Mary Daire

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So far Mary Daire has created 30 blog entries.

Closing out the schoolyear with our last package of PenPal letters, sent + received!

Bonjour to all,

Today we have posted our final letters/drawings/ origami art to our friends in France, wishing them a bon été and telling them a little bit about what we will each be doing this summer.

It has been an enriching and heartwarming experience for us all, students and teacher alike! I am amazed to see the instant connection formed between these students, a true comradery, having never met nor spoken, and living an ocean away!

What has amazed me most is to see the spark in my student’s eyes and their eagerness to understand the letters that their French friends are writing, and to be able to write back to them. It has been a great motivator for our curriculum, to see the words and phrases put into use for basic communication.

It has also been enriching to learn more about the Montessori School of Uzès; what their school is like, what subjects they are studying in class, and to get to know their school pets (chickens): Abricot, Black and Grissette!

I also take pride in sharing information about our school. I included a copy of our 2018-19 yearbook with our envelope of letters shipping out today, to share a glimpse of what our school year at BCD looks like! The traditions and special events that we honor, the organized sports that are played here, and the field trips that are taken.

I look forward to continuing this PenPal exchange with the 4th and 5th graders next school year, and incorporating this project into other grade levels as well!

I’ve uploaded some new pictures to our BCD photo 2018-19 French @ BCD album! …

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y8axH9vNz9NtJCs57

Bon weekend tout le monde!

Mme. Daire

 

 

By |2019-05-31T13:23:40-04:00May 31st, 2019|

Les actualités de BCD, en français!

Bonjour to all,

The 8th-grade French students put much work and energy … along with stellar editing skills (merci, Gavin!) to create their final project: a newsreel in French. They covered important topics such as an in-depth weather report, cultural news, current events, political highlights and upcoming events at BCD

They presented the video to their student peers on May 15th on the big screen in the Learning Commons.

Please follow the link below to see their video.

Bravo to our 8th graders for this spectacular video!

Here is the link to view the video ;

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AsmnVOb020AFk1yltgRk9daS_EEc

Also, please check out the BCD photo album to see pictures from the 2018/19 French Fair ;

https://photos.app.goo.gl/HKPYErVTMgr1K8mP8

Merci!

Madame Daire

 

By |2019-05-30T10:37:41-04:00May 30th, 2019|

Last chance for summer reading materials in French through Bayard-Milan!

Bonjour tout le monde,

Tomorrow, May 15th, I will have a table of sample materials from the French language publishing house, Bayard-Milan, on display for your consideration in the Learning Commons.

My hope is that parents and families of students of all ages at BCD will stop by during or after school to peruse the selections, and consider subscribing to a magazine for your child for some enriching summer reading in French!

From Pre-school through Gr.9, there is something for everyone!

The samples on display will be organized by level and age, and include a plethora of themes, styles, and layouts. Please check out the link below for more information on the different magazines offered, per age.

http://monde.bayard-milan.com/parents/quel-magazine-pour-quel-age/

What is Bayard-Milan?  … “We are journalists, graphic designers, early childhood education professionals, employees or freelancers … for forty years we have chosen to put our readers at the center of our editorial thinking. Listening to them, understanding them, astonishing them, nourishing them with inspirational works and accompanying them at each stage of their lives.”

Here’s a short excerpt on the mission of Bayard-Milan:

“More than anything, today as for yesterday, we have a duty of promoting enchantment in the younger generation. And in this particular situation where our magazines are not the voice of parents or teachers, but of caring accomplices, we can highlight the positive force that exists in everyone and in the many situations one encounters in life. And when you have the chance to live through words, thanks to talented creators, characters who can embody all their life experiences, it’s as if we invent small lights that will mark the lives of children and which they are will remember for a long time.” 

Please carve out a few minutes tomorrow to check out the selection of Foreign Language materials in the Learning Commons, for all grade levels and interests!

