Fabulous Fit and Lit!

Did you know that Chickering Elementary School has been running the program known as Fit & Lit for eleven years? Fit & Lit encourages kids to read and exercise more by rewarding every log filled out with a new charm for their necklace. Each student receives a necklace in kindergarten. Some fifth graders have up to 100 charms!

This year, at the kick-off Fit and Lit assembly, it was announced that there would be two teams. Team 1 consisted of grades 1, 3, and 5. Team 2 was Pre-K, K, 2nd grade and 4th grade. Instead of having the teams travel from the Earth to the moon, the teams were asked to circumnavigate the Earth. However, the school also had fun at the assembly because of the fit and the lit they did there. Based on a video, 4th and 5th graders led a version of Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) with incorporated exercises. Some other students also read silly poems to the school.

We created a survey for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders wondering what their opinions were about Fit and Lit. 35% responded. When asked if they participated in this event, a large quantity of the 35% said yes, most of which included that they like it because they received charms.This pie chart shows 42.7% like Fit and Lit because of the charms, and 57.3% didn't mention charms as the reason for liking Fit and Lit.

However, when interviewed about their suggestions for Fit and Lit, many said that the teams were not fair, and that charms need to be easier to obtain. We also inquired if they liked Fit and Lit, and the majority said yes, but a surprisingly large number said “50/50”.

Along with a student survey, we also formed a questionnaire for the teachers, staff and administration asking similar questions. 52% responded. Surprisingly, every single responder liked Fit and Lit, although not everyone participated. One teacher shared,

“It encourages the school to work together as a team towards a shared goal. I also believe that we should value exercising our bodies and our minds. It makes everyone focus on remembering to read and exercise.”

Nevertheless, they had many suggestions, including some that would help kids. Such as, “Make it more motivating for the fifth graders” and “Reduce the amount of minutes to earn  charms for many children it takes two or more weeks to earn a charm”.

Although the purpose of Fit and Lit was to read and exercise, there was still a little competition between the teams. Team 1 ended up with 29.4 times around the Earth, and Team 2 finished with 29.1. It was a close race, but Team 1 secured victory.

There was an even more competitive atmosphere throughout the fifth grade, though. Whichever class in fifth grade ended up with the most minutes at the end of Fit and Lit got to play a kickball game against the staff team. Finally, when this fun Chickering tradition concluded, Mrs. Chiavarini’s class ended up victorious in the fifth grade competition.

After looking at every opinion from our surveys, it was clear that almost every interviewee loved Fit and Lit, and made it known that this Chickering custom is fun for all. Even though we did not have a concluding assembly to announce the winners, there was an exciting celebration to wrap Fit and Lit up – the annual Read Your Heart Out Day! After donning their pajamas and snuggling in fluffy blankets with soft stuffed animals, every student in the school set off on a fun reading mission. So from beginning to end, Fit and Lit was certainly a success!

Reported by Charlie T., Anissa, and Abby


Favorite Day Ever!

Two boys reading together in an elementary school.Do you love to read? Then you’ll love our Read Your Heart Out Day [RYHOD]. Students prepare for RYHOD by gathering their stuffed animals, books, pj’s, blanket and a pillow. Then they put their gear in his or her backpack or another bag. You can pack or wear your pj’s and slippers. It’s winter, so we pack our slippers.

At school, in your classroom you claim your spot. That’s where you put all your items. You don’t stay there all day, but that is where you read your books or read with friends. Some of the other classrooms move furniture to make room for tents or canopies where students can read, play games and have fun. Some classrooms have book buddies, so they meet in another classroom and read to each other. We also have parents or other adults who come in and read to us or we read to them.

We wondered what the teachers thought about RYHOD. So we talked with Ms Wood, Guest reader sharing a book with a classroom of students.a third grade teacher, Mrs. Atkinson, a fourth grade teacher and Mr.Wadness, a fifth grade teacher. We were curious to know if they liked RYHOD and they all like this special day. Ms Wood shared, she likes that we celebrate reading as a school community, and one of her students claims “reading makes your brain grow bigger”. She also thinks it’s a day to keep our brains healthy and active. Mr. Wadness said that he likes it when parents come in and read. All like that students can hang out with friends and read and share good stories.

All the teachers explained some activities their students do on this day. Students read independently, buddies read with a younger class, and partner read. Some other activities are sharing their favorite books with classmates, creating crafts which use words and having guests/parents come in and read aloud. Their favorite activities are having people read aloud and sharing books with younger students in the school.

There are a lot of different genre and we wondered if they had a favorite. Mrs. Atkinson and Mr. Wadness both love fantasy, Mr. Wadness especially likes the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Ms Wood likes all genre.

