26 Years of Teaching

Chickering Student Radio 

In this podcast we will interview Mr.Harte, the one and only technology teacher at Chickering Elementary School.  In this interview you will learn so much you never knew before about our technology teacher. We hope you enjoy!

Reported by Lucas and Charley

Totally Terrific Technologies




Last year each 4th and 5th grade class got 10 Chromebooks for their classroom and we were wondering if classrooms were getting more: Chromebooks this year, no Chromebooks, or different devices. So to learn more, we had a conversation with our Technology Integrator, Mr. Harte.

Reported By – Aaron, Andy, and Nevin

Chickering’s Digital Future

Charging station for 10 student  chromebooks.Everywhere you look there seems to be technology in our school. There is a lot of technology in the world, such as,  2-in-1 laptop hybrids, 3D Printers, smaller tablets and we wanted to learn what types of technology are planned for our school. Each year it seems we have more devices and software to use so we talked to two people who make decision about technology, Mr. Ritacco, Technology Director and Mr. Harte, Technology Integration Coach.

We asked the Technology Director, Mr Ritacco, what are the devices that are currently being used in the building. “A number of different devices are being used in the building. We have iPads in the lower grades (K-3), ChromeBooks in upper grades (4 and 5). We have laptop carts, MacBook Pro’s, and Interactive WhiteBoards [IWBs] that work with projectors, for the teachers. Finally, there are desktops throughout the school and in two computer labs.”

He also shared, we are hoping to get 1-to-1 iPads in the lower grade levels (K-3) and 1-to-1 ChromeBooks in the upper grade levels (4-5). We are getting “reading” software including Google Read & Write. Another  possibility is getting interactive tables. The Technology Department is going to other schools to see what technology they have. They’re also going to a MassCue conference at Patriot Place where you can see new advances in the field of electronics.

We were curious about what interesting software/apps are in the building. Mr. Ritacco said, software is department specific, for example reading software includes Google Read & Write. The Technology Department is trying to eliminate new software purchases since we have gone to Google Domain, which offers lots of Apps and Extensions.

One of the newest technologies is a 3D printer, which, as the name says, Is a mechanism which prints out 3D objects. We decided to ask Mr, Ritacco if our school would be getting one. “We are hoping to get a 3D printer in every building,” says Mr.Ritacco. He thinks that 3D Printers would help kids a great deal in science.Though there will be some limitations, especially size of what they can create, and the teachers will decide what the kids make. This should be a great way to fuel kids’ imaginations.             

With 3D Printers, interactive tables and 1:1 ChromeBooks possibly being in our school  next year, we will be sad to not be here to use them. But hopefully the Middle School will have them.  

With this technology on the horizon,  we wanted to have an interview with Mr Harte, Technology Integration Coach for Chickering School, about what his plans are and what technology we already have.

We asked Mr Harte what the plan is for coding. Mr Harte with 3 Chickering reporters outside the computer lab.We are learning pre-advanced concepts, computation, recomputation and abstracting. We are having plugged lessons (where you use the computer) and surprisingly unplugged lessons (not using the computer), We’re learning how to draw and use functions in Scratch (a function is a box of code with something like a word or button that activates it, when you look up something on Google and you click the search button it activates a function to search what you typed into the box), since students didn’t learn coding last year 5th graders are doing the same coding as 4th graders.

We asked Mr Harte about what content he is doing with other grades, There’s coding in each grade; fourth and fifth are doing Scratch; grades 2 and 3 are doing Hour of Code; first graders are building their own mazes to use with BeeBots and kindergarten is programming BeeBots, as usual.

When we asked Mr.Harte what the plans are for next year’s students, he said it’s the same thing in fourth grade. Fifth graders will be doing something a little more advanced. He does professional development and workshops with teachers. He works on advancing his own skills occasionally with iPad apps.

Student, sitting at a desk, using a school ChromeBook.We were wondering what software and hardware Mr. Harte would like to see in our school, so we decided to ask him. He wants to see more computers like ChromeBooks in the school and more with iPads.

We asked Mr. Harte what is the best thing he made with technology. Mr. Harte says a lot of things he is proud of have been created from Scratch. Mr. Harte creates spreadsheets for teachers to use in collecting data and he enjoys making things that will help somebody else.

