Welcome April

Dear Families,

The 3rd trimester is up and running!

In Social Studies we have begun to incorporate all we have learned about map skills into our Create-A-State projects. Each student has created their own state and will construct a physical map, a road map, a landmark map, a downtown map, a map of regions and products and finally a history and a flag. We will invite you all to see the finished work later in May.

In Math class, we are continuing to practice simplifying fractions and finding equivalent fractions. We are also measuring with yardsticks and rulers and figuring out what all those little lines on the ruler really mean. Are we as tall as our arm span? Would I measure this table with a yardstick or a ruler?

In ELA we have finished up The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. The timelines projects came in today. Everyone shared their work and were duly proud of it. We have begun our final book of the year, Locomotion by Jacquline Woodson.

As you can see from classroom photos taken throughout the year, we use a combination of collaborative and independent learning in all our classes. I believe students need skills in both working in a team, and solving problems independently. Part of my job is to determine when to use each of these strategies and give them opportunities for both. Social Studies is often a great time to work cooperatively with atlases, answering questions about landforms, determining latitudes, labeling rivers and adding cardinal points. Opportunities abound in ELA and Math classes as well.

Before we start a new project I am often asked, “Can we work together?” Yesterday, we had an interesting discussion about the pros and cons of working collaboratively. Here are some of the comments: ” If you give someone the answer then they’ll never know it themselves for a quiz”, “Sometimes it’s helpful to work with someone else because they can show you a new way or a strategy for figuring something out you would never have thought of”, ” Sometimes you can give hints, or just guide them”, “It’s fun”, ” I like to work alone because sometimes I work at a slower pace” and “I like it when we come up with different answers and compare what you did.” It helped me explain to them why sometimes it works and sometimes, it doesn’t!

Finally, there a few snaps from last week when the class was receiving the first copy of The Penguin Press. In case you don’t know, that is our new in-house newspaper. In-house, in that it is totally written, edited and created by the class. I’m just the copier and that’s fine with me! If you haven’t seen a copy, just ask. It’s worth a read.

Finally, in backpacks tomorrow (Friday) I will be sending home the final paperwork/forms that have to be signed and returned for the trip to the Boston Museum of Science. If they could come back on Tuesday, that would be helpful.

Thanks to Dan and Angelica for a fabulous Taco Tuesday Lunch Bunch!

Have a great weekend,

Katharine

To view photos in Google Photo, click this link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cZb8Zs5HYF4Cpo5C7

By |2019-04-12T12:55:58-04:00April 12th, 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|

4th grade Welcomes Parents and Friends

Dear Families,

Thank you all for making the time to come in for conferences. It is so helpful to share their learning, their strengths, weaknesses and to join in common goals.

The slide shows below illustrate some of the fun of our Valentine’s Day party (thanks for those goodies, parents!), and our visit time with parents and friends as well.

Also, I quickly photographed their thank you cards to the folks at High Lawn Farm, because each and everyone was so terrific I didn’t want them to be forgotten.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/YvJ6YmJ6E5p3sG5L7

https://photos.app.goo.gl/syy6qMpXYpc8oKh69

Next week begins the 3rd and final trimester of the year! The only difference, besides curricular, is that they add a shop class to their schedule and I lose them to that once a week. They are duly excited to head up to the shop and work with Mr. Katz to create, build, hammer, nail, and glue!

Have a great weekend,

Katharine

 

By |2019-03-01T14:35:51-04:00March 1st, 2019|

4th Grade’s High Lawn Farm Trip/ Service Learning/Farm to Plate

Dear Parents,

I just wanted to share some of the shots from our trip to High Lawn Farm in Lenox this past week. It was part of our Service Learning curriculum on Farm to Fork…just how does our food get to our plates? Why is that important for us to know and how can we share that information to make our world a better place?

To be able to see first hand the amazing operation they have there really strengthened our understanding of the Food Supply chain. We saw the Farmer, Processor, Distributor steps all in one place. Later that afternoon we studied the paths of apples, chickens and peanut butter, where they are grown and how they are processed and distributed to the stores.

Josh Needleman of Chocolate Springs in Lenox has invited the class to come in for a discussion of the many steps that chocolate takes- from the cocoa tree to our taste buds. (He asked to wait until his busy time is over, so we will head there after Easter sometime.)

