Fifth Grade Winter Update

Dear Parents,

Hope you are all enjoying Spring Break!! Here’s an update on our activities!

History: We completed our study of China this week by taking a closer look at Taoism and Confucianism, and by trying hands at painting on silk. We also began to explore the origins and practices of Islam as a way to provide context for reading I am Malala by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai.

English and Writer’s Workshop: Students enjoyed reading and discussing Bridge to Terabithia as well as viewing the film. We have completed our mini-unit on Word Choice, one of the 7 traits that good writers use. Each student outlined and wrote a process essay with a focus on word choice.

Math: Fractions have been the topic of conversation in math class. We’ve been working with mixed numbers and learning to regroup in order to subtract. Students will continue to explore operations using fractions in April, as well as begin to play with measurement conversions. We had some fun before vacation using fractions to bake chocolate chip cookies. However, in the consumption of these, I must admit there were no fractions of cookies left uneaten!!


Enjoy the slideshow and have a restful break!


By |2019-03-17T08:32:01-04:00March 17th, 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 :


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!

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

Hinduism Exploration in Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade students have been studying the rise of civilization in the regions of the Indus and Ganges Rivers. This week, we focused on the beliefs and practices of the world’s oldest religion, Hinduism. We welcomed Preeti Kedia to our classroom to share with us her practices and beliefs, and to answer our questions. While each student prepared at least 2 thoughtful questions, her visit sparked so many questions that we ran out of time to ask them all.  Students were interested in topics ranging from life cycle rituals of birth, marriage and death to what gods are favored in Mrs. Kedia’s family,  what a Sanskrit prayer sounds like and where she buys all those spices she brought for us to smell!

By |2019-01-26T15:09:30-04:00January 26th, 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;


Mme. Daire






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

Diversity, Ruby Bridges, and Lenny Kravitz’ Black and White America

Dear Parents,

In our advisory this week, and in the spirit of Martin Luther King, we approached the topic of diversity. We began by learning about Ruby Bridges, the brave first grader who was the first black student to be integrated into a public elementary school in 1960 New Orleans. We shared Robert Coles’ The Story of Ruby Bridges and then watched a short documentary. Next, we listened to the music of biracial musician/actor Lenny Kravitz and watched a short interview with him about his experience with discrimination in elementary school.  Students also made the connection with some of the discussions we have had about literacy and fair access to educational resources in our Reader To Reader class. We talked about the need for sensitivity around race and diversity, and about how we want to be careful about not judging others based on skin color or other superficial criteria.

Here are the links:






By |2019-01-23T13:45:04-04:00January 23rd, 2019|

Grade Five Update


Dear Parents!

Happy 2019! It is great to be back at school. We are off to a busy and exciting start. We welcome new student Danny and his parents, Elise and Jim,  to Fifth Grade. Hopefully, you will all have a chance to meet the family at Ski Fridays.

Here’s an update on all of our adventures!

History: We have left Egypt in the dust, so to speak, and have moved east to the Indus Valley. Here we are learning about the origins of the Harrapan civilization and the birth of Hinduism. Students have been taking a closer look at the geography of this region along with how archeologists have been excavating the ancient cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa which are located in modern-day Pakistan. This week we examined the Harrapan writing (still not deciphered), as well as the mystery surrounding the demise of the Indus Valley cities. Students were asked to read independently on a topic using a BBC website and write a summary of the facts in their own words. They also had a quiz on the geography of the region. We will be learning about Hinduism and its origins next.

English: Our newest novel is Linda Sue Park’s Newbery-Award-winning novel, A Single Shard. Set in 12th century Korea, this book ties in directly with our upcoming study of Buddhism and the class’ current arts offering, ceramics. Students will be doing more reading and writing on their own this term, using this book as the point of departure. Our weekly spelling tests have resumed. Please remind your student that parts of speech and meanings are also required. I have been encouraging everyone to use Monday nights to make flashcards for this reason.  In Grammar, we are working on the concepts of direct objects and categories of verbs.