Two second grade boys sharing a book on an iPad.We wondered what type of book format that the teachers like to read. Mrs. Atkinson, Mr. Wadness and Ms Wood all  agreed that they all like paperback because it is easy to hold and they like to feel a book in their hand. Mr. Wadness does not like hardcover because he thinks it’s too big. Ms Wood and Mrs. Atkinson also likes electronic devices because it’s easy to turn pages and it saves their spot. Ms Wood also likes digital devices because she can download a book on the App Store and just lie in bed and start reading.

We were interested to know what some fourth and fifth grade students liked about RYHOD. They all agreed, they love it. Several talked about how they have a time to read books they like. A couple said it feels like a day off from school, because you get to relax and hang with your friends.

Stuffed animals, blankets, pillows and lots of books are what students shared they bring with them. Wearing pajamas and slippers is a cool thing to be allowed to do at school. These fourth and fifth grade students have enjoyed RYHOD since kindergarten.

Reading was the favorite activity for all of the fourth and fifth graders we talkedTwo fourth grade girls sitting on a counter in their classroom read by themselves. too. One fourth grader really liked reading with their kindergarten buddies. Some other activities they liked to do are reading by yourself, with friends, and with younger reading buddies. Others shared they make games based on books read, and when it happens to fall on Valentine’s Day, they enjoy creating valentines for their classmates.

Adventure seems to be a favorite genre of the kids. They like mystery because of the suspense and fantasy for the magic and wizards. Books come in all different formats: paperback, hardcover, audio, digital, so we wondered if they had a favorite. Most like digital but pretty much all of them like print.

On Read Your Heart Out Day, you can hear kids and teachers laughing and talking excitedly as they arrived at school. The energized students quickly claim their spots in their classroom. Then, you can hear a pin drop … everybody’s reading! It’s definitely one of the best days of the school year for both the students and teachers.

Reported by Rachel and Tommy

Reading Buddies

A 5th grade boy reads to a younger student.What are Reading Buddies? Good question! Reading Buddies is a program where the older classes meet up with either a kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade class. The younger kids are paired up with an older kid (or maybe two!) and they read together and play educational games each time they meet throughout the year. We alternate meeting in either the older kids’ or the younger kids’ classroom. Reading Buddies are fun for the students because they get to develop relationships outside of their classroom.

We will never forget the time, as kindergartners, we got our first reading buddies! We were doing our work when the teacher said “It looks like our buddies are here!”. We all turned our heads toward the door, and there they were, walking in the room with books in their hands. We were super excited to work with the older kids. We felt very special working with and learning from the 5th graders. It made us feel more mature to be working with the bigger kids; we felt bigger too.

We chatted with some 5th graders to see what their perspective was about Reading Buddies. What do you like about Reading Buddies? Calvin said, he likes to hang out with kindergartners and read to them. Getting to know kindergartners and making a new friend is what William likes. Addie likes watching the younger students learn to read. What’s fun about the program, to Mackenzie, is learning about what genres of books interest little kids.

We also wondered what their favorite books to read with a buddy are. Calvin enjoys reading fairy tales with his buddy. William replied, Are You My Mummy? a Halloween version of Are You My Mother? Reading whatever the kindergartners choose is Addie’s favorite. What Mackenzie loves to read isPiggy and Gerald  by Mo Willems.

We thought it would be interesting to ask what they would like to change about this program. Calvin would like to A kindergarten girl reads with her buddy.increase the amount of time we get to read with our buddies per year. William thought everything about this program is perfect, and there is nothing to change. It’s fun for everyone, and you should not change anything, is what Addie answered. From Mackenzie’s perspective, it all works out and there is nothing to be changed. You could see from the very beginning 5th grade and the kindergartners both love this program.

Then we wanted to see how different the 5th grade perspective was from the teachers’. We asked Mr. Wadness why he does reading buddies. He does it because he wants to give students the opportunity to be a teacher to the younger students. He likes to see the kindergartners look up to the 5th graders when they work together. He also loves watching relationships begin to develop between the 5th graders and kindergartners, and they almost become like brothers and sisters.

Then we asked him how long he has been doing this program. Surprisingly, in his 22 years of teaching, this year is only his second year! Last year he and his class were Reading Buddies with Mrs. Bedell-Healy’s and Mrs. Brannelly’s class. This year with just Mrs. Brannelly’s class. He only participated in the program last year, because in prior years, all of the kindergarten classes were already with buddies

We also wondered what he finds interesting about Reading Buddies. He likes to see the older and younger students bond. He likes to see them read together and build with K’nex. He likes when the students see their buddy in the hallway, they wave and say “Hi”, or give them high fives!

