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

Welcome to Chickering, new Fifth Graders!

Being a new student can be challenging. We decided to check in with four of our six new fifth grade students to see how they were getting along. (We tried to interview all six new students, but were unable to sync our schedules with two of the new students.) We wondered what was difficult about moving to a new school.

The first student we interviewed was Rebekka. Before living in Dover she lived in Helsinki, Finland. She probably received a good education there, seeing as Finland has the best schools in the world. Two of the new students, Max and Remi, come from Needham, and Jack comes from Dedham, both are neighboring towns to Dover. By far, Rebekka wins for coming from the farthest away.

Moving is tough and we wondered what obstacles our new students faced. Max said that setting up all the technology in his new house was difficult. Jack and Remi miss their old house and friends. Rebekka by far had the hardest move. She moved to a completely new country. She had to learn a new language and make new friends; leaving her friends and extended family behind.

Not all schools are the same so we were curious about whatPicture of luggage which is part of the sculpture at the Sacramento CA Airport. was different from their school and our school. Jack answered there was not that much of a difference. Remi said she, “attended a private school.” Max felt, his old school had mean teachers and also that he could go to a better school, moving to a town with larger houses.  Rebekka said, lunch/recess is 45-minutes two times a week and three times a week it’s 30-minutes and the students can choose how much of the 30 minutes is for eating and for recess. Students can choose to learn academics in Finnish, or English, or French. Another difference is Physical Education runs once a week instead of twice like Chickering but sometimes for 2 hours, not 40 minutes. In addition to recess at lunch time, there are two more 15-minute recesses each day, usually following an academic subject. Vacations are more prevalent in Finland, for example, they begin school for a month and then have a week off; around Christmas time they have three weeks off; in February they have a week vacation to ski; and in the Spring they have a week vacation for Easter. It is interesting how the United States and Finnish schools are so different.

We queried what activities and/or hobbies they do outside of school. Both Remi and Rebekka take part in horseback riding and Remi does boxing while Rebekka does jazz and hip-hop dancing. Hockey and Lacrosse are Max’s favorite activities and Jack participates in soccer.

Don’t underestimate the challenges of moving to a new school. Making new friends and learning new routines are difficult. It surprised us that in Finland they have a skiing holiday. We wish we could also have a longer vacation and a 2-hour Physical Education session! And soon enough, the chances are high that you will begin to get used to a new school.

Reported by: Abby, Beck, Calden, Cyrus, Matthew, Rebekka

Image: “luggage6.jpg” 16 December 2014 <>.

Alterations, Modifications, Transitions!

Did you know that teachers don’t teach the same grade every year? Also Chickering has 30 new students in grades 1 – 5? We were interested in how the teachers and the new kids have adapted to their changes; change is never easy.

Several teachers changed their teaching assignments this year. We talked to three teachers, Mrs. Bedell-Healy, Mrs. Gillis, and Mrs. Hart.

Image of classroom sign for Mrs. Bedell-Healy.Mrs. Bedell-Healy talked with us about her move from K to 3rd grade. We were curious about what she likes about 3rd grade. She told us she likes how the 3rd graders understand her jokes, enjoys math – multiplication and division, and is eager to learn about Massachusetts’ history. We also wondered about what she found challenging about 3rd grade. Coming from kindergarten to 3rd grade it took her a week to understand what students were capable of doing. Another challenging thing was learning a whole new curriculum, which is so different from kindergarten.

Mrs. Hart moved from 3rd grade to 4th grade. We wondered what she likes Image of the sign for Mrs. Hart Class roomabout 4th grade. She shared: the high ceiling gives the room an airy feel: the people on the second floor have made her feel welcome: and after six years of teaching 3rd grade, teaching 4th grade is a nice change. Finding her classroom was challenging the first few of weeks of school, she kept going to her old room. She is learning to collaborate with a new team and History and Social Studies now includes North America and with a focus on the 5 regions of the U.S.