Writer’s Workshop: We now honing on the trait of VOICE in writing. Last week, we shared Sharon Teague’s humorous and lively story, Dear Mrs. LaRue. This led to a discussion of the strategies that can be used to convey a range of literary voices. Students had the opportunity to participate in 3 different creative writing activities to showcase voice in writing:

Math: Last week was our introduction to double-digit divisor long division. Students will be practicing this skill, as well as learning to divide with money this week. In addition, they have begun the Math Mall project. Each student will be creating a “store” in a virtual mall with items to sell and a set of math questions. This project is meant not only to be a creative and engaging way to develop math skills, but it also serves to allow the student to be in the role of teacher by crafting math problems and an answer key. If you would like to child to review, we are in Chapter 5. There will be a test next week on this chapter.

Some students are still quite rusty on their 12s and 11s. Before the break, I asked everyone to brush up on these facts. These should be automated. On Tuesday, I gave a timed short quiz. Students that have not yet mastered their facts will be asked to stay on top of this, and I will requiz again next week.

Advisory: We used our first advisory of the year to reflect on our report cards, and set some personal goals for the next trimester (academic and social). And this week, we took an opportunity during advisory to get to know our newest member of the Fifth Grade Family, Danny!

Helpful Hints:

  • PTR is due February 7.
  • Please try and have your child here at 7:55 each day. Our homeroom opens at 7:50 and the students need time to get organized.
  • Some students have been forgetting to print their papers at home. Please help them by making sure that you have toner/paper ready to go.
  • Students need boots and snow pants in order to play in the snow at recess, so please send these in.


Thank you for all that you do to support your student. I really appreciate it.

Let me know if you have any questions!









By |2019-01-09T16:20:27-04:00January 9th, 2019|

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!


Madame Daire

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


By |2018-11-29T11:43:33-04:00November 29th, 2018|

Grade Five Update


Dear Parents,

Here’s an update on all of our academics!

History: We’ve transitioned from the Middle Kingdom the New. This week we will be taking a closer look at Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh who had a lasting impact on Egyptian culture. We will also present the research projects that the students complete in pairs last week.  These projects involved researching a god or goddess and learning how to complete a bibliography and to rephrase facts to avoid plagiarism. The students showed cooperation and creativity in crafting their posters. Each group will be graded using a rubric provided at the beginning of the project.

Math: We have been working with multiplication concepts. Students are expected to know their 12s. Some students need to be practicing at home; please check in with your child or with me if there is a concern. We’re building upon our previous lessons in estimation and decimals by learning different strategies for multiplying across decimals and working with digits up to three numbers. In class, students have been spending a lot of time working on word problems and math puzzles that help them to develop their problems solving skills and foster a growth mindset. These puzzles are not designed to be solved in a single step or even during a single attempt and require students to play around with concepts and organize their data. I am encouraging them at home to work on problems independently and without parent instruction of algebra. It is important that they learn to try different strategies and struggle a bit on their own. Thank you for your support.

English: In grammar, we have been exploring basic syntactic structures of subject and predicate. Students learned to distinguish between simple, complex and compound variants. They are all improving in their understanding and ability to identify elemental parts of speech (verb, noun, adjective, and adverb). I am emphasizing in their weekly spelling test that the definitions of the words need to be ones that the students actually understand. In class, I am teaching them how to highlight and use sticky notes to mark important passages in Where the Red Fern Grows.

Writer’s Workshop: While the first half of the trimester was devoted to the Ideas trait, we are currently working on ways to organize paragraphs. This past week we took a closer look the components of a well-written paragraph: topic sentence, details, and concluding sentence. We discussed the distinction between topic and topic sentence and we practiced writing topic sentences as well. The students are becoming more familiar with the form and function of transitional words and phrases, and their importance to paragraph cohesion.

Integrated Studies: We try to devote one period per week to Typing Club. Some students may need additional practice at home; I will begin to assign some students practice this week.

Helpful Hints:

  • Please let me know if your child is not here for Thanksgiving Soup.
  • PTR projects are due on November 20.
  • Now that it is cold, please be sure your child wears a coat and brings a hat and gloves to school for recess.
  • Many of the students are complaining of hunger in the afternoon. Thanks to Arlin for sending in a bag of healthy snacks. We would love to have occasional donations of similar snacks, clementines, bananas or apples to have on hand.
  • Thank you to all of you for coming to conferences. I enjoyed sharing the successes and challenges of the kids with you, and appreciate all of your support and help.

