Meeting the New 4th Graders

Entrance to the Chickering SchoolEvery year many new students enroll at Chickering School. In addition to our new kindergarten students, Chickering also had new students in grades one through five. In fourth grade, which is our grade, we had ten new kids. We thought it would be interesting to know these new students. We asked each of these students a set of questions.

Most of our new students are from Massachusetts. Look down the 4th and 5th grade classrooms' hallway. 5 classrooms of each grade.Two are from New Hampshire, a neighboring state, one is from Texas and another from California. Students move for many different reasons. Four students moved here because one of their parents had a new job close to Dover. Wanting to move to Dover was the wish of the families of four students. Two students didn’t know why they moved.

We were curious to know if they missed anything about their old home. Four didn’t miss their old home. Missing friends was a shared feeling by three students. One of our new students missed their old house because it was larger, another missed their house because it was on a lake, and one missed their bedroom and swing set.

As students, we don’t think we have enough free time, but what do our new students say. Their indoor activities are reading, watching TV, playing computer games and board games. Playing outside is one of the best ways to start your weekend. Our new students enjoy being outside, as well, they like zip-lining, playing soccer and ice hockey.

Students we interviewed had a number of different reasons for missing their old school. As you would expect, a number of students missed their friends. In addition, some students missed the teachers at their previous school. There were also some unique reasons for kids missing their last school. One student shared missing air conditioning in her classroom. Another reason was having two recesses instead of one like we have here. Playing tug-of-war was another unique reason they missed their previous school.

We were curious to know what they like about Chickering School. Several students mentioned liking their new teacher, a larger school with more people, school lunches, and having band in fourth grade. Others mentioned making new friends, having technology classes and learning in fun ways. One surprising answer shared was that our school day is one hour shorter than their old school.

Nine out of the ten students liked Chickering more than their old school. Most said they enjoyed Chickering because there are more children to play with and it’s “more fun.” One student liked their old school better. She is more familiar with her old school and misses her second grade teacher and all her friends.

Many new students like more than one subject. Image of the gym at Chickering School.Clearly, math is liked the most, followed by writing and science. Other subjects students liked are physical education [P.E.], reading, spelling, and social studies.

We inquired of all the new students if they had a favorite special. Specials for Chickering’s fourth grade include: Art, Band/Reporters, Music, P.E., and Technology. Seven students said P.E. was their favorite special. One student said Art, one said Band, one said Reporters,  another said Technology were their favorite specials.

It was interesting to learn from several students some differences between their old school and Chickering. One student mentioned air conditioning, something we would love to have here! Another student shared they went to school an hour longer at their old school. We might want to go to school longer but it depends what we do in that extra hour. We play tug-of-war only during Field Day; one student shared that they played it all the time. It is interesting to see how all the new students are similar; how they all miss their friends and old homes. Their schools are so different, from tug-of-war at recess to air conditioning in every classroom. We are happy to see that our new students have acclimated to Chickering School.

Reported by Molly, Owen and Reece

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.