It’s important for kids to know where their food comes from so they have more of an appreciation for food and farmers,” said Alexa Fiszer, a lead environmental educator at Common Ground. [An urban farm/educational center in Connecticut.] “This [appreciation] often helps evolve kids’ understanding of the food production system and the ways in which it has evolved over the course of history.”

I want them to remember that everything comes from somewhere, and often many hands are needed along the way to get it there.

Also included in the slide show are some shots of work being done on our Tall Tales and using fraction strips to help with the concept of equivalent fractions.

There is a video of our recitation of MLK’s I Have A Dream Speech, you may have to turn up the volume for that one. What a great job they did with that, they have set a pretty high bar for next year’s class.

Finally, please send in a set of dry clothes. These warm days often create a muddy mess. Indoor shoes, sneakers or slippers as well – some kids are wearing their heavy snow boots all day.

The class and I are looking forward to seeing some of you for Bring a Parent to School Day next week & Happy Valentines’ Day to ALL!

 

Best, Katharine

https://photos.app.goo.gl/1qHotcttg945TXkr5

By |2019-02-08T10:03:50-04:00February 8th, 2019|

Tall Tales and Long Division/January 2019

Dear Families,

Now that we have finished reading Maniac Magee we can recognize it as a Tall Tale. Not that it shares all the elements, but certainly enough to qualify. We’ve been reading them, from Pecos Bill to Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind and just this morning, Mr. Fawett invited us up to listen to some early American Folk Songs, many of which tell a Tall Tale. Soon we will craft and write our own.

In Social Studies we are deep into completing our USA maps; identifying oceans, lakes, mountains, rivers states and their capitals, understanding time zones, longitude and latitude and defining geographic terms. Finally, they shade the different regions and create their own unique maps that share the correct information displayed as they choose.

We will share our recitation of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream Speech this Tuesday morning with the rest of the Middle School. We have reviewed some of the more difficult vocabulary and geography as well as watched and discussed the speech; when it was given, why and the continuing impact it has on our country. I will tape it and put that up in my next blog.

Finally, long division/zeros in the quotient have been relatively painless for this group and we will be moving onto fractions and decimals shortly.

Thank you, Christina and Amanda, for our delicious lunch bunch of last week. Always a special and appreciated treat for the class.

Also, if you haven’t already, please send in a set of dry clothes and some inside shoes. Pants and shirts get wet this time of year. Also, it helps our classroom rug if we’re not tracking salt and snow from the outside.

As you know, the ERB’s will be happening next week, the first two periods of Monday-Thursday, with Friday as a make-up day if necessary. I might shift the schedule a bit to make up for some lost periods but otherwise,  there is really nothing special to do to prepare, except for a good night’s sleep and that works for everything!

The slide show below includes some shots from Open Book Quizzes, USA map work, some math work in the Distance Lab and of course, the ever-popular Lunch Bunch!

Best, Katharine

https://photos.app.goo.gl/J6wudWftFYzTBf2q7

 

 

By |2019-01-25T10:23:19-04:00January 25th, 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|

An Engaged and Enthusiastic end to 2018 in 4th grade.

Dear All,

The slideshows below contain a lot of classroom activity from these past busy weeks.

Particularly moving for me was the exchange of Holiday cards, where each student exchanged a creative card with a positive, encouraging thought about another classmate. Each one was made with care and thought and meant a great deal to each recipient.

I hope the enthusiasm for playing the Prime Climb numbers game and deciphering Pascal’s Triangle is evident in the short videos. Supplementing our math curriculum with these problem-solving challenges has been great for the class to make the connections and see the patterns that are so important for building a solid foundation in mathematical understanding.

A short video is also attaching showing an activity from our Community/Service Learning morning earlier in December. As you know we have been studying our Food System. Our food – where does it come from, how does it get to us and why does it matter? The video tries to show the class putting cards in the correct order that showed how an apple from Washington State gets from the field to our plate. Our conversation that day has led to our upcoming trip to High Lawn Farm in Lenox later in January. To see a modern day dairy farm and how it produces and distributes the products we enjoy will augment our earlier visit to Hawthorne Valley Farm. How lucky we are to live where we do!

Finally, I cannot thank you all enough for your generous and, oh so, delicious Holiday gift. My cup runneth over with all those goodies that I would rarely ever get for myself – a great gift, as this class is for me.