2 buddies reading together.After that we wanted to know what he thinks the students like when they get together to read. He thinks the students like to be a little bit like a brother or sister to each other. He believes it makes them feel good to read and teach each other. He notices that the students like to make stories together and color together. He likes to see the relationships between the older and younger kids continue to grow. He notices that Reading Buddies is a special time for the fifth graders because they feel very responsible.

Then we decided to ask him if there was something he would like to change about Reading Buddies. He said “No”. Why? He and his students had such a great time last year with their Buddies. Although, he did a program in his last school called Special Friends, in which he and his students received a buddy and they went on field trips, read, colored, and played games. He does wish that he, his students, and their buddies could go on field trips together, but unfortunately, there is not enough time. We thought Mr. Wadness’ answers were very interesting, especially compared to the students’.

Reading Buddies helps older and younger students get to know each other and bond. It helps the kindergartners understand what it’s like to be a 5th grader. It also helps them to get used to 5th graders and not be nervous around them. Out of all the activities that are happening throughout the school, Reading Buddies is by far our favorite.

Reported by Kyle, Rico, Will A., and Drew

Amazing First Graders

Wow! First grade has changed a lot! They are so well behaved… The 5th grade Chickering reporters decided to do a post on how first grade is different when we were there. Mrs. Marchildon class is our buddy class! We went in to observe the new math program (Everyday Math Program). We saw that they were learning much harder stuff from when we were in first grade. Also the strategies they use are pretty cool because they make everything easier. When we were in first grade, there were not as many strategies as they do now.

One thing we noticed was that they are very well behaved. They don’t fool around on the rug, or have side conversation with their friends. When we were in first grade I think we fooled around more than they do now.

We also noticed that they use color tables instead of desks. We used desks when we were in first grade.

Finally we noticed that They used more math supplies than we did like: mini white boards, an interactive white board, and each table had a container of supplies in the middle of the table.

We think that first grade has changed a lot since we were in first grade. We think the students have better strategies, supplies, and are better behaved! We wish we were still in first grade!!

Reported by: Abby and Sarah

A Favorite Day of the School Year!

Would you like to go to school in your pajamas and read all day? Well, the students at Chickering School get  to do that on a very special day called Read Your Heart Out Day (RYHOD). But you don’t really read your heart out of your body. RYHOD is when the students get to read all day and if they want to wear their pajamas. they can. They can also bring their stuffed animals, pillows, and/or blankets. RYHOD is a celebration of the end of Fit & Lit, a program to exercise our brains and bodies.

During RYHOD students of all classes come to school in pajamas and slippers. Some students bring blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. In some classrooms teachers put up canopies or tents for students to read under or in. Some activities students do are listen to parent guest readers, read with classroom buddies, perform Readers Theater, and sometimes room parents would bring in special snacks. But mostly we read, read, read!

This year with digital readers, we needed to get special permission from our principal, Dr. Nugent. Currently our student handbook doesn’t allow us to bring in any digital devices from home. Dr. Nugent granted permission to bring in Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and other eBook devices. The students were very grateful to Dr. Nugent for allowing them to bring in reading devices for RYHOD.

Everybody at Chickering School loves RYHOD! We talked to our teacher, Mrs. Haggett, and teaching assistant, Mr Crowley, about their feelings regarding Read Your Heart Out Day. Mrs. Haggett said, ” I love read your heart out day because students read what ever they want and we can have fun talking about different books and sometimes parents come in and read to us.” ” Yes, I do,  because it gives everyone a chance to relax, wear comfortable clothes, sit anywhere they want, and also focus on reading all day long,” remarked Mr. Crowley. Some of the students shared with us: “…read all day and not do any subject[s]….” “…it is fun and you do not have to do any work at all.” and “…read all day.  It is nice to relax and not do any work all day.” One student that we interviewed had mixed feelings about RYHOD, ” I like it because I really like reading. But I don’t like it because you’re not allowed to talk so its just quiet time all the time.”

We asked the teachers if they think Read Your Heart Out Day is a good idea? Both Mrs. Haggett and Mr Crowley think that this special day is a “wonderful idea”.  Mr. Crowley said, “…it gives everyone a chance to relax and get a break from all the other subjects and focus on reading various kinds of literature.” “…we do get to choose what we want to read.  We get to do reading plays if we want to , we can read poetry and we can have parents come in and read to the children,” replied Mrs Haggett.

