Last chance for summer reading materials in French through Bayard-Milan!

Bonjour tout le monde,

Tomorrow, May 15th, I will have a table of sample materials from the French language publishing house, Bayard-Milan, on display for your consideration in the Learning Commons.

My hope is that parents and families of students of all ages at BCD will stop by during or after school to peruse the selections, and consider subscribing to a magazine for your child for some enriching summer reading in French!

From Pre-school through Gr.9, there is something for everyone!

The samples on display will be organized by level and age, and include a plethora of themes, styles, and layouts. Please check out the link below for more information on the different magazines offered, per age.

What is Bayard-Milan?  … “We are journalists, graphic designers, early childhood education professionals, employees or freelancers … for forty years we have chosen to put our readers at the center of our editorial thinking. Listening to them, understanding them, astonishing them, nourishing them with inspirational works and accompanying them at each stage of their lives.”

Here’s a short excerpt on the mission of Bayard-Milan:

“More than anything, today as for yesterday, we have a duty of promoting enchantment in the younger generation. And in this particular situation where our magazines are not the voice of parents or teachers, but of caring accomplices, we can highlight the positive force that exists in everyone and in the many situations one encounters in life. And when you have the chance to live through words, thanks to talented creators, characters who can embody all their life experiences, it’s as if we invent small lights that will mark the lives of children and which they are will remember for a long time.” 

Please carve out a few minutes tomorrow to check out the selection of Foreign Language materials in the Learning Commons, for all grade levels and interests!


Mme. Daire

P.s for all inquiries concerning subscriptions, please refer directly to the US agent for Bayard-Milan ;

Ms. Catherine LAMY

[email protected]

*Orders are not placed through BCD.


Merci beaucoup!

By |2019-05-14T14:11:59-05:00May 14th, 2019|

Fifth Grade Marks Earth Day with Kindergarten!

Fifth Graders joined their Kindergarten friends last week in a celebration of Earth Day.

The classes have been meeting monthly since September to participate in a peer reading experience. Each fifth grader is paired with a Kindergarten special friend. In addition to peer reading, we’ve exchanged bookmarks and valentines, and last week, each student crafted his/her own necklace from an assortment of Earth-themed beads. Mrs. Patel shared one of her favorite new stories, Stacy McAnulty’s Earth: My First 4.54 Billion Years. Anyone who has had Mrs. Patel knows what a great storyteller she is, and her reading of this funny, yet scientific approach to the Earth made us all smile.

By |2019-04-29T10:40:08-05:00April 29th, 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 |2019-03-15T12:43:41-05:00March 15th, 2019|

Wonderful Winter Doings

Courage. Love. Alaska. These have been the three topics that have dominated our classroom recently.
First, courage – that was learning about the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., Ruby Bridges, and Rosa Parks. And about Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. And also about the lives of 26 other important and courageous woman leaders, from an alphabet book called Amelia to Zora. These stories naturally led into conversations about our own lives and times when we each needed to be brave in particular situations. Drawings and writings followed. We’ve also learned two poems on courage, which we will present at the soon-to-be rescheduled-because-of-weather Courage Assembly!

And then love – Valentine’s Day! We had fun making valentines for families and for our fifth-grade peer readers. Thanks to all who sent in goodies for the party! We learned that the Magic Valentine Potato (from a story by Daniel Pinkwater)  is real! And he (she? it?) brought potato chips for us to share with our fifth-grade friends – how nice!

Then we celebrated Alaska Day – so much fun! Starting with photos of my own trip to Alaska last summer (which I LOVED) included sharing the photo of me doing a polar plunge in 38 degree water (which took all of my COURAGE), the day moved easily between outdoor and indoor activities, all related to Alaska and/or winter. Ms. Doherty and Ms. Heddinger treated us to a delicious blueberry pancake lunch (blueberries being one of the fruits that grows well up there). It was a terrific day!

And then it was The 100thDay of School! Truly, the fun has not stopped all January and February!


