experience?  We interviewed 6 students, Mrs. Barry conducting the 4th grade band.and we asked each of them why did they choose band. The six students were Jade, Erica, Abby D., Meredith, Grant, and Antonio. Antonio and Grant stated that they thought it would be fun to be able to learn and play an instrument. Neither of them had played an instrument before, except for learning the recorder in 3rd grade, which was part of the curriculum. Meredith wanted to contribute to the band, knowing she will be part of a team. Abby had never learned an instrument before, and saw the chance of knowing what it was like by joining the 4th grade band. Erica noted that she had played the recorder in 3rd grade like everyone else, but she wanted to learn another instrument. Jade already played the piano, and she knew from experience that learning a new instrument was cool and exciting, while she didn’t know what being reporter was like, which was the other option.

Everyone choose band for a different reason, but now we are left with another question. What instrument did they choose, why did they choose that instrument, and is that instrument hard to play? Jade and Abby plays the clarinet. Image showing the clarinet and percussion sections of the band. Jade thinks that the clarinet is hard to assemble, and that after a while, she runs out of air so it is hard to make a sound. Abby doesn’t really think that the instrument is really hard. Grant plays the trumpet, and he explained that the trumpet is a low instrument, and so it is hard to play high notes. Antonio plays the trombone, and he choose the instrument because it look fun to play. He also noted that it is not hard to play. Meredith plays the saxophone. “Because it was similar to the recorder,” Meredith said  “It is not hard to play.” Erica plays the flute, because her grandmother had also played the flute, and so she followed her grandmother’s footsteps. She said that at first, it was hard to get your mouth into the right position, but later, it became easier.

We wanted to learn about the band student’s favorite piece, and genre of music. Everyone answered Chanton Canon,  and Let’s Go Band, which will be played at Art’s Night. Most people liked Pop music, and a couple liked Country music.

We learned so much about the band. As reporters, we didn’t know anything about band, and what it was like to be playing an instrument in a group. Mrs. Barry seated, talking to the 4th grade band students.It was also fun to watch the team play together, practicing for Art’s Night. We had wondered what it was like to be in band, and by interviewing some band students, we were able to find out some ideas about what band students thought about band.


Reported by: Valentina, Makenna and Alexander R.


Fabulous 5th Grade Jazz Band

5th grade jazz band performing in the cafeteria.We were hearing music all around the school. We wondered what it was. We  listened to the beautiful sounds of the trumpets, piano and drums and even more instruments. We decided to investigate where the sound was coming from and discovered it was Mrs. Berry and the Jazz Band! We thought we would interview Mrs. Barry to learn more

We wondered why Chickering School has a Jazz Band. She shared, “I wanted to allow 5th grade kids who wanted to have more of a musical challenge and to improvise, to play that style of music.” Mrs. Barry wanted the students to be prepared for 6th grade if they wanted to play for the Jazz Band, called the Eclipse.

We have been hearing all the instruments together. Picture highlighting the instruments played in the Jazz band.But, we couldn’t tell what instruments they were playing. So we asked Mrs. Barry what instruments they played. She shared,  “All the instruments in the regular band, from flutes all the way down to trombones and everything in between. We also get to add, guitar, piano and drum set.”

Then we wandered how Mrs. Barry got all the instruments for Jazz band. She quoted “Well, Luckily I didn’t have to buy anything; a lot of it was already here. Before I came to Chickering we already had a great drum set. All the other instruments the kids either the kids provide them or rent them, Yeah, so luckily we don’t have to buy anything.”

We wondered how many students were in the Jazz Band.  She shared, “I’d say we have about twenty-five kids in the Jazz Band.”

Who plays in the Jazz Band and is there a limit to the number kids who may play in the Jazz Band? She answered “We have only fifth graders and there’s really no limit, I keep it open. It’s not an audition group, it’s for anybody who wants to do it. It is a little challenge because we meet before school, unfortunately some students that it might just be a little tricky for them to get here but we try to work out a carpool if we need but there’s really no limit.” 

We wondered how Mrs. Barry decides what music to play in the Jazz Band. She relayed, “Well, I like to pick a Rock piece or, of course, a Jazz piece, so one that is fun to play has more syncopated rhythms but ones that I know that the students can play because this music is more challenging and I want to be sure I don’t pick something that is too hard for them to be able to do. Sometimes I have to adjust a little bit depending on what I pick.”

