Mois de la Francophonie in full swing at BCD!

Good afternoon all,

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Bien cordialement,

Mme. Daire

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

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

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

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

Bonjour tout le monde!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engage students in their learning of French.

Demonstrate the evocative power of slam.

Develop written and oral skills in French.

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

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

Best,

Mme. Daire

 

 

 

 

 

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

Grade 6 Service Learning, Guest Speaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best,
Mme. Daire

 

 

 

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

Blog Post #1

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” — Oscar Wilde

 

Dear Sixth Grade Families and Friends,

Thank you so much for all your warm welcomes and generosity as we wrap up our first month together. The spirit of communal effort in every aspect of life at BCD is such an invaluable asset and has been a wonderful gift. Thanks for sharing your delightful kids! They’re a remarkable group.

I was so happy to welcome Grandparents and Grandfriends to class Friday. Students had a chance to show off their writing and their Personal Map projects to a new audience. They were so excited while they worked on them and I think their projects speak for themselves. (Thank you for finding the time in the midst of your busy lives to collect poster boards). I thought each student’s work offered a unique insight into the formative parts of their lives and showed a good deal of effort from their authors. They also beautifully highlighted their distinct passions and quirks.  It has been great to get to know each and every one of your interesting and interested young people! The class has demonstrated a balance of burgeoning independent selves which shines through the omnipresent truth of their adolescence. Last Wednesday’s service learning discussion was a prime example. In their own way, I thought each child navigated discussions of difficult issues thoughtfully and respectfully. I loved getting a chance to hear their thoughts on the world today and see their passion on display. Ms. Doherty and Mr. Evans both stopped by and were thoroughly impressed. It was hard to reconcile that thoughtfulness with the intense albeit brief dodgeball match that followed, but that’s sixth grade for you!

I included an Oscar Wilde quote that summarizes how I’m feeling about the start to the year. Despite the warm weather and rain, the beautiful leaves remind me it’s already Fall. Our class is nearing the end of our first novel The Giver and preparing for our first Geography quest next week.

Thanks to all of you who sent in the forms for our upcoming Hulbert Trip in such a timely manner. I’m very much looking forward to that experience and will be updating you on each day’s events via this blog, so stay tuned! Also, be on the lookout for an email from Kathy and me with an overview of the packing list and departure plan.

It has been such a pleasure to be part of this community and as always, feel free to reach out via email with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Best,

Mr. Wood

By |2018-10-12T10:16:54-04:00October 12th, 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 |2018-09-06T11:58:56-04:00September 4th, 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 |2018-05-02T08:36:42-04:00May 2nd, 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 |2018-02-06T09:18:25-04:00February 5th, 2018|

How We Celebrate ‘National French Week’ at BCD!

National French Week is a country-wide celebration of all things French, organized by the AATF (American Association of Teachers of French). This year marks the 17th year that this tradition has been celebrated with activities and projects taking place in schools, communities, and AATF chapters across the U.S.

Here are some of the themes that the AATF has identified that can be highlighted during the celebration of all things Francais:

This year it spanned from the 1st – 7th of November, and here at BCD we celebrated in our own unique way!

Each class level was assigned a different theme to focus on from French art, to music, geography to literature, with French cuisine peppered in…bien sur!

In our 4th grade classroom, students created their very own ‘Mon Restaurant à Moi’ menu, geared towards and highlighting classical French dishes. It was a great exercise to promote students creativity, as well as learn what makes French cuisine unique.

In 5th grade, the students were each assigned a famous French artist, such as Monet, Renoir and Cézanne. They each excelled in their research and understanding of the artist to whom they were assigned and came out of the project knowing more clearly why these artists and their works are still revered today.

Our 6th graders focused individually on a quote from the novel Le Petit Prince which we have begun to read in class. They took their quotes home to delve into the meaning of the quote and asked themselves whether or not they agreed with the message the author was trying to convey. They then presented their project to the class, in French, including a drawing or painting which they felt helps depict the meaning of the quote.

In the 7th grade, these young music-lovers chose a favorite contemporary or classic French musician to present to the class. The artists ranged from Debussy to Zaz, Vanessa Paradis to Satie. It was a wonderful overview of the richness of French musical history, showing firsthand the diversity and range of the genre.

Our 8th graders just wrapped up their first trial-run of being a ‘guide de tourisme’ and presented in pairs on a particular region of France. Each pair created a 3-fold brochure with which they highlighted the cultural attractions and historical relevance to the area, as well as regional culinary specialties. They all did a great job in ‘selling’ their regions to potential travelers/classmates.

Each class, no matter the content, learned something new and pertinent to the country whose language we are immersing ourselves in this year!

Learning a language is not an approach through which books and resource materials are the only useful tools. Being familiar with cultural specifics of a country plays a major role in the second language immersion experience, and will come into play throughout our curriculum at each grade level throughout the school year.

S’il vous plait, come by our French room to see the students work!

A bientot!

Madame Daire

By |2017-11-14T15:41:45-04:00November 14th, 2017|

Teaching Tolerance: Middle School Bookclub Reads

About a third of the MS has been engaged in a book club with me centered around the novel George    by Alex Gino. This book tells the brave story of a transgender 4th grader and her experience navigating her own realization, as well as her friends’ and parents’, that she is trans. For the past 2 months, we have meet weekly to read and discuss the book. Last Friday, upon the conclusion of the novel, we read an interview with the author, who shared their own perspective on being trans. We also watched two short video clips.

The first, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0v_idyvjco is a powerful video made by a trans teen, and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA5n9YW4MVk, a second video which is an interview with Jazz Jennings, a transgender teen who has been an advocate for the right for trans students to use school restrooms of their choosing. After each video, the students engaged in a discussion with me and had the opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts. We also decided to visit the restrooms so that the boys could see the girls’ and vice-versa. In both instances, I entered the bathroom with the students who wanted to take a look.

Throughout the reading and discussion of George, we have talked at length about the importance of inclusion and tolerance. I was impressed by the insight and compassion demonstrated by the participants in my book club. Some of the students were initially confused by the distinctions among the different LGBTQ identities.  It is my hope that this is only the beginning of a dialogue that will continue about diversity and acceptance.

Our next literary share will be Ali Benjamin’s critically acclaimed novel, The Thing about Jellyfish. This novel won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, as well as the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Middle Grade Literature.

Happy Reading!

Jilly Lederman

By |2017-10-24T14:04:03-04:00October 24th, 2017|

Amazing (Winter Music Concert)

Weren’t they great? I am still recuperating from being blown away by our talented young musicians in grades PreK-9. From “Peace is the World Smiling,” to “White Winter Hymnal,” each student really brought their best self to the stage and to all the rehearsals before as well.

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Looking forward to seeing what our performers do at Arts Night 2, Spring Concert, Private Lessons Recitals, Arts Night 3, and LS Spring Musical in the New Year! Until then, time for us all to bundle up by our hearths and enjoy some seasonal festivities…

Thanks to each and every BCD community member, you all helped bring our 2016 Winter Concert to life. Special shout-outs to Mr. Lee and the Facilities team, Mr. Spitzer for mounting Student Art, our ebullient co-M.C. Ms. Doherty, and our creative team of parent and student Elves who helped setup the beautiful concert space last night.

Lucky me to teach these amazing young musicians. Lucky us to enjoy listening to the final product of their efforts! You can access some Audio from our Winter Concert and Arts Night performances available on SoundCloud! Thanks Ms. DelCarpine for recording.

Musically Yours,

Mr. Martin

www.soundcloud.com/bcdmusic

By |2016-12-09T17:38:31-04:00December 9th, 2016|