We really liked Mr Harte’s analogy that you can’t use one tool, technology device, for everything, “You can use a hammer to pound in a nail but if you have a screw you’re not going to use a hammer to pound a screw into a wall”. We’re excited to see this technology in our school next year. We’re pretty excited about the 3D Printers, what are you excited about? Are there any other new technologies Chickering  should have?

Technology Time

Chickering Student Radio

CSR - logo





Today we will be talking with our technology teacher,
Our technology teacher in his office surrounded by digital devices and a yellow and black Bee-Bott.Mr. Harte, about his career. We  hope you enjoy learning about all the technology in our school, and our technology teacher.

[audio mp3=”http://chickeringreports.edublogs.org/files/2014/12/5M-HARTE-final-pirjqf.mp3″][/audio]


Reported by Rachel, Olivia, Katana, and Caden

New Science Unit: Engineering Filters

Do you use filters? If you answered no, chances are that you are wrong. Filters are everywhere, from coffee filters to water filters. Filters help remove nasty particles, twigs and leaves from any liquids or gasses. An extraordinary thing about engineering is that it helps humans address problems by designing and developing solutions. Human beings need water to survive. In some areas of the world, water is either scarce, polluted Container of filtered water from first filter design - filtered water the color of sand.or both. Engineering is a science which can be applied to design water filters to clean water.

To begin the science unit we were read a book called Salila. It was about a river in India called Ganga Ma [Ganges River]. It was polluted by bacteria so people who drank from it got sick. One day when Salila was walking home from school she noticed a frog that had been sickened by the oil in the water. She noticed the rainbow sheen of the oil sitting on the water. This made Salila want to design a water filter and to stop the pollution in the river.

Our job was to filter out dirt, tea leaves and cornstarch. We were given these materials: sand, gravel, cotton balls, screens, paper filters, filters holders, and 2 containers. After that we set to work, designing filters. A 5 bottle rating scale going from 5 - drinking water to 1 - the dirtiest water. Some people used only screens, others used all of the materials. To measure the cleanliness of the water from each of our tests we had a rating scale. Our rating scale was comprised of 5 bottles, numbered 1-5,  1 being the dirtiest, 5 being the cleanest (tap water). We all had to use a filter holder, (which is half of a soda bottle with a cap with a hole the diameter of a pencil drilled through it) to hold the different materials used when testing our filters.  Then we tested them.

We collected 2 cups, 1 for dumping the dirty water into the filter and second to collect the clean or dirty water coming from  the filter. Then we started testing the filters by pouring dirty water into the top of the filter. This went through our filter contraption. A first test of a work in progress filterThe filter either cleaned out the major particles or changed the color to look healthier. Some filters got  4’s, some were 3’s and almost none were 2’s. Rarely ever 1’s. Some of the groups had screens on top and cotton balls on the bottom, others had unrolled cotton balls on top and screens scrunched up in the neck. Dr. Reinemann was our mentor making suggestions. Every group had different colored water.

Finally, they came up with some ideas for trying to sell their filter.  Dr. Reinemann did 3 example presentations. One where she was like a hippy, another where she was really silent and scared-looking and third where she talked nice and clear and had a good descriptive poster.

First we made a “Brain Frame” (a graphic organizer) and filled it in with ideas. Then we made a rough draft for our poster. The poster was an assessment, which included a picture, good features and an explanation about the filter to convince people to buy your filter and a business card to take home. Some of the groups names were “Olympus Water Filters” or ” Epic Water Filters”.  Some of the groups were convincing in their presentation. Others were awesome in their speech. Some people acted as if it were a commercial. Others just thought it would be fine to do a normal presentation. At the end of each presentation, each group went up to Dr. Reinemann and gave her their group business card.

Engineering Design Process: Ask - Imagine - Plan - Create - Improve.As engineers, we used the Engineering Design Process in developing our water filter. The first step was “Ask”, in which we asked how to make the best filter. The next step was to “Imagine” what materials would be needed and what the contraption would look like. “Plan” the order for the materials within the filter. The fourth step was to “Create” the filter we had imagined. The final step was to “Improve” the filter we had created in the areas that could be improved.

Now, can you imagine a world without engineers to design water filters?

Reported by Michelangelo, Indy, Calden