Mrs. Gillis moved from Physical Education to the Image of Mrs. Gillis' Learning Center sign.4th grade Learning Center. We asked her what she likes about her move. Her large room allows her to have a lot of students and she has a wealth of materials in the room. She likes sharing the classroom with someone else. We asked her what she found challenging about transferring to the fourth grade Learning Center. Image of the Learning Center - table areaShe described to us that she likes her large room, but sometimes it feels too big. There are too many tables and they are the wrong size for the fourth grade students. Mrs. Gillis would like to add a rug so the students can move around as they learn; not all learning is done by sitting.

In 5th grade, we have six new students. We were curious to know what were the differences between their old school and Chickering. Katherine told us recess is shorter here. Her old school, in Wayland, Illinois, is smaller in population; and Chickering has more classrooms per grade level. Viktor appreciates the students at Chickering. At his old school, in Millis, Massachusetts, students argued and there were bullies. Jack shared that his old school, in Norfolk, Massachusetts, is old and lunch was unappetizing. School uniforms were a part of Benistas old school, in Danvers, Massachusetts. Having a school next to a zoo, must be very exciting, James’ school was located in the city of Chicago, Illinois, with grades K-12. Our last new student, Amelia, from Madison, Wisconsin, said her school was very small compared to Chickering with only 1 classroom per grade level.

We were wondering what they thought about Chickering School. Katherine likes to go to the library whenever she wants and she and Amelia enjoy having lots of equipment on the playground. Nice teachers who make learning very easy and exciting was expressed by Viktor. Jack and Benista both shared that the kids are nicer and they have made friends who have helped them in many different ways. Liking the teachers, having the same school colors, royal blue, white and black, and participating in band were ideas stated by James.

We asked the question: “What do you miss about your old school?” 30 minutes for recess was a big joy that Katherine misses. Viktor missed nothing about his old school. Jack and James miss their classrooms and their best friends. Uniforms made it easy so Benista did not have to think about what to wear each day and she misses her 3 best friends. Amelia also misses her friends and teachers and she had a hard time moving to  a new school because she has only been at one school.

Changes are never easy, especially if you’re changing to a new school or to a new curriculum. The new kids and Mrs. Bedell-Healy, Mrs.Hart, and Mrs. Gillis have certainly experienced a lot of changes this year. Without a doubt, it was gratifying to hear that the students at Chickering School were so helpful and kind to our new students.

Reported by George, Oliver, and Viktor

New Fifth Graders and Returning Chickering Staff

Have you ever been a new student? Do you remember how it felt? Maybe that’s how the new fifth graders felt this year. These are the new fifth graders, Garrett, Kirby, Rahul, Sophie, Clare, Christopher, and Emily.

We asked the new kids a series of questions, the first one was what are the differences between your old school and Chickering. Most people thought that Chickering is a larger school then their previous school. One student was grateful they didn’t have to wear school uniforms anymore and another

Some of the new fifth grade students.

student said that the students were nicer here.

These are their favorite activities shared in order of popularity:
1. Gym, 2. Recess,
3. Art, and 4. Writing.

The next question we asked people was how they were fitting in. Almost every student felt that they were fitting in well, and all of them said that that they were meeting new kids.

Several students told us that their favorite subject was science, especially CSI. (Crime Scene Investigation) and Electricity units. Math was a favorite subject for a couple of students; one shared it “gets their brain working”. Two students said that they liked Social Studies and History because they like learning “about the past”.

Two teachers, Mrs.Bedell-Healy and Mrs.Wasik, returned to Chickering after an absence of several years. Room signMrs. Bedell-Healy shared a few things that have changed from the last time she was here. She said there is a new principal, and  more plants are growing in the outdoor garden. She went from second grade to kindergarten. Now she has to tie more shoes, and kids are learning to read. It is probably a much more difficult grade to teach.
Mrs.Wasik also shared a few things since the last time she was here.  She told us that there is a new principal and she is in a new classroom. Also, there are new sets of state standards called Common Core forroom sign English Language Arts and Mathematics, which need to be taught. The last change is, she teaches a new science unit. She used to teach Oceanography, now she teaches Technology & Engineering. The good thing is, she still teaches 4th grade.

Thank you for reading our report, we hope you enjoyed it!

By George B., Peter, Declan, and Kirby