We wanted to know if she played in a Jazz Band when she was a student.  She said “I did play in a Jazz Band when I was in Middle School and when I was in High School. And I played piano.”

What was her favorite piece of music. She shared, “I remember playing Twenty-Five or Six to Four by Chicago that was one we really liked to play. And there was another one named, Weekend in Monaco and we played that at the high school and that was a really fun piece.”

When we left school, we thought the music was so good. We could listen to it again, a thousand times over and over!!!


Will you trade me a pound of butter for a pound of sugar? Bartering was a common means of purchasing and selling items during the Colonial time period. The colonists had currency but most bartered. Eight years ago Chickering began Barter Day to help 5th graders learn more about Colonial times.

We talked to Mr. Wadness, a 5th grade teacher, to learn more about Barter Day. He shared, “Barter Day is a day in which students have to make something that other students want. And why we do that is because, it’s just like when Colonists came to America and there was no monetary system. Some Colonist in their home might need food or a piece of furniture. And they didn’t happen to have that so what they had to do was either make something that they could make or if they were farmers they had food that other people wanted but they might not have had furniture. So they would have to trade or barter, that’s what it’s called, it’s a form of money really, a form of exchanging goods that people think of are equal value. You might be able to exchange a bushel of corn for a desk. So that is what bartering is. We practice that so students make something hopefully that other students want so they can get something that they want.”              

Mr. Wadness explained why we have Barter Day. “So the reason why we do it is because it’s a great way for students to have a hands-on experience of bartering. And to experience what it’s like to exchange something without using money; making something and exchanging it for goods. And it allows them to experience what it was like back in the 1700’s.”

Chickering began Barter Day, for 5th graders. “ We have been doing Barter Day for probably about 7-8 years. Once the fifth grade began teaching about the Colonies, and that part of US history; we thought Barter Day would be a great way for students to experience bartering. The same way they did many years ago, as a form of exchange of goods,” informed Mr. Wadness.

We were curious to know what the most unusual item he has ever seen brought in for Barter Day. He shared, “Wow! … when duct tape things were in vogue, the first year, duct tape wallets and duct tape items were so cool.  Even things on pencils. I still have a pen flower that some student made with duct tape at the end and it was like a tulip and I thought that was actually pretty cool. I knew it took them a long time to make some of those wallets. Um, some people made some real [pet] rocks and decorated them. And they really made them so cool a lot of kids wanted them and I think in my last year’s class, a student made 5 pillows and really did great needlework on them and everyone wanted them but there was only 5 of them so not everybody could have one. So she had to be really thinking about what she wanted because she only had 5 items, the girl who made the pillows. But I thought those were some of the neater things people might have made.”

What was the most popular item for Barter Day?

The most popular item for Barter Day, in past years, Mr. Wadness explained, “ … are definitely small or handmade things. Someone made candle holders, and actually bought candles to put in them. Again, once the duct tape wallets because popular, almost every year someone made some items utilizing duct tape. Beading or bead work, there are some people who enjoy making necklaces and wrist bracelets out of beads. Another thing people made were bookmarks, some made them out of paper, some made them out of duct tape; those were really popular items. Almost every year some, people sew things together to make creatures or small pillow or even balls and out of stuffing that they made themselves. Some people, of course, do bring in some food. But we try to discourage the food aspect because if everyone did that there would not be much bartering. So we really don’t want them to bring in too much food items, even if they made that themselves.”

It wasn’t surprising that almost all of the students in our class liked Barter Day. Several students thought that Barter Day really brought Colonial times to life. Pie Chart showing 89.5% like Barter Day.A couple students thought it was fun to see what people made and traded. Others thought it was fun to see all the different ideas for items to be traded. People especially enjoyed trading for objects others made. A lot of people thought it was simply fun and creative as well as exciting to experience something new. A couple of students didn’t like Barter Day because they weren’t able to trade for what they wanted or were absent.  