For our outstanding work during Fit & Lit 2012, the principal rewarded the entire school with a second RYHOD! Coming from the gym was a thunderous, earsplitting, booming cheer following Dr. Nugent’s announcement. We certainly love Read Your Heart Out Day!

Reported By: Amy, Martin, and Sophia



Principal for the Day

Have you ever been in charge if the school? Well I have! I was the principal of the day on Read Your Heart Out Day, April 13, 2012.

Principal-of-the-Day is a fun activity that one fifth grader wins at the Dover PTO Auction. One student gets to walk in Dr. Nugent’s steps for the day, and be in charge.

My name is Lucy and I won the opportunity to be the Principal-for-one-Day on Read Your Heart Out Day, a day when all the students and staff are able to wear pajamas and slippers to school.

On Monday, 4 days before I was Principal, Dr. Nugent and I had a little talk about what we wanted to do during my special day.

These are the things I thought of for each grade,

  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders were read a story by the Librarian, she was so nice because she dressed up as Viola Swamp!  (A character in a really good book.)
  • 4th grade had the ability to sit wherever they wanted, (They usually have to sit by class).
  • Lastly the 5th graders, they received popsicles. I wanted my grade to be happy with me since all the other grades had something great!student principal for the day with her principal

After this fun experience, I feel like I can do anything. Being a principal is like you are the Queen of your own Castle. In the morning I had to get there really early and I greeted all the teachers as they arrived to school. They were being really funny, by asking me for raises, giving me candy and just treating me like I was an adult. All the students thought I was an awesome Principal. At the end of the day I was sad, I did not want to give up being Principal. It was a fantastic day. The only downside to the day is that I never sat down, so my legs really hurt from all the walking!  

FIT & LIT 2012

     Fit and Lit is a program our school has been doing for about 7 years.  Fit and Lit happens when the school gets back from winter break and ends right before February break.  Fit and Lit goes on for about 6 weeks and by the time 6 weeks are over some people have 3 charms and some people have a bunch of charms in many different colors.  The first year we come here as kindergartners, we received a necklace.  Once we have completed 600 minutes of exercising or reading we obtain a charm in the shape of a sneaker (Fit) or a book (Lit).  You earned a charm is by recording your minutes on a log.  The logs are picked up every Friday. 

We kick off Fit and Lit with an all school assembly. Everybody gets so excited to see the slideshow. When the kids see a picture of themselves or one of their friends, they yell out their names.  The pictures show kids exercising or reading for Fit and Lit minutes. After the slideshow ends and the screaming ends, our librarian Mrs. Chase, explains the process of Fit and Lit. Then everyone is so anxious to hear what the prize is, and Mrs. Chase leaves us all hanging and doesn’t tell us until the ending assembly! 


The last day of Fit and Lit, the whole school celebrates the completion of the program by having a Read Your Heart Out Day. During that day we read most of the day, and participate in Readers Theater and plays, plus read to younger classroom buddies and have snacks. On Read Your Heart Out Day we dress up in our PJs and we bring in stuffed animals and/or blankets. As you can imagine this is a fun day for all!!

At the celebration assembly we announced the grade level winners. Each classroom within a grade level competes against each other to see who can read and exercise the most minutes. This year the winning classroom, in each grade, received a special trophy and a charm for their necklace. To acknowledge all the work everyone did, our principal rewarded the entire school with a second Read Your Heart Out Day and an extra recess. After that announcement was made the student body let out a big, big, big, BIG cheer, this is how it sounded YYEEAAHH!!!

Here are the results of the Fit & Lit 2012 competition

Kindergarten: Mrs.Disch

1st grade: Ms Cronin

2nd grade: Mrs. Moran

3rd grade: Dr. Craft

4th grade: Mr. Keohane

5th grade: Mr. Wadness

We are proud of everyone who participated in this year’s Fit and Lit!

Please watch the video below to see the winners.

Reported by: Griffin, Matt, Lucy, Abby & Jay

Reading Buddies

The kindergartners in Mrs. Saunders class have been working on their author study. They have been studying the author Mo Willems. The fifth graders in Ms. Dionisio’s class have also been doing an author study. They individually studied an author. Some studied Graeme Base, Virginia Hamilton, Jane Yolen, Allen Say, Cynthia Rylant, and, many others. 

On the day we were with our kindergarten buddies, we presented our PowerPoints to our individual buddy. The PowerPoint consisted of a title page, a page for each book, and an about the author page. The page for each book contained an image of the book cover and a selling point for each book. Fifth graders and kindergartners shared two books each, then they read other Mo Willems books from a collection. As a special treat Mrs. Saunders made chocolate chip and sugar cookies to snack on while we read together.

reported by: Alex, Virginia, and Winnie