Please let me know if you have any questions.



By |2018-11-11T14:15:56-04:00November 11th, 2018|

Grade 5 Nature’s Classroom Day 3

Greetings from Wakefield!

I’m not going to try and mask my enthusiasm for Day Three: Nature’s Classroom.

Blue skies, crisp England air and sunshine—check!

More opps for crab catching and coastal exploration—check!

Hamburgers, mac and cheese, hot chocolate with whipped cream…and Kool-Aid—check!

It’s all the hallmarks of a successful day with my amazing class in Rhode Island.

This morning after breakfast, students learned about sea turtles and their environmental challenges through an environmental simulation. “We tried to keep our sea turtles alive by surviving different endangerments like plastic bags, sharks, birds, and pollution,” explained Libby. After lunch, students had a choice of doing yoga and meditation with Luna and doing a creative civilization exploration with AJ. The field groups went exploring again out in the woods and along the shore. They also prepared for tonight’s big event…Thursday Night Live!—a variety show in the vein of SNL starring…the 11 of them! Each field group will have a chance to write and perform their own skits. Tim and I know from past years, this is one of the most memorable parts of the NC experience. Weather permitting, we’ll conclude tonight with a campfire and making s’mores.

Tomorrow we plan to arrive back at BCD by dismissal. Please be prepared to encounter wet and soggy belongings. It’s likely you might end up with some things that don’t even belong to your child—so do us a favor and wash them and send them in to me and we’ll have a lost and found fashion show in homeroom.

This has been such a tremendous week of growth and new experiences. At lunch the students at my table were talking about how much closer they feel to each other and to me and Tim. Once you’ve all stood around in pajamas together (girls and boys separately, of course), and combed out the knots in your friend’s hair, you can never go back, right? Even though it’s only been a few days, relationships have evolved and each person will be able to see his/her peers in some new way. I’ve loved being with them, and want to thank you for sharing your insightful, curious, and fun kids with me.



By |2018-10-25T16:25:27-04:00October 25th, 2018|

Nature’s Classroom Day Two!

Greetings from misty Wakefield, Rhode Island!

Day 2 of the epic Nature’s Classroom trip has been an exciting one. This morning we enjoyed a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bagels, cereal and yogurt before our dissection labs. Students had a choice of individual squid dissections with Kelly or a group shark dissection with Luna. In the end, the groups came together to share and notice the similarities and differences between these two creatures. Luna’s group discovered 8 shark babies inside their shark—4 boys and 4 girls. It even beats the Brady Bunch! Next, we headed to the boathouse and docks for some quiet time. Students were able to sketch the waterfront with colored pencils or write about their observation of the trip thus far.

At lunch, we devoured the grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, pretzels and salad prepared by Chef Derrick. And then back to the cabin, we headed to get ready for the afternoon sessions which would be outside and down by the shore.

Field group was a combination of crabbing and exploring the edge of the salt marsh. We used bits of sausage left over from breakfast, a clothespin, some string, and a stick to make low-budget, high-yield crab catching devices. And as you can see from the pictures, we caught a variety of types of crabs and lots of them!

For the afternoon electives, students chose between a creature camouflage activity, and making “spa” style facial masks from edibles.

Hopefully tonight the weather will hold for our outdoor night hike….

The staff here at NC have shared with both Tim and me what a kind and curious bunch of kids we have. It is such a pleasure to be with them on this trip and enjoy the downtime making string bracelets, playing gaga and hanging out in our cabin at night. When I was writing this, a few of them asked to be included in the blog:

“The food facial felt smooth and rough at the same time,” remarked Ellie, after the exfoliation stage of her oatmeal and honey mask.

“There were the biggest crabs we’ve ever ever EVER seen and the spider crabs have a rounder body. The green crabs are more of a classic crab shape,” shrieked Orli!

“My skin is seriously glowing,” shared Niyah.

“I feel fabulous,” insisted Ashley.

Stay tuned for more NC adventures!


By |2018-10-24T17:06:39-04:00October 24th, 2018|