And our amaryllis bloomed! We painted it!


Regular work continued, also, in between all of these special events. Each child is making their own alphabet book, and each has now completed a Venn diagram using colored pasta. These culminating projects hang on our wall. As a group, the class did wonderfully well sorting by one and two attributes. Some even challenged themselves, sorting by three attributes, with great success!


More classroom fun. Enjoy the photos!











By |2019-02-28T17:55:35-05:00February 28th, 2019|

“Keep fighting!” said the teacher.

Odd words, indeed, for me to say, but I meant them. I needed more fighting! Now, before you think I’ve lost my mind, let me put this into context. Last week, we were in the middle of a rehearsal for our play, The Land of Many Colors.  In this story, purple people, blue people, and green people live separate, happy lives until one day things fall apart, and WAR begins among them.  How do we act this out realistically, but safely? Well, at first the children play-fought with lots of smiles and laughter. But it didn’t really look like war. What they needed to learn was to “fight” without smiling, to fight without actually hurting anyone, and also  to fight without making a sound, so that the story’s narration could continue.  The play, performed last Thursday at the PS-LS Cooperation Assembly, was a success.  The children had learned admirable self-control that they used while “fighting.” And then, what fabulous cooperation they displayed as they rebuilt the ruined world they had made. The class had a lot of fun practicing and performing this play, and did a great job!

Cooperation Assembly 12-6-2018

Big thanks to all who send in blue and purple and green clothes, food, and stuffed animals. And extra thanks to Alex, who videotaped it!

In addition to our play, we’ve learned how to write the numerals 0-9, and have begun learning lowercase letters (now up to j). We’ve been talking about the idea of peace – what’s happening when you feel peaceful? And what does it mean to be a peacemaker? Writings and drawings now accompany both of these ideas, so come and see our bulletin boards. Some special gifts are being made in the classroom, and they will come home next week. I hope you enjoy them.

Have a wonderful winter break!


By |2019-05-16T09:03:09-05:00December 14th, 2018|

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and boy, am I thankful!

This class couldn’t be any more fun to teach – really! They’re inquisitive, smart, thoughtful, caring, argumentative (on occasion!), chatty, and kind. They love to learn. They love to play. They like pretty much everything that we do in school. And October sped by so quickly. Highlights: our trip to Ioka Valley Farm was super fun. Although the weather was a bit raw, all had a great time!

We also had a wonderful Halloween:

We’ve lately been doing an author study on Karma Wilson, who wrote the Bear Snores On  series, and also enjoying many books by Cynthia Rylant. Wilson’s books are written with terrific rhyme and rhythm and humor, and they offer a great contrast to Rylant’s, as her style is softer and her content more reflective. In addition, we’ve read books about Thanksgiving and listened to Native American stories at rest time. Each child has written and illustrated something for which they are thankful – these will be displayed starting next week, so come and see.

The children’s Halloween, Who Do You See? books have gone home, and their completed math Pattern Books are in today’s backpacks. This class continually surprised and delighted me with their ability to create complex patterns of all sorts, using unifix cubes, dots, and beads, as well as their ability to draw lively ghouls, ghosts, and goblins!

Cooperation has been our overarching theme this fall. In a few weeks, we’ll gather at a small assembly with B2-Grade 3 and present a class project. In the meantime, we practice sharing and working together daily, as evidenced by our Friendship Lunch last week!


This year we had 30 (!) children seated around the table – it was so great to see so many little faces together.

All enjoyed spaghetti, meatballs, cornbread, homemade butter, and chocolate-covered pretzels.



A HUGE thank you to all the parents, from all the grades, who came in to help!

October also held our Parent-Teacher conferences. These are always a valuable time to talk in depth about each student. Thank you all for making time to come and meet with me. I offer my thanks for your support this year, and I’m grateful for all the joy your children bring to each other and to me. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


By |2018-11-19T14:18:37-05:00November 19th, 2018|

18 days into the year!

