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+00:00November 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:

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|

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+00:00November 8th, 2018|

4th grade, 4th grade burning bright

Dear 4th grade families,

The poetry is continuing to flow beautifully from our classroom and has progressively strengthened with each new poem. Originally we concentrated on line breaks, rhythm and rhyme, but now that we are also emphasizing the importance of word choices, it has opened up a whole new world. We re-read Robert Frost’s, The Pasture and everyone chose one, two or three words that really spoke to them. (The list from the board is included in the slideshow below.) We have banned boring words and the students also shared their poems with each other for word suggestions. They have learned how to use the thesaurus on our classroom shelf, the one on the computer, and most importantly, the one in their heads!

Next week is a bit special as the 5th and 6th graders are away on their trips to Hurlburt and Nature’s Classroom. It will be a bit quieter and we will have a lunch/recess with the 3rd graders on Friday.

As you know, we have a World Geography quiz on Monday. We have discussed different ways to remember Cape of Good Hope vs. Cape Horn, the Iberian Peninsula from the Arabian Peninsula, and I’m told the most challenging is keeping the Atlas and Andes mountains straight. The quiz I give on Monday is one I re-give a couple of times throughout the year, it can take a while to keep it all straight.

 

I know that last night’s math homework was challenging. I usually go over 1 or 2 problem’s in class so they have a foundation from which they can continue. But we were a bit rushed yesterday and they were on their own. I will say that when we reviewed it in class, the different strategies used were fascinating to all, myself included.

I know it is a fine that you walk as to when to help and when to pull back, but last night was definitely a night to help! I never want the kids to get to a point of frustration. I ask for a good 20 minutes of doing their best, and to bring in their questions the next day.

Finally, I want to thank Jill and Julia for a terrific lunch bunch on Thursday! Every student tried, and loved, the delicious bone broth soup along with the noodles and other goodies on the side. It’s rare to get everyone to try something new. Dessert was a perfect treat at the end of the day as well.

There are 2 slideshows attached below- somehow I don’t think I shared the ones from our OMI trip. The other one is just a mishmash of life inside the classroom,  the learning commons, and the garden.

Hope you all get some time outside this weekend,

Best, Katharine

Grade 4 Consecutive Numbers in Learning Commons

Grade 4 OMI Trip

By |2018-10-22T08:40:34+00:00October 19th, 2018|

4th Grade September Classroom Work

Dear Families,

Although it has been a bit gloomy outside, we have been busy in our cozy classroom. Our main focus in Language Arts class has been poetry; the rhythm, sound patterns, meter, and magic that can result from the right mixture of different poetic techniques. 4th graders particularly love the concept of poetic license, where rules of punctuation, capitalization, and spacing on the page all take a back seat to convey the imagery and emotion of the poem in any way the poet chooses. We are starting this unit writing poems inspired by the great poets featured in our book, Love That Dog, using their poetic techniques as a starting point, but with the students continuing with their own thoughts and ideas. It’s helpful to start with some structure before we venture forth with our own ideas and poetic techniques.

In Social Studies we are learning to read an atlas as we identify all the locations necessary to complete our World Maps. Inevitably, the question arises, “Is there anywhere else on earth to explore?”, always an interesting conversation. The skill of using an atlas index and the coordinate points they list is fun practice that dovetails nicely with our work on different graphs in Math class.

(Note: please send in slippers or slip-on inside shoes for the classroom, it’s just a cozy alternative to the heavier boots October’s weather sometimes calls for.)

Finally, thank you for all you are doing to partner with me to make this move to Middle School at BCD one filled with just the right mixture of creativity, discovery, exploration both collaboratively and independently, and an atmosphere that supports critical thinking and learning.

Hopefully, the sun will shine a bit more in October, but it certainly has been in our classroom in Peterson 4.

Best, Katharine

To view photos in Google Photo, click this link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/rLBb2PUasgfyj8aD9

By |2018-10-08T12:36:18+00:00October 8th, 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|

4th Grade Dioramas

Dear Families,

I think (hope) I have mastered the skill of using Google Photos in this blog!

I wanted you to see how thoughtful and respectful the whole class was while listening to their classmates present their dioramas.  They talked not just about how they made their dioramas, but why they chose that scene to illustrate as well as some of their favorite characters.

We will be sharing them at Middle School meeting next Tuesday with the 5th and 6th graders as well.