Everyone had amazing creative items to bring in that they thought a lot about; what would be successful for Barter Day. Lots of students thought sewn articles or stress balls were going to be popular, and others thought baked goods would be key. Everyone who brought in baked goods thought they would be really popular, like delicious brownies, Panda cupcakes and Rice krispie treats. Other people brought in things like, things made of fleece like blankets which were very popular and pillows and some other things. There were amazing crafts such as fake brains, cards, Perler beads, Morph Cups and 3 people made stress balls out of balloons. Overall, the students had really imaginative items for Barter Day.
It was interesting to see and experience  how Colonists used bartering as a means currency of during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Reported by: Paige, Bella and Ashley

Geniuses In Fourth Grade

In our classroom with Mrs. Grady, we have Genius Hour. We wondered why she has it in her fourth grade classroom. Mrs. Grady loves kids being excited about learning and when she heard about Genius Hour two summers ago she thought it was a great idea. Genius Hour was an idea started by Google. It gave 20% of their employees’ work time to do whatever they were passionate about, which would lead to a product that would benefit the company. Mrs. Grady introduced Genius Hour last year to her class and they researched one question they were passionate about. This year we have done Genius Hour all year and will have completed 3 “Passion Projects.”

We created a survey to query what the students thoughts about Genius Hour in our classroom. All the students in our class took the survey except one who was absent. The first question we asked was if they liked Genius Hour.

Pie Chart showing 100% of the students surveyed in Mrs. Grady's class like Genius Hour.

Clearly, Genius Hour is a favorite in Mrs. Grady’s class! We were curious to know why they liked Genius Hour.

Pie Chart showing the reasons why Mrs. Grady's class like Genius Hour: topics of interest, fun learning, sharing interests, follow passions, learning!

We asked our class what was their favorite Genius Hour project and why. “How is NASA Preparing for the Mission to Mars” was a project by one of Mrs. Grady’s students. He picked the topic, “Because I love learning about space and this is the chance to do it.” The Battle of Gettysburg was another favorite of a student. He picked the topic, “because his cousins went to Gettysburg College and he wondered about the battle of Gettysburg.” A third student shared,  “Why are Starfish Becoming Extinct? She wrote, ”Because I learned the most information during the process of making it.” It seems clear from these few statements, that the students adore Genius Hour because they can follow their passions.

The survey queried whether other teachers should do Genius Hour. Pie chart showing 95.2% thought other teachers should do Genius Hour in their classroom. 4.8% said no.From the chat below you can see that there was a resounding “YES!” The single “No” vote was because the student shared, “I want my class to be the only one doing this special event.”  

The reasons students felt that it should be done is in the chart below.

Pie Chart showing reason to add Genius Hour to your classroom with the four reasons being: learn topics of choice, topics they love, fun, learn skill and fun, and others learn as well.

We asked the students if they wanted to change anything about Genius Hour; four students said YES, and the 17 left said NO!

Pie Chart showing 81% said they would not change anything about Genius House and 19% said would.

In addition they answered why they would like to change it and here are the answers! Lists means Ex. Top 10 list Baseball Cards. Here in Mrs. Grady’s class we base our research off of questions, such as, How is NASA Preparing for the Mission to Mars?, instead of just NASA.

Pie chart showing reasons to change Genius Hour: More time, Research topics not just questions and research lists of things.

One question we asked was “If there was a chance to do one more Genius Hour project what would you do?” One student added “How Stars were Formed” was a topic that intrigued them. Another interesting topic that someone would choose is “When would SWAT Units Respond?” Other ideas are “Exploring the Apple Company” and “Habitats of Meat-eating Plants”. We wonder what projects will be investigated next year in Mrs. Grady’s class.

Genius Hour is a favorite tradition in Mrs. Grady’s fourth grade classroom. Having Genius Hour is a great way to learn something you have never studied before. Other teachers should catch on and provide this experience with their class. To add to that we discovered that 17 people would not like to change anything about Genius Hour but 4 others would disagree about that. Thanks to our friends, Google, who came up with  the idea of Genius Hour. Have fun researching!