Best,

Mme. Daire

P.s for all inquiries concerning subscriptions, please refer directly to the US agent for Bayard-Milan ;

Ms. Catherine LAMY

catherine.lamy@bayard-may.org

*Orders are not placed through BCD.

http://monde.bayard-milan.com/#

 

Merci beaucoup!

By |2019-05-14T14:11:59-04:00May 14th, 2019|

Grade 6 Service Learning

Good afternoon!

Here is just a quick update on the progress that our 6th graders have made with the big task of taking on ‘Mental Health’ as the theme for their Service Learning project for the 2018-2019 school year.

On May 1 we completed our final workshop dedicated to our Service Learning project. We started our morning together with a Narrative 4 workshop, lead by Ms. Laiz. Narrative 4 “harnesses the power of the story exchange to equip and embolden young adults to improve their lives, their communities, and the world.” It is an amazing exercise in empathy building and was a perfect fit to wrap up our yearlong work within the field of mental health. The story exchange is a powerful model based on the belief of Narrative 4’s founding authors. They understand that we will see the world, and ourselves, more empathically through the exchange of personal narratives. Today, this belief is supported by the work of neuroscientists, as well as by the experiences of story exchange participants. Led by Narrative 4 facilitators, story exchanges are customized for classrooms, community organizations, and businesses building on four basic steps.”

The students were very respectful of each other both in the telling, listening, and re-telling their partner’s stories to the group. We heard about harrowing experiences on rollercoasters, the loss of a family dog, a family adventure overseas, an encounter with a bear on a camping trip … just to name a few!

Some of our student feedback following this exercise include these commentaries: “It made me feel nostalgic! / It was kind of cool to not be myself for a moment. / It was weird but cool! / It was neat to hear someone else telling my story. / I liked hearing my story from a different perspective.”

For more information about this powerful community-building tool, please visit: https://narrative4.com/

 

Following our Narrative 4 exercise, we welcomed a guest speaker from our local professional community. Dr. Cassandra Lipa spoke to our students about her path to achieving her Doctorate in Nurse Practitioning. She spoke to us about the motivation that drove her to dedicate her life to working in our local community, in the role of a mental health provider. We learned why this career path is so meaningful to her, the way in which it has impacted her life, and the lessons she has learned along the way. She spoke with us about the importance of group therapy sessions, especially in a school community setting. She is an advocate for people coming together to talk about their feelings and emotions. She asked our students many questions, and our group explained to her about what we have been doing since September within our Service Learning project, including but not limited to ; making positive affirmation posters and fortune cookies to share with our school community, dedicating a space on our campus to ‘forest bathing’ and preparing a guided meditation to share with our peers. Dr. Lipa praised them for being “ahead of the ball” in their awareness of and concentration on the importance of taking care of our mental health, being ‘OK’ with our feelings, and being mindful. We spoke about what being ‘mindful’ means; being present, being interested in what we are doing at the moment. We discussed the notion of how often we find ourselves on  ‘auto-pilot’ – going through the motions of our day without really paying attention to the details of what we are doing. Our time with Dr. Lipa included great conversation and discussion, as well as a mini-workshop on breathing, and learning why it is important to practice deep breathing, for our mental as well as physical health.

The main goal of this visit, combined with our year-long work is to remind our students how important and valuable these tools that they are learning can and will be in their lives to come, when stress levels may rise or fall on the adventure of life! Our students can discuss the importance of maintaining and protecting our mental health and know why it is just as important to keep ourselves mentally fit, as it is to keep ourselves physically fit!

It was enriching to have a local member of the professional mental health community, who is at the cusp of her career, speak to us about what she has done, is doing, and will do in her field.

I speak for Ms. Laiz and myself when I say how proud we are of our 6th graders, in the dedication and maturity they have brought to this very loaded and large theme of mental health. Please check out our BCD photo page for pictures from our last Community Day.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/eemNWdWqjXvvJaVv8

Next step -> Service Learning Sharecase on Thursday, May 30th!

