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
< http://inhabitat.com/aarambhs-20-cent-cardboard-desk-drastically-improves-life-for-indian-school-children-video/ 13 March 2015 >

Fit and Lit … ever heard of it?

multi colored plastic sneaker charmsDo you exercise your whole body? We have a tradition at our school that encourages us to exercise our mind and body. For 6-weeks each year we count the number of minutes we read and exercise each day. After we’ve done 10 hours of reading or exercising we receive either a book charm or a sneaker charm. This is our ninth year and some students’ necklaces are very full. Each year, one class in each grade level, with the most number of total minutes receives a trophy and each student in that class receives a trophy charm.

To kick-off Fit and Lit we have an assembly. First, we have a slideshow of students exercising and reading around our school. This year the music for the slideshow was “What does fox say?” and “Chickering Rocks!” our new school song. In P.E. class, we learned some dances and during the assembly we danced one of our new line dances (representing the Fit aspect). Our librarian, Mrs. Chase dressed up as Tacky the Penguin and read the story, Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester (representing the Lit aspect). These activities demonstrated two ways we can count minutes for exercising and reading. It was great to move and listen to a story instead of just sitting during the whole assembly.

Each Friday, we hand in the completed logs of 600 minutes of either Fit and/or Lit. When we come in on Monday, we have our charms: sneaker for Fit, book for Lit. On the last Friday, we celebrate Fit and Lit with “Read Your Heart Out Day”. It is a fun day where we spend the day reading with our friends in the school. Sometimes we have a guest reader and/or read with a younger class. An added bonus is that we wear pajamas and slippers to school. We can also bring pillows and a blanket. It is one of our favorite days of school.

To wrap up Fit and Lit, we had an assembly to celebrate all the minutes we read and exercised. The slideshow was different this time it showed “Read Your Heart Out Day” and Winter Olympic events in P.E classes. The music was the Olympic Theme Song and the Chickering School Song. The librarian again dressed up as Tacky the Penguin and read Tacky and the Winter Olympics in honor of the winter games held at school and in Sochi, Russia.Small blue sneaker on a book with a blue banner saying " 2012 Fit and Lit Grade 4 Winner" Trophies and classroom charms were presented to each of the 6 grade level winners.

Kindergarten: Mrs. Disch 84,000 minutes
Grade 1: Ms Cronin 77,310 minutes
Grade 2: Mrs. Moran 75,150 minutes
Grade 3: Mrs. Bedell-Healy 51,000 minutes
Grade 4: Mr. Keohane 94,770 minutes
Grade 5: Mr. Wadness 65,220 minutes

The entire school celebrated reading and exercising 1,477,800 minutes! WOW!

We were curious about what some of the fifth graders thought about Fit and Lit. So we asked several students how many charms they had earned. Three students lost or misplaced their charms,1 has 20, 2 have 30 charms, 1 has 36, and 1 has 25 Fit and 30 Lit, for a total of 55 charms. Four students said it was easier to earn Fit charms than Lit and 2 shared the opposite. Several have lost their charm necklaces, one keeps their necklace in a drawer next to their bed, another hangs her necklace on the corner of a mirror, and 2 keep theirs in a shirt drawer or sock drawer. We wondered what is their favorite part of Fit and Lit. Two like to challenge themselves to see how many minutes they can exercise and read and a couple like to see how many minutes they can earn for Fit. 1 likes Read Your Heart Out Day”, 1 likes seeing how many minutes in all they can earn, 1 likes to see who won in each of the grades, 1 likes both the exercising and reading, 2 students like the Fit component greatest, and another 1 likes all the assemblies. The last question we asked was were there any changes they would like to see in the program and most said “No.” 1 wants it to be longer than 6-weeks and 1 wants it to be shorter for the younger kids. It’s clear the students love the fantastic Fit & Lit program.

We chatted with our new P.E. teacher about Fit & Lit. Mrs. Hayes likes how it multi colored plastic book charmsencourages everyone to keep track of their minutes so you know whether to read or exercise more. Reading, she discovered was an area that she needed to spend more time on. Now that you know about Fit & Lit you might want to consider joining us next year to exercise your whole mind and body.

Reported by Tommy, Ben, and Sam