Reported by Andrew, Andy, and Alia


Cry Innocent

Tituba the slave is telling stories to two young girls who seem to be scaredIn 1692 girls started to jerk about, scream, kick violently and shake. Puritans believed heavily in God and the devil, so the Puritan villagers started thinking there were witches among them, the devil’s foot soldiers.  On February 28, 1692, Tituba confessed to being a witch and she talked about her witch sisters who traveled in broomsticks. Then people were accused of being witches.  It got out of hand and in 1692, 185 people stood accused, 141 were women and 44 were men. 14 women and 5 men were hung1. You can understand why we wanted to investigate this subject further; especially since we saw a play, called Cry Innocent.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016, a group of actors came to our school to perform a witch trial, which occurred in Salem Village  [known today as Danvers], Massachusetts.  One of the reasons this group, Cry Innocent, chose Mrs. Bishop’s trial, was because she was found guilty of witchcraft. We were able to see reenactment what the first witch trial was like. Below is a list of people who were at the first trial.

  • Bridget Bishop (accused)
  • Colonel John Hathorne  (Mrs bishop’s “lawyer”)
  • John, Sr., Rebecca and William Bly (witness)
  • Reverend John Hale (judge)
  • John Louder (witness)
  • Alice Pickering (witness)
  • Sarah and Samuel Shattuck (witness)
  • Susannah Sheldon (witness)2

It begins in June 1692, Salem Village (the current city of Ipswich). there were many problems in the town and they believe that there were witches among them. Bridget Bishop was believed to be one of these witches. Mrs. Bishop was  accused of injuring multiple people.  Most people accused her of sitting on their stomachs then choking them.  John Sir and Rebecca Bly reported their son getting sicker and sicker every time Mrs. Bishop visited their house. When her son went to Mrs. Bishop’s house, her son showed up with a bloody face.

At one point in the trial, they brought in a confessed witch who  said Mrs. Bishop was a witch and  tried to make her do deeds for the devil. Sarah and Samuel Shattuck had reported that Mrs. Bishop had bewitched one of their pigs, who went crazy and tore up the pen. “Are you sure that pig isn’t your wife?” Goody Bishop fires back. “Silence!” yells Reverend John Hale, banging his mace in the floor. in this scene from the trails one of the afflicted has fallen to the floor. The accused woman standing in front of the judges tries to defend herself. (A mace is a pole with metal on the bottom. It was banged on the floor by a court constable, to signal for everybody to quiet down if they were talking during a trial; the same way a gavel is used today in a courtroom. A mace still exists and is in the Beverly Historical Society Museum in Beverly, Massachusetts.)

One witness, John Louder had a different story, “One night, I was sleeping in my bed and I see some kind of monster climbing over my trees in the orchard. It flew into the window. I tried to grab my sword but It wouldn’t let me. It froze me in place, my arms and legs wouldn’t move no matter how hard I tried to move. It sat on my stomach. I passed out. The next day, I took a walk in my orchard. A lot more apples had fallen that night, and as I walked longer, Mrs. Bishop was whistling and picking apples in her orchard, I thought she seemed too happy.”  

Then they brought in Alice Pickering, a confessed witch, she confessed without a trial, so Mrs Bishop’s was the first trial. Alice accused Mrs Bishop of trying to “recruit” her to do deeds of the devil, and when she said, “No,” Alice said Mrs Bishop tried to bewitch her to do it.

Claims went on and on. They became harder and harder to believe. John Hawthorn (Bridgets “lawyer”) denied the witness’ statements. Despite Mrs. Bishop’s plea “ I am no witch, I am innocent,” that occurred throughout the trial, Mrs. Bishop was hanged June 10, 1692 on “Witch hill” or “Gallows hill.”

Nobody knows for sure how this hysteria started and how it kept going, so we did some “deep digging” in some of Salem Witch Trial resources. We found multiple theories.

Theory #1

The most recent theory that scientists still interested in this mystery discovered that there might have been a fungus called ergot that was being spread through the wheat, it affects people’s  mental states and raises paranoia, it’s highly likely that the people who accused others were hallucinating. 3

Theory #2

A Historian, Richard Trask, believes the trials were caused by “Clinical Hysteria.” Clinical Hysteria is slightly like yawning, one person does it and as soon as you know it everybody’s yawning, but in this case one person starts losing it and everybody’s calling each other a witch. 3

Theory# 3

And Soon more girls(we don’t know why it was only girls) started acting the same one theory is that the girls were copying the behavior in a book called “Memorable provinces” .4

Theory #4

We found, our own theory, that there was a strange “coincidence” was that most of the accused were women with property, if they were imprisoned, the government Would steal their land. Most of the women accused had been wealthy, well-established widdows and it was the perfect chance to accuse them of evildoing and the presence of the devil around them. Lots of the accused women were willful and the town thought they would start problems.