Best,

Mme. Daire

 

 

 

 

By |2019-05-06T09:02:48-04:00May 6th, 2019|

Please vote for our Grades 7 and 8 French students!

Dear families and friends of BCD,

There’s one week remaining to vote for our Upper School French students!

Our 7th or 8th-grade classes are in the running to win $ 1,000 for the ‘Prix du Public’ award through the Centre de la Francophonie des Amériques Slame tes Accents challenge!

Last month, the 7th and 8th-grade classes each submitted a video which met the requirements of the slam competition (length of the video, vocabulary, and content.) The themes that each of our classes chose to promote in their poetry include unity, respect, and acceptance.

Voting for the ‘Prix du Public’ award began on April 15 and nearly 29,000 votes were received during the first week of voting!

Please help us to increase our chances of winning by inviting your family, friends, colleagues, etc. to vote for BCD and to encourage the hard work that our students have put forth in meeting the challenge of creating their personalized ‘Slam’ in French!

The video that receives the most votes in the 12-14 age group will be declared the winner and that class will win a $ 1,000 grant (Canadian dollars) to use towards an educational event. S’il vous plait, spread the word and vote for our students!

Here are the details to vote:

The voting period is April 15, 2019 at 10:00 am (EDT) on April 30, 2019 at 11:59 pm (EDT);
1 vote per day, per IP address and per category is allowed;
The voting platform makes it possible to share each video on different social networks. It will be possible to share your video to the maximum!

Our 7th and 8th-grade French students video projects can be found in the ‘Catégorie de 12 à 14 ans’ (web address included below) … among dozens of videos submitted by students from countries all over the world! Canada, USA, Mexico, Haiti, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru and Colombia just to name a few…

http://www.francophoniedesameriques.com/slame/presentation-des-videos/

On behalf of our dedicated and dynamic students and myself, merci beaucoup for your support!

Best,

Madame Daire

 

 

By |2019-04-24T09:22:31-04:00April 23rd, 2019|

Mois de la Francophonie in full swing at BCD!

Good afternoon all,

Before we part ways for Spring break, I wanted to share a brief update on what the different classes in the French curriculum here at BCD have been up to lately.

From poetry writing and presentations, cooking demo’s, PenPal exchanges, cultural and geographically themed projects, and learning songs, French students of all ages at BCD have been busy abeilles! (bees)

The 7th and 8th-grade French classes are now putting the finishing touches on their Slam Poetry videos – for submission to the Slame Tes Accents! international competition proposed through the organization, Francophonie des Amériques. The students were challenged to create a poem as a class and choose how they wanted to Slam their poem, employing the pre-requisite vocabulary and meeting other requirements for the contest. The 7th grader chose a theme of ‘unity through different accents’ and ‘self-confidence’ under the umbrella of the international French-language community. Their project was filmed in a casual, walk-through style in the Learning Commons.

For their part, the 8th-grade class embraced a ‘high-tech’ approach, using a drone, filmed outside, and with voice-over audio. Their message is aimed at the importance of recognizing the shared community of the French-speaking community around the world, no matter skin color, orientation, religion, current events or other cultural facets.

I’m very proud of the energy, enthusiasm and quality of work that these students brought to their projects. The organization will announce the winners in April.

For more information about the contest, please visit : http://www.francophoniedesameriques.com/slame/

 

The 6th graders took a cultural microscope to the different regions of France, each choosing a region of the Hexagon and shining the spotlight on and outlining notable facts for each. If you are looking for any fun + tasty recipes to try over the Spring break, have a look at their posters for guidance! 

