About Mary Daire

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So far Mary Daire has created 23 blog entries.

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+00:00December 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:

http://www.montessori-uzes.com/

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 |2018-11-29T11:43:33+00:00November 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+00:00October 4th, 2018|

Always Enhancing French Classes—And a Win!

Bonjour et bienvenue to the 2018-2019 school year!

Over the summer, I spent time preparing materials for the new year. I tapped into new resource providers, like the publisher Bayard-Milan, and I am looking forward to implementing new resources in partnership with what is currently in circulation for native-speaking students in France. I’ve built on my visit last Spring to the International School of Boston (ISB), a bilingual French-American school, have reviewed my notes, and am bringing new ideas into play this year throughout the various grade levels here at BCD. While visiting ISB, I spent the day shadowing French teachers in different grade levels, 1st through 5th, to get a firsthand account of a day in the life of a French immersion school.

Reading in the target foreign language is a pillar in strengthening a student’s aptitude and comprehension. In French class at BCD, I will continue to include French stories and French language educational magazines into daily classwork, which will encourage the students to learn about themselves, the world around them, and about expressing their unique personality … in French!

In keeping with my goal of encouraging reading in French, earlier this summer I applied for a grant through the French Consulat General in Boston. https://boston.consulfrance.org/-English-

The grant was titled “The Magic of Reading in French; ” its goal is to bring free books to children enrolled in French classes in both public and private schools across New England. The objectives of this fund are to:

  1. Trigger children’s curiosity for French language and culture;
  2. Expand kids’ French language skills – all under the guise of having fun with French books;
  3. Improve and strengthen existing French tracks.

And…drum roll please…

On a gagné! We won! 

When I arrived on campus last Friday, I found four big cardboard boxes full of brand new French books for BCD! These 70 books will contribute greatly to our school’s French-language literature resources which will be used in French class across the grade levels. I also encourage students and parents to borrow books as often as they’d like to read at home.

The different resources and the experiences I refer to in this post, combined with the enriching, culturally appropriate, and level-appropriate novels and multimedia tools we currently use in my curriculum, will help enable the continued discovery and encouragement toward the enjoyment of literature in French at BCD.

I hope that you have all had a fun summer! I, along with my colleagues, are so happy to welcome you back to the BCD campus this week, or to campus for the first time if you are a new student and family! Here’s to a great year!

A bientot,
Madame Daire

               

 

By |2018-09-06T11:58:56+00:00September 4th, 2018|

8th grade French class read-aloud to Kindergarten

Yesterday was yet another example of the loving and supportive student-community that exists here at Berkshire Country Day School.

The 8th grade French class read-aloud their original short-stories, the final project in their 8th grade  French curriculum, which they composed entirely in French, to the TK/Kindergarten class.

It was an adorable show of affection from the oldest students in the school in front of their young peers. The 8th graders came to life in front of the class, animating their stories and sharing the excitement of what was happening in their novellas with the Kindergarten, helping them to understand through intonation and by showing their artwork, to then explain the storyline English after they had completed reading aloud.

Each 8th grader shared the moral of their story, important life lessons like the importance of saying thank you, to never giving up on a dream, to not taking things without asking, to fostering an adventurous spirit.

There were tales of a rabbit and farmer forming a friendship over the creation of a carrot patch, a lonely shark who finally makes a friend at his school under the sea, a frog who couldn’t jump but realized he was really good at running, and an unlikely friendship formed between a mouse and a baker sharing a cherry pie.

I am extremely proud of the effort and care that the 8th graders put into their stories.

Please take the opportunity to see the stories displayed on the board between the two language classrooms in the Ryan building!

*Check out the BCD Flickr page for more pictures of the students reading aloud.

Best,

Madame Daire

 

 

By |2018-05-30T08:55:31+00:00May 30th, 2018|

7th Grade French Invité Spécial

On Monday May 21 I had the pleasure of introducing my 7th grade French students to my father-in-law, Philippe Daire, who is currently visiting from France.

Philippe was born in Paris in 1934, and was 5 years old when World War II broke out in Europe.

He spent 40 minutes with our class telling the students about his childhood, how his mother had to send him to ‘La France Libre’ (Southwest France) where the German army had not yet claimed control, to live with his grandparents, as Paris fell to the German army in 1940. For more than 5 years of his early childhood, he was seperated from his parents; he barely knew his mother, as she had to remain in Paris to work, while his father, Maurice Daire, a member of the French army, was taken as a prisoner of war and was held for several years in a German work camp in Austria.

Philippe was 11 years old when he saw his father again.

Philippe’s father-in-law, Roger Leduc, was a member of the French Résistance movement, and he spoke to the way that this collection of civilian “soldiers” fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during the Second World War. He told the students how English bombers would fly over the channel and drop military rations by parachute to the Résistance troups hiding deep in the forests of France.