Theorie #5

We think it also could have been seizures, a symptom of Epilepsy.  The reason this theory is last, is because some of the symptoms were different. Seizures were not known about back then. The science encyclopedia by Rosen Publishing Group [2016] states the following:

“In the seventeenth century, people believed that epilepsy was caused by demons, and it was thought to be contagious.”5

One hundred eighty-five people were accused and fourteen people died. In 1752, Salem Village changed its name to Danvers to help eliminate the bad association with the Witch Trials.

Reported by: Sam H. and Aidan C.


1 MacBain, Jenny. The Salem Witch Trials. A Source History Of The Witchcraft   Trials In Salem, Massachusetts. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2003.

2 Cry Innocent. <http://cryinnocentsalem.com/> 9 June 2016.

3 Baker, Jennifer. “A Grain to Blame.” Calliope.  July/August 2011 Volume 21 Number 9. p. 36-38 .

4   Crewe, Sabrina and Uschan,v. Michael. The Salem Witch Trials. Wisconsin: Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2005.

5 Net Industries and The Rosen Publishing Group.

<http://science.jrank.org/pages/cma5hkecsy/Epilepsy-Seizures-Historical-Perspective.html”>Epilepsy and Seizures – A Historical Perspective – Myths and Misconceptions>  11 February

Ball In The House, an A Cappella Band

Ball in the House came to our school on May 11, 2016, to sing for the entire school. They are an A Cappella group, from Boston, Massachusetts, who just use their voices to sing … there are no instruments. They were fabulous! They taught us how to make musical instrument sounds with just our voices. Near the end of their show, they saved time for a few questions from us.

Do you guys like A Cappella?

Yes, they do! They love playing with other Acapella groups and exchange CDs with each other; while traveling they listen to Jazz to Classical, Hip-Hop to Rock. “The human voice is a beautiful thing!”

How did you guys meet?

The band started with Dave and Jon, 15 years ago, and who met each other  since 5th grade. They reconnected together after college, Jon wanted to sing full-time. 2 years ago the band was looking for a Baritone and they found Monty in Washington, DC. They needed a High Tenor, 1 ½ years ago and found Wallace in Jacksonville, FL. 5 months ago, the band needed a Base and found Ben in Rochester, NY.

Do you play songs that other people write or do you write your own?

Over the years we have written over 60 original songs. We also sing other people’s songs, so we do a mix of both.

Do you guys like to travel a lot?

Yes, we like to see different parts of the country. Last month, we drove to South Dakota, it’s maybe the farthest we’ve gone. We’ve also gone to Texas and Miami. We get to see this great country of ours because we sing! We are flying to San Francisco for the National Harmony Sweeps because we won the Boston Regionals.

Is it just the 5 of you or do you have someone else who books your gigs or make travel arrangements?

Just the 5 of us do most of the work, singing, sound set-up, driving and travel, arrangements, and managing the band. We have several agents who handle:

. schools/performing art centers shows

. college shows

. specific types of shows

Most of the work is done by the band.

They left us with this message … “The Arts are wonderful … play instruments, do acting, dancing, and write poetry.… Sing in chorus / play music…. You can play sports AND play music …. Your true friends will support you along your journey!”

Below is our Animoto to provide a glimpse of Ball In The House! They kindly gave us permission to use photos, video clips and audio clips from their performance at school. Thank you, Ball in the House!

Reported by: Luke and Felix

Robots, Illusions, and Speakers

When the 2nd Annual Chickering Science Fair, sponsored by the Dover PTO,  popped up on March 19, 2016, we wanted to have some information on the Science Fair. We decided to have some interviews with the people in the Science Fair; what they did and why they chose to do it.