Our 4th and 5th graders have prepared their third round of letters to their friends in France. It has been an incredible experience to see the connection grow between these classes on both sides of the Atlantic as the school year has evolved. This project strengthens not only vocabulary use, sentence structure, talking about oneself, asking questions and letter writing, but more importantly, it brings the ‘human element’ into our French language learning experience. The children have been able to establish a relationship with their PenPals and with the Ecole Montessori d’Uzès since September; learning more about ‘a day in the life’ of their pen-friends, both personally and academically. Through these letters, here are some of our takeaways : we were all saddened to hear of the tragic deaths by fox of two of their school chickens, Le Chef and Flash, 🙁 we were intrigued to learn of shared interests in Harry Potter books and favorite flavors of ice cream, and felt a general curiosity and interest about the importance of the celebration of Carnevale in France.

I welcome you all to visit the French classroom in Ryan 22 to see our PenPal board, read the letters and see the beautiful drawings done by our PenPal friends.

Our Kindergarten and grades 1-2 friends are starting to prepare for the performance of a classic French song at the Spring concert. More on that to come!!

Best wishes to everyone for a safe and fun Spring vacation.

Bien cordialement,

Mme. Daire

P.s.. check out the BCD photo album to see some pictures of our continued adventures in French!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y8axH9vNz9NtJCs57

By |2019-03-15T12:43:41-04:00March 15th, 2019|

Mois de la Francophonie, How Will We Celebrate at BCD?

Bonjour tout le monde!

What is the Mois de la Francophonie, you ask? The goal of La Francophonie Month, organized each year around the world, is to promote the French language in the context of cultural diversity, as well as to support dialogue and bringing together people, groups and communities interested in the Francophonie. 33 million people in the Americas live and radiate the French language around them.

We will celebrate La Francophonie Month at BCD in several ways, starting off with a crepe-making ‘atelier’ on Friday, February 1, with grades 4-8. My husband & local chef, Benjamin, will help us to assemble our ingredients and share the technique to making a perfectly thin and delicious crepe! …more details to follow, to be distributed by email per grade.

Another way in which students will celebrate Francophonie month is by participating in an international ‘Slam poetry’ competition, called Slame tes Accents’.  Through this competition, the Center of Francophonie des Ameriques aims “to highlight the diversity of French accents hosted by the Americas, to highlight the vitality and dynamism of the Francophonie of the Americas and stimulate interest in the Francophonie by demonstrating to students the power of words. Whether French is your second or mother tongue, whether you are starting out or perfecting it, display your accents and make them vibrate in video form!”

With grades 7 and 8, we will create a video of 60 to 90 seconds. Our class slam must integrate some 15 proposed words. This is an opportunity to celebrate the richness, vitality, and diversity of the French language during the month of the Francophonie. 

Here are some objectives of the competition, which we will approach in a way that best represents our Francophone culture at BCD and our school community! …

Stimulate interest in the Francophonie of the Americas in educational institutions.

Generate the pride of speaking French and belonging to the Francophonie family.

Engage students in their learning of French.

Demonstrate the evocative power of slam.

Develop written and oral skills in French.

Among the many prizes offered is the chance to win a visit to the school by Mathieu Lippé, a popular artist, singer, and slam poet from Quebec who has enjoyed great success among young people with his “contagious” dynamism. His visit, in the form of a creative workshop, will certainly help stimulate and promote student interest in the French language.

For more information about this engaging and inspiring educational challenge, please follow the link; http://www.francophoniedesameriques.com/slame/

Best,

Mme. Daire

 

 

 

 

 

By |2019-01-24T13:51:08-04:00January 24th, 2019|

Grade 6 Service Learning, Guest Speaker

Last Friday afternoon, the 6th grade welcomed a guest speaker to the steps of the Learning Commons, where for nearly an hour, an inspirational and moving conversation around the topic of mental health and bullying was led. These are areas the 6th Grade is exploring during the investigative phase of their service learning project this year.

Wayne Soares, an actor, author, and inspirational speaker, spoke to the class about the importance of taking the time to help someone who may be in trouble, someone who may be in need of help. He spoke to the value of how a simple action, like smiling at someone, asking how they are doing, etc. can make a monumental difference in their life.