Have a wonderful, restful and Happy Holiday!

p.s. If you do travel, I did ask the students to send a postcard to the class – 4th grade/BCD/PO Box 867/Lenox, MA 01240. Thanks.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/7GdpgPVHgAJEznaX9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ME3qWp4mtbK95KBV8

 

 

 

By |2018-12-21T12:24:11-04:00December 21st, 2018|

4th grade bids adieu to their 1st trimester

Dear Families,

It really has been a great trimester. We had a small celebration at the end of the day, along with a big cubby and classroom clean out. We are putting world geography on the back burner and moving on to the USA. We discussed that geography is not only defined as the study of the physical features of the earth but how people affect those features and how they are affected by them. Our physical maps are divided into my regions as well.

We have started reading, Maniac Magee, which I’m happy to say is awash with similes, metaphors and plenty of challenging vocabulary.

In Math, the kids have been working on a Prime Climb game. Effortful but some of the best fun in math class so far. Please ask them how it works and what they think they learned from doing it. We will start tackling double-digit division next week.

I was delighted the EVERYONE had snow pants the other day. Hallelujah!  Could you also send in a bag with a set of dry clothes as well, despite best efforts, wet clothes can really ruin a school day.

Also, please don’t let the students do their homework in pen. Pencils only, please.

The slideshow below includes some shots from our trip to the Colonial, working to complete our last World Geography maps, some collaborative work on the Prime Climb game, a few shots from Thanksgiving Soup and a new arrangement for the categories “Instead of” and “Try Thinking” from our Growth Mindset poster.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/8HHkNRGMyBQ4hSGo6

Happy Weekend to all!

Katharine

 

By |2018-11-30T15:47:27-04:00November 30th, 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|

Gleaning and other purposeful work in Grade 4

Dear Families,

As part of our Service Learning program, the class had a wonderful, cold, rainy, memorable morning gleaning bok choy and turnips at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent last Monday. Jill Duffy helped organize the trip, joined us and, along with Declan, welcomed us up to their home with an outside fire and some of their home-pressed cider. Many thanks to them both. Both Senor Silva and I were pleased to see how fully the class embraced the experience and showed how resilient and engaged they can be.

Inside the classroom we are learning as well! As some of the classroom photos below illustrate, in Social Studies we are working in groups looking for the main idea.  Identifying the main idea of a passage can improve comprehension of all related topics and is a valuable skill that needs to be taught and practiced. We are finishing up our World Maps and getting ready to start our study of US geography. Prime Meridian, International Date Line, hemispheres, physical maps, cardinal directions, Tropic of Capricorn and parallels are some of the new words and concepts that have been discussed in this first trimester.

In Math, Fibonacci numbers, exploring factors, reviewing place value and rounding are laying the groundwork for our current emphasis and practice of multiplication of both 1 and 2 digit numbers.

Before we begin our first novel in ELA class we are working to identify the many Elements of Writing and Literature that form the foundation on which all good writing is built. Everything comes from somewhere, good writing included. Protagonist, theme, simile, and foreshadowing are some of the terms in our notes this week.

The 3rd grade will join next Wednesday for a trip to the Colonial Theatre to see a production of, The Phantom Tollbooth. We will take a bus up to Pittsfield at 9:15 and will be back in time for lunch and recess at school.

Also, try not to forget that we have a lunch bunch, thank you Jen Glockner,  on Tuesday of next week (11/13) when we get back to school. It’s hard to remember them at the start of a week and there’s nothing worse than packing a lunch on those days!

As you can see from the photos, Halloween was a blast – thank you to all of you that sent in goodies and treats and to Dan and Lyndsey for organizing it.

Also, thank you to all who made time to come in for conferences last week.  It’s so helpful when we’re all on the same page about strengths, weaknesses, where we can hold them up and where we can let them go.

I hope the slideshows below give you a better sense of how busy and hardworking we have been.

I will check in before Thanksgiving Soup, a week from next Tuesday! Enjoy the long weekend.

Best, Katharine

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/F6MVYPgJ11HurGZa6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/dNm8zwpwYvA24rfM9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/sJ6boYFSu5mgURB19

By |2018-11-08T15:47:16-04:00November 8th, 2018|