Student Scientist Displaying A Poster About Speakers.We interviewed a few people, starting with Nevin, a 4th grader. He said “My project was explaining how a microphone and speaker work. I decided to do this project because I was on YouTube watching one of my favorite channels and saw how to make a microphone. I decided to do that and then I thought, why not make a speaker to go with it! The best part of making the project was how I felt happy and satisfied after I completed the project. The most challenging part about my project was probably getting the speaker loud enough to be heard. The next hardest part was that you had to hold the speaker against your ear to hear it. It was really hard until I attached the amplifier.”

Next, we interviewed Evan, a 4th grader and he said “My project was about optical illusions and how your brain sees and collects the information. I decided to do this project because it was the first idea that popped in my mind and I was very interested in how your brain works with your eyes and how the optical illusions just look very cool. The best part of making the project was how your eyes would see something but your brain would change it to something different. The most challenging part was when I was choosing the illusions.”

Lastly, we interviewed Elaine, a first grader, and she said “my project was about what foods animals eat. I decided to do this project because first of all, I like animals. The other reason is that I am interested in how animals eat. The best part of making the project was when I was coloring the pictures. The most challenging part was when I was finding the right color pencils to color the pictures.”

Students in grades PreK-5 presented science projects. Each student was interviewed by a science “Expert.” All the entrants designed amazing work. Even after many days, the science fair is in our memories.

Reported By Nevin & Evan Z.

To Flip or Not to Flip, that is the Question?

 Every other Wednesday at Chickering we have a half-day in which we come to school at a normal time but leave earlier, at 12:15. However, the Dover Sherborn School Districts had their first flipped half-day. On this day we came to school at 11:20 and left at the normal time of 2:57. We sent out a survey to select students and teachers. Twenty-two teachers and 14 students completed the survey, which had the following 2 questions:

  • What did you like or dislike about the day? Why?
  • Should we have another flipped half-day? Why or why not?

We received many different survey results from both students and teachers, and would like to share them with you.

Teacher Response – Liked Flipped Day?
Pie chart showing 54.5% of the teachers didn't like the flipped day and 45.5% did like.







Student Response – Liked Flipped Day?

Pie chart showing 14.3% of the students didn't like the flipped half day and 85.7% did like it.







With regard to whether they liked the flipped half-day or disliked it and why, 27% of the  teachers agreed that the children were unfocused and tired. Half really enjoyed sleeping in. Two teachers had a different perspective about it. They thought the students were much more alert and energetic. 29% of the students had more time in the  morning to get ready for school. However, 2 decided to play video games, but a few “early birds” disliked waiting to go to school. The flipped half-day can also affect parents who work in the morning. It is disruptive for families who can’t acquire childcare on short notice. 14% of the teachers complained about lunch, because on ordinary long days at Chickering, they have a later lunch. 23% teachers liked the A.M. meeting, and 4 people just thought the whole day was confusing. Overall most of the children enjoyed the flipped half-day and only 4 who took the survey disliked it.

Teacher Response – Another Flipped 1/2 Day?

Pie chart showing 59.1% don't want another flipped 1/2 day and 40.9% said yes.







Student Response – Another Flipped 1/2 Day?

Pie chart showing 21.4% said they didn't want another flipped half day and 78.6 said they wanted another one.







The answers to our second question, Should we have another flipped half-day? Why or why not? had some interesting answers. 5 teachers thought the day was too disruptive for children, but 1 one teacher had a different opinion: the teacher thought the students were energetic and ready to learn. 2 students agreed with the teacher about kids being more energetic.They felt that no one was tired, and if you are tired, you can’t learn. 2 students wanted time to do things after school. 4 students say they definitely took the chance to sleep in. One student said they did not like to wait to go to school. So, in many different ways, teachers and students agreed and disagreed on whether we should have another flipped half day.

As you have hopefully seen, both students and teachers have given similar and different answers. Such as, 4 students liked to have more time in the morning, but there were some early birds who disliked the waiting! The survey brought out some answers none of us expected. What was your opinion on the flipped half-day?  

Reported by Amanda, Brendan, and Esme

Update: The Dover Sherborn School Districts have decided to have another flipped ½ day next spring, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. The difference next year, only the Dover Sherborn Regional Schools will follow this schedule. The two elementary schools, Chickering and Pine Hill will both have a full-day of school. The flipped ½ day was determined to not be beneficial for the elementary students and their families.