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.