What Would You Choose?

When the students at Chickering School are in the third grade, they may choose band or reporters for part of their fourth grade curriculum. If students decide to join band they have a choice between these instruments:  trumpet, saxophone, flute, trombone, percussion, clarinet and french horn.

Band meets once a week for practice and their homework is to use Smart Music, (an App that helps you practice). Mr. Galligan is able to hear, through the App, the musician’s practice.

In May, Chickering School has Arts Night and the fourth grade band performs, for the first time, as part of the concert.

Some students may choose reporters, while their classmates are attending band. The reporters meet in the library once a week with Mrs. Chase. They collaborate with each other about choosing a topic and reporting about what is happening in the school. The students decide what media tool to use for their projects such as: interviews, surveys, photos and/or videos. Homework depends upon what projects they are working on at the time. We do a lot of writing regardless of the media tools we use. We publish to the world via our Blog called Chickering Reports.

We decided to survey the fourth grade to see why people chose band or reporters. We brainstormed questions for the survey. And used Google forms to create our survey.

73 of 87 – 4th grade students completed the survey which is 84% of the grade. First we inquired what they chose.

Pie chart showing 61% of the students chose band and 34% chose reporters.

As you can see 61% of the students who responded chose band and 34% chose reporters.



If they chose band, we asked why. Of the 47 students, 12 did not answer this question; 24 replied that they like music and learning how to play an instrument; 5 said they were interested in playing the flute; and 1 each replied looking A typical fourth grade band class.forward to playing the trumpet, loves percussion, heard it was fun, wants to learn a new instrument, liked listening to other students play their instruments, and didn’t want to do reporters.

We were curious to know which instrument the fourth grade band students chose.

Bar graph showing the instrument choices. The favorite was the trumpet.

Why did band students choose these instruments, we asked. Of the 47 band students who answered the survey, 1 did not answer, 30 said they liked the sound their instrument made, 2 thought it was cool, 3 said their brother could help them, 2 liked percussion, 3 wanted to try something new, 2 said they liked the flute, 1 said trombone because it had no keys, 1 said they liked the trumpet, and one didn’t know what to do so they chose percussion.

Next we decided to ask the band students if they have homework or not. We gave them three choices: yes, no, or sometimes. Out of the 47 band students, 30 said yes, 16 said sometimes, and 1 said no.

34% chose reporters. We were curious to know A typical reporter class working with ChromeBooks.why they chose reporters over band. There were a lot of unique and unusual answers. 5 said reporters because it is fun, 4 said they didn’t want play an instrument or play a new one, 4 said their interested in technology and interviewing, 3 said they liked to do projects, 2 said they liked typing, 1 said they liked to make videos, 1 because they didn’t want to carry an instrument, 1 – their friends do it, 1 liked reading and writing, 1 wanted to see what it was like, 1 didn’t know, and one didn’t answer.

We also asked the 27 reporter students if they had homework or not. 23 students answered sometimes, 2 said yes, and the last two said no.

We were curious about what projects each 4th grade reporter groups chose.

Chat showing first 4th grade Reporter projects.We were interested to see why students participated in either band or reporters. Surprisingly, half of us thought there would be more reporters than band. We were disappointed that we didn’t hear back from 16% of the students. Clearly, the data shows that the students like having a choice between band (66%) and reporters (34%).

Reported by Beatrice, Neal, Bella, and Ronan

Exploring the Awesome Tsongas Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts



Have you ever been to the Tsongas Museum? All the fourth graders visit this historic museum each year. We chatted with our teacher, Mrs. Atkinson, to learn about this field trip. We hope you enjoy listening to our conversation.


Reported by Alex, Lyla, and Raina

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