Enjoy,

Katharine

To view photos in Google Photos click this link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/oCsSr8ZFgg63n6KQ8

 

By |2018-09-19T14:24:50+00:00September 19th, 2018|

4th Grade’s Great First Week

Dear Families,

What a great first week! This class is smart, kind, funny and ready to learn.

It’s a lot of new routines, new classrooms, new teachers, students and expectations. This group has jumped right in.

In Math class we visited the Distance Lab in the Learning Commons, to see how using only 4 4’s and 4 operations, we could create equations to equal numbers 1-20. I am going to introduce Visual Thinking later today for Friday Math classes and we will concentrate on number sense and numeracy a lot these first weeks.

They have taken notes on Poetry terms and techniques, located the 7 continents, spent time with Atlases, decided on Hopes and Dreams for the year ahead, started a new typing/keyboard program, started in either Band or Chorus (next week) played kickball with the rest of the Middle School and much more. They’ve done it with enthusiasm and excitement for the year ahead, just as it should be!

They did a particularly outstanding job of creating Class Rules for the year ahead. Senior Silva joined us for our weekly Advisory period and while we may have guided and synthesized a bit, these were really their rules and we were quite heartened to hear them. Some were, ‘Support your classmates and they learn with positive comments – Be generous of spirit and stuff – We are all different, no judging, no comparing.’

I look forward to seeing those of you that are able to come to Back To School Night next week. If you’re not able to, I will send a packet home the next day with the schedule and some other hand outs. I will give a call to check in with each of you by the end of the month, but if something comes up sooner, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I wish you a Happy and sweet New Year if you’re celebrating, or not!

View the Google Photos to see these fun and busy days: https://photos.app.goo.gl/DQE6JMaAMdp2NRjD6

Best, Katharine

By |2018-09-07T10:47:22+00:00September 7th, 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|

4th Graders plant the garden, Create A State and prepare Portfolios!

Dear Parents,

The 4th graders and the pre-schoolers planted the 2nd annual BCD Garden last week. Ms. Doherty, Ms. Sideropolis, Ms. Junod, Mr. Lee and Mr. Spitzer and the students all worked to make this year’s garden better than ever. If you have time this summer to come in and do some watering and weeding we’d love the help – I sent out sign-up sheets yesterday. Enjoy the photos on the attached slide show.

The class presented their Create-A-State projects in the Learning Commons this morning to the Lower School, families and friends. This project not only speaks to their creativity and imagination, but combines their map skills, writing skills, keyboarding skills and design/layout skills. They each created a physical map, a road map, a regions/resources map, a landmark map, a downtown  map, a history of their state along with a flag that reflected the significant events from their past. I’m not sure which was more fun for them, but I enjoyed shepherding them as they combined their skills and artistry into such a rewarding accomplishment. Thanks to Ms. Kisselbrock for helping with the photos attached.

We also have begun to prepare our year-end portfolios. As you know, throughout the year, the students  would select a few pieces from the work sent home at the end of the week to reflect on. Their reflections answered either; why the work was important to them, what would they want someone to know before looking at it, how they solved it, or how they would improve on it the next time. This process of collecting, selecting, reflecting and evaluating encourages each students sense of responsibility for their own learning, something I have worked to inspire throughout the year. Portfolios will be going home at the end of next week.

If possible, please send in some sturdy canvas bags next week. There are quite a few books to go home and cubby cleaning will  be on going. I will try to trickle things home during the week instead of all at once.

Included in the books will be the 4th grade math review book to help keep their math skills fresh. Please either do a bit each week or wait until later in the summer, – to do them all in June kind of defeats the purpose! And please refer to the BCD summer reading list to keep up with reading as well. As you know I’m a big believer in sending post-cards or letters as a fun way to practice writing/spelling. They can send to a classmate from a far away place.

I can’t begin to tell you how special this class is or how lucky I feel to have had the opportunity to teach them this year. I know each and everyone is going to shine in 5th grade as well.

Happy Summer to all and I hope to see you next week at the all-school picnic on Friday, the 8th!

Katharine

https://www.flickr.com//photos/bcdtech/sets/72157696644079554/show/

https://www.flickr.com//photos/bcdtech/sets/72157694353875072/show/

By |2018-07-10T06:24:17+00:00June 2nd, 2018|