It’s just turned from September to October, and our class has spent a total of 18 days together. Not very much time, really, and yet, what a lot we’ve accomplished! We are a class now; no longer a collection of individuals. What bonds us, what is that magic glue?  That’s easy to answer. Talking, singing, and playing games together. Learning to look one another in the eye and listen. Helping each other. Showing compassion when a classmate is sad. Taking our first trip together to Magic Wings (more on that later!). Sharing. This “coming-together” in these early weeks is so vital, and sets the stage for happy and productive learning for the rest of the year. Its importance cannot be understated.

Meanwhile, our classroom has been full of activity. Everyone has come up with a school “Hope & Dream,” and from these we’ll develop our classroom rules over the next few weeks. In addition, everyone has completed September portfolio art, Four-Square, and Weekend News. Each has made a self-portrait – these will be hanging up shortly – come and take a look!




Our focus in math is on shapes and patterns, and work with pattern blocks, pegboards, and beads continue to be popular choices.Here are some of their creations!




More: we’ve also written class books together and had “Mixer” with Grade 1-2. We’ve gone to the Library and shared stories with the 5th grade. Dr. Segar came to our room and taught us some fun songs. Our twice-monthly Community Circle, with two-year-olds through third grade, have been a great time to gather as a larger community, to play games, to sing, and to hear what’s going on in other classrooms.


Caterpillar update: our 25 healthy, fat caterpillars have each gone into a chrysalis! The children were able to witness several caterpillars actually forming their chrysalis – a rare sighting in the classroom. The class has documented the egg, caterpillar and chrysalis stages. We expect our first butterflies to hatch next week. This too, we’ll document by careful naturalistic observation. Our trip to Magic Wings was great fun, and I send out thanks to Alex, Rachel, and Jennie, who were our parent drivers and chaperones. We had a wonderful time there!











I’m having a great time with this class, and they are, too, with each other. Earlier last week, during Inside Choice, play spontaneously arose where all nine decided to create an airplane. With great enthusiasm, they made choices: “Let’s fly to Paris!” “I’ll be a pilot!” “Me, too!” Others chose to be flight attendants or passengers. They used their rest mats to form seats and brought in food from the dramatic play area to serve to each other. It was so much fun that I promised to make time for some more “airplane time” soon. Who knows next where their imaginations will take them? I, for one, am eager to see!


By |2018-10-01T22:31:11-05:00October 1st, 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.

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 |2018-09-06T11:58:56-05:00September 4th, 2018|

This Bittersweet Time of Year…

How this year flew by! Looking at the children today, I can vividly recall classroom life back in September and am so delighted with what I see in front of me now. So much of their growth can be seen tangibly: there’s a whole raft of independent writers, most everyone has learned to zip their jackets, scribblers now make detailed representational drawings, and everyone’s counting skills have improved dramatically. Less visible, but no less impressive, is their emotional growth and maturity. We have had many discussions on surprisingly deep topics. They have twenty or more poems solidly memorized – beautiful and elegant words that now live inside them. They ask to hear Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony at lunch, and never tire of listening. They celebrate each other’s achievements and offer each other support in sad times. These children care for one another, and they’ve learned to take care of each other as well – a truly compassionate group.

Here are photos of some recent classroom highlights: Mme. Daire brought her 8thgrade French students over to read stories they had written. Especially fun for me was to see former Kindergartners Anje, Aurora, Chase, and Keely reading to this current class!

We make number sentences all sorts of different ways. These are interlocking tiles.

We’ve practiced cutting with scissors all year. Look at those fancy mustaches!

Rainbow Day was fun too!

Writing continues to be a popular activity. Lately the children have been writing books together, and then sharing them aloud with the class.

Can this really be the last blog?? I’ve had such a fabulous year with your children. I wish all a wonderful and restful summer, and look forward to seeing you again in the fall!


By |2018-06-02T09:32:34-05:00June 1st, 2018|

8th grade French class read-aloud to Kindergarten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Madame Daire



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