It was a unique and rare experience to be able to hear a firsthand account of life in France during World War II, to learn how his life was affected, starting with what a child would notice the most… a shortage of chocolate, to the more severe and debilitating results of the war such as food & coal rationing, to clothing rationing, as with each year supplies grew more scarce and prices grew higher. Young French men were sent to Germany for STO (service de travail obligatoire) to run the German factories and be their work force … and for men such as Philippe’s father-in-law who decided not to join the STO to instead become become freedom fighters/ aka La Resistance who answered the call of General DeGaulle to fight behind the lines of the German occupied France in the effort to sabotage and slow down their forces.

Philippe shared with the students his emotions, the emotions that he can remember, of feeling utterly hopeless in the face of the German army, to the glimmer of hope that arrived in the form of American ‘flying air-fortresses’ that could be heard flying high above France in 1944 & 1945.

Visite – Philippe Daire

The students prepared questions to ask Philippe at the end of his presentation, ranging from inquiries regarding his personal experience of growing up during the war, to whether or not he had ever met a Nazi. He told of his encounter with a young German soldier in the streets of his village in the La France ‘libre’, one who was barely 18 years old, how through a child’s eyes the man seemed normal and kind, but how the terrifying reality of why he was in France and what he was a part of would haunt him for the rest of his life.

I feel that our students found Philippe’s visit to be enlightening and special, as with each day, month and year that pass our world sees fewer and fewer survivors of World War II.

I hope that they will remember his words in the years to come as they begin to study WW II in more depth in their Upper School and High School history classes.

Madame Daire

 

 

By |2018-05-22T13:52:34+00:00May 22nd, 2018|

6th grade service learning . . . the fun continues!

On the morning of April 30th the 6th grade welcomed our third and final guest speaker for the schoolyear in our Service Learning theme of Animal Rights, Jennifer Leahey from the local non-profit,  ‘Nature Matters’. Nature Matters Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit which fosters the understanding and appreciation for our natural world, and the need for its conservation, through direct experiences with animals and the outdoors.

Mrs. Leahey spoke to the class about her work as a wildlife rehabilitator and educator, and had several furry and feathered friends on hand for us to meet and observe!

Through her presentation we learned of the path that she took to create this impactful and original organization. Mrs. Leahey is a licensed animal educator in the state of Massachsetts, in fact, her particular license was created specifically for her as had never existed in the state before! She is an example of what one can do when we set our minds and hearts to a cause and follow through with dedication and perseverance. Her presentation was inspirational and informative, and helps the students to see and learn first hand the difference that an individual with determination can do and make in this world.

Here are some of the memorable experiences from her visit . . .

We met Kenny the skunk, who was born domesticated and thus can’t be released into the wild. Kenny now spends his day with the Leahey family and is part of Nature Matters in educating children on wildlife and their habits.

We were also lucky to meet Otto, an adult red-tailed hawk, who was hit by a car and suffered a brain injury that has left half of his body paralyzed. Otto wouldn’t survive in the wild, so lives in captivity at the Leahey Farm in Lee. It was amazing being able to see him up close, being an animal we normally only see from afar.

She brought three different species of turtles including a Russian tortoise that was raised in capitivity and his owner no longer could care him – we also met a baby snapping turtle that was found in a shopping center parking lot.

Jennifer brought a 15-day old pigeon that was born in captivity and helps to educate children on the unique relationship and important role that pigeons play and have played with humans throughout history.

Each of these endearing encounters with the animals was an up close and personal view of domestic and wild animals in the mission to educate the students on the importance of respecting and understanding them and their natural environment. 

Mrs. Leahey’s visit was an enlightening and exciting way to wrap up our year-long Service Learning project, on which the 6th graders have been working tirelessly, with our different initiatives such as bake sales and animal food and supply drives.

Throughout our entire Service Learning project, an underlying theme has been surrounding the education and understanding of animals, and what is required when we commit to having animals in our lives. All three of our guests emphasized this aspect of education and interaction with animals.

It is an important lesson to instill in the students and will help them to make conscious decisions about their role in the lives of animals in the future, whether directly, through family pets, or indirectly, in encounters with wildlife.

For more information about Nature Matters, please visit the Facebook page  to learn more about the organization and it’s impact in our community! Jennifer also hosts after-school programs in the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons. Please inquire for more details!

Enjoy this sunny day!

Best, Madame Daire 

https://www.facebook.com/naturemattersinc/

http://www.leaheyfarm.com/

By |2018-05-02T08:36:42+00:00May 2nd, 2018|

BCD French Students at county-wide poetry recital competition!

Bonjour à tous!

On Tuesday March 6th, four students from BCD participated in a foreign language poetry recital, along with more than 50 students from schools all over Berkshire County.

Three eighth graders and one seventh grader committed to memorizing a poem in French, and then recited the poem in front of their peers, teachers, and two judges.

There were students from four world language disciplines represented yesterday; French, Spanish, Chinese, and Latin, from beginner level to native-speaker level.

Some of the poems that our students memorized include; ‘Composition Francaise’ recited by Jack B., and ‘Le Bouquet’ recited by Anje C., both by Jacques Prévent, ‘En Arles’ by Paul-Jen Toulot and recited by Sean S., and ‘J’ai Fait Un Bouquet’ by Gilles Vigneault, recited by Halle D.