Throughout his presentation, which included motivational, humorous, and loving stories, Mr. Soares told of his own personal experience with bullying and how he was able to “get over the hump” of being teased in his youth. Many of these stories are easy to relate to, as any one of us may have been involved or may have witnessed a similar situation throughout the course of our lives. Mr. Soares provided the class with the message of how we can make a difference in the lives of others through words and actions. At the core of his message: it only takes a few seconds to make a person’s day a little bit better.

Throughout the presentation, the 6th graders were interested and engaged and posed excellent questions.

It was an informational and heart-warming experience for us all (students as well as adults!) and serves as a gentle reminder of our role as global citizens, and in what ways, no matter how small or superficial they may seem, each individual can help to make our world a better place through our words and actions.

Later that afternoon, Mr. Soares delivered a broad anti-bullying presentation to Grades 3-8. Once again, we related to and laughed along with his very human stories.

Please follow the link below to see a short video and more pictures from the 6th Grade visit with Mr. Soares.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/L2XiqojGo8hnVhZ5A

Best,
Mme. Daire

 

 

 

By |2018-12-10T13:30:41-04:00December 10th, 2018|

Grades 4 & 5 French PenPal project continues!

Bonjour à tous!

Today I received a lovely package in the mail containing the first responses from our French PenPals in France! I’m looking forward to sharing the letters, drawings, and photos with the class tomorrow.

The school that we are exchanging letters with this year is located in Uzès, France. It is a smaller school than BCD, started just three years ago. There are two classes; elementary age from 6-10 with 10 students and the middle school class with 20 students.

This is the first year where they have introduced English language studies into their curriculum.

Here is a link to the school’s website:

At the moment they are learning about the first human beings and mushrooms, so have included some of that in their letters – my idea for our next letter to them is to on the theme of the end of the year holidays in the United States. I will encourage each student to write about how they celebrate with their family and friends.

We will also write to them about Thanksgiving and our special tradition of ‘Soup’ at BCD.

The Head of their school has asked if with our next letter each student could include a photo of themselves? If you would like your child to send a photo with their next letter, please send one into school with them next week.

We will have our second letters in the mail by Friday, December 7th, so that they arrive in France before the students leave for the holiday break.

I look forward to the evolution of our PenPal exchange with the French students this year, and to the evolution of our own student’s skills in writing, reading and understanding French!

Best,

Madame Daire

***Please visit the French 2018-2019 photo album for pictures from class!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y8axH9vNz9NtJCs57

 

By |2019-04-09T09:02:24-04:00November 29th, 2018|

First round of letters ‘en route’ to our penpals in France!

Our grade 4 and 5 French students have just sent their first letters to our penpals in France!

I have organized this Penpal exchange with the Montessori School of Uzès, a bilingual school in a picturesque village in the South of France.

Throughout the coming year, we will build on our correspondence with Madame Dubreuil’s class; we will write our letters in French, building our vocabulary and sentence structure, and including a couple of short sentences or questions in English at the end of each one; the French students will do the inverse!

It promises to be an enriching and fun project for our students to embark on. They will see their French skills be put ‘into action’ and see their growth in the language throughout the year, all the while, learning about the life of students their age in France. It will provide a glance into the culture of adolescents across the ocean.

The Montessori School in Uzès is as enthusiastic as I am about this partnership. Mme. Dubreuil (headmaster and elementary school teacher) writes;

“‘I’m so enthousiaste!! this is going to be a wonderful experience for our elementary children, open their eyes on another culture, get to know children from another country. Thank you so much for contacting us and going on with this adventure!”

Here is a link to their school website; http://www.montessori-uzes.com/

Please follow the link below to the album of photos from French class, where you will see the students at work on their letters!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y8axH9vNz9NtJCs57

Best,

Mme. Daire

By |2018-10-04T08:47:41-04:00October 4th, 2018|

At Berkshire Country Day School,
we value connection.

Tell us a little more about you and your child so we can connect and learn more about what you are looking for in a school.