Students were judged on several criteria including memorization, pronounciation and intonation.

Anje C. took home 1st prize in his level, for a flawless recital of his chosen poem, ‘Le Bouquet.’

I am very proud of the initiative and dedication that all four students they showed in memorizing and reciting their chosen poems!

The poetry assembly was organized and sponsored by B.O.L.T, the Berkshire Organization of Language Teachers, a local organization which “provides a community and quality professional development for world language educators since 1982.”

I am looking forward to another strong BCD performance in 2020, as the competition is held every two years.

Best,

Madame Daire

 

By |2018-03-07T16:17:43+00:00March 7th, 2018|

Gr. 7 French & Spanish classes combining our forces!

Bonjour, hola everyone!

Senor Silva and myself, Madame Daire, wish to share with you a bit of what our 7th grade world language students are up to!

For the past month, the students in each class have been working on their individual ‘voyage’ ‘viaje’ projects in which they each created a slideshow and spoke about where they went, what they did, saw, ate, etc.

Those initial presentations were done in each class, individually.

Today, we brought the two classes together so that the students from each language class could present their trips to each other.

The idea of exposing the students in a full language immersion experience, to hear a presentation in a language that they do not know and are not familiar with, creates an environment where language is celebrated and recognized by both the specific language learners and those that are entirely new to the language.

The students can see the similarities between the two foreign languages, and the English language. Seeing the cognates, the context and expressions used help them to understand the ‘jist’ of what is being said.

The connection between images and the spoken word are also important tools in any language learning experience.

They also have a taste of what it is like to teach their classmates a language!

We will continue our dual presentations which will hopefully start to build excitement for our 9th grade trip to France and Spain in 2020, which is the cherry on top of the Word Language program at Berkshire Country Day School.

Cordialement / Sinceramente ,

Madame Daire & Senor Silva

 

By |2018-02-28T15:16:39+00:00February 28th, 2018|

6th Grade Service Learning 2017-2018, Animal Rights

The sixth grade has decided upon the theme of animal rights for their yearlong service learning project. Yesterday, we wrapped up our second guest speaker presentation with a visit from Jody Chiquoine, owner and operator of Fitter Critters ‘Aqua Paws.’ Fitter Critters is a physical rehabilitation and indoor aquatic center with programs for dogs, located in Lee. Jody also volunteers for the rescue organization Northeast Pyr Rescue, an all-volunteer non-profit dedicated to providing compassionate, coordinated and comprehensive rescue services for Great Pyrenees dogs throughout the Northeast.

Jody spoke to the class for over an hour about the work she does, explaining how and, most importantly, why she has dedicated so much time and energy to the well-being of dogs in need. She not only informed us of the day-to-day reality of what she and the Northeast Pyr Rescue organization do, but she also spoke to greater life-lessons, such as the importance of making responsible choices when it comes to adopting a pet, the importance of spaying and neutering, as well as the different types of breeders. Her take-home message was this: Remember that every breed of dog was bred do something specific, whether it is herding animals, hunting, etc. It is our responsibility to be educated and select the right kind of dog for our lifestyle and our interests. The adoption of a dog is the choice of a new family member for the entire life of that animal, so it should not be done lightly. It’s a different kind of homework than what the sixth grade is used to!

I think I can speak for Mr. Oakes and the students when I say that we all learned a lot from Jody. It was a great full-circle tie-in to our theme of animal rights, brought home to us with photos of Oscar, Mr. and Mrs. Oakes’ Great Pyrenees, who was rescued by Jody and Northeast Pyr Rescue.

In December, we hosted our first guest speaker, Jerry, a local horse rescuer from Rocking R Farm in Pittsfield. I made Jerry’s acquaintance, as my parents live just up the street from Rocking R Farm. I love to walk down to the farm with my children and visit the horses. Jerry spoke to the class about her lifelong mission to rescue and care for horses. She has loved horses since she was a little girl, and now, 60 years later, she has many inspiring stories that she shared with the students. It was an eye-opening presentation from a passionate and lively, self-proclaimed ‘horse warrior.’ To date, Jerry has saved dozens of horses from slaughter. Her mission has been focused on wild mustangs from the Midwest that are being rounded up and taken off of government lands and shipped to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada. She spoke to us of the nationwide rescue group, of which she is a member, and how she has come to save the lives of these horses that were destined for slaughter. Not only did she speak of her role in rescuing these wild horses, she also told us about how she has helped neglected and abused horses and race horses, as well. Jerry works full-time as a local healthcare provider, on the overnight shift, so that she can care for her horses during the day. Jerry is a great example of the real change one person can make through dedication and passion. We hope to visit Rocking R Farm this spring to see Jerry in action and meet her family of mustang horses.

Our two guest speakers helped to provide inspiration and real-life examples of people who dedicate their lives to the well-being of animals. They showed us the difference that one individual can make when she puts her mind to it.

Stay tuned for more information about the project our class has been planning!

Best,

Madame Daire & Mr. Oakes

By |2018-02-06T09:18:25+00:00February 5th, 2018|