Learning expands far beyond the desk. We work hard, build confidence, and explore many subjects to spark and foster a lifelong love of learning. Classes engage young minds in and outside the classroom with group activities, project-based learning (an active, inquiry-based approach to education), Innovation Lab, field trips, and outdoor excursions.
Children are seen, known, understood and appreciated by each of their teachers at BCD. Our commitment to keep classes small allows us to forge personal relationships with every family and focus on each child’s individual strengths and challenges. These bonds then extend to create a community of families where parents and guardians are welcome in our school to partner with teachers as we support our students together.
Children are naturally curious and seek to make connections between their own world and what they are learning. BCD takes a unique approach to each day and each lesson to encourage resourcefulness and exploration.
Every child is unique, and so are the ways they learn. In an effort support the wide variety of learning styles within BCD, we established The Learning Center in 2013. This program sets BCD Elementary School in a class of its own with a dedicated faculty whose mission is to help our teachers tailor strategies, differentiate and individualize goals to maximize each child’s academic potential.
BCD is an inclusive, well-rounded environment that invites every child to discover their own excellence—both academically and beyond. We believe that the social and emotional growth of a child is just as important as their scholastic achievements, so we encourage students to learn who they are, be themselves, and feel supported as active, honest members of their communities.
Kindness and respect are essential to creating an environment where students feel safe and empowered to take risks. As such, BCD Elementary School passionately integrates evidence-based Responsive Classroom and Kid Power programs into our curriculum to support character development and enhance every child’s education. From contributing to a positive community and resolving conflicts to effective communication, empathy and problem solving, BCD is home to social and emotional skills at every level.
The BCD Elementary School is a place of discovery, of challenge and support where tradition meets innovation and creativity. Our commitment to small class sizes (average 14-15 with a maximum of 18) ensures that teachers truly know and meet the needs of each student and enhances our rigorous yet balanced curriculum. Our excellent faculty prides themselves in being current with research based instructional theory and practice. Our Learning Center staff partners closely with elementary classroom teachers to support the diverse learning styles of our students by using a variety of grouping strategies for teaching math and language arts.
In addition to the core subjects of language arts, mathematics, social studies and science taught by the homeroom teacher, elementary students also receive instruction in technology, art, science lab, library, physical education, music, band, and world language. Students take both French and Spanish from Kindergarten through 2nd grade. In 3rd through 5th grade, students will focus on either Spanish or French as their chosen language. Students are introduced to Latin starting in 4th grade.
Character education is essential in every student’s overall development. Students participate in guided discussions, activities, and role playing exercises that encourage them to treat others kindly. Philanthropy and community service projects connect students to various charitable organizations. Students actively participate in age-appropriate service projects.
Elementary students participate in musical performances, plays and assemblies held throughout the school year. Each student can expect to be on stage performing several times during the year. Each grade takes part in a musical performance where music teachers work with homeroom teachers preparing the events. Parents are always welcome.
Choosing a Kindergarten that is right for your child is an important early step in laying a strong foundation for their education. There are numerous Kindergarten options available for children and parents. Today, more than ever, parents carefully examine their many choices: open enroll or neighborhood, public or private, full day or part day, morning or afternoon, academic or play-based…So what should a parent look for in a Kindergarten program?
More and more it seems that schools and school leaders are reluctant to include holiday celebrations and events in classrooms. There is a growing trend in our public schools and institutions to keep all references to faith out of curriculum and instruction, and even some of our independent schools are concerned that celebrating one holiday tradition will marginalize another.
Boulder Country Day School’s 4th & 5th grade Continental Math League team won first place in their division at the Continental Math Tournament held at Aspen Ridge Prep School in Erie on Monday, November 5th. Several BCD students placed within their grades including Alexander O’Hearne 1st Place in 3rd Grade and Amitai Sebba 1st Place in 4th Grade. Several BCD students qualified to move on to a state competition.
Next week you will be getting your student's report card. What is a good way to talk about the report card with my child? Talking with your child about the report card can be a positive, productive experience. How you react to your child’s report card can impact their motivation, self-esteem and sense of control over their learning. So it’s important to look beyond the grades before you respond. Please keep in mind that this is the first trimester and that grades are based on where a child is relative to end of the year standards. A '2' should not be alarming.
The following points may help:
1. Plan to talk in a quiet place and time.
2. Start with the good news. Talk about your child’s successes first.
3. For disappointing grades, ask questions so you and your child understand how a grade was earned. - How difficult was the work? - Was work completed and turned in? - Was extra help needed? - Would more participation or effort have made a difference?
4. Ask for a parent-teacher-student conference if you need more information.
5. Set realistic goals and make a plan for improvement.
Through an anonymous Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity grant by a BCD parent, Boulder Country Day School and I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County(IHAD) have partnered to form a combined First Lego League® (FLL) team. The grant funds transportation and course expenses for participating IHAD students and brings together students, technology, and BCD’s goal of inspiring students to reach their full potential.
Children are acquiring literacy from birth; from dinner table conversations promoting oral language development, to bedtime storytelling demonstrating that meaning can be made from text, to creating shopping lists which help children learn sounds and alphabetic symbols.
Last week, both third grade classes met for math to learn about angles and how to use a protractor. Students worked with a partner to design mazes and write the "coding" for getting through the maze using their knowledge of angles. This will support students as they solve more and more complex puzzles during coding class.
Last Friday, we watched a TEd Talk about an ocean explorer who talked about the power of wonder and why it's so important for adults and children to follow their curiosity and sense of wonder. He has explored the greatest depths of the ocean and has filmed some of the most interesting and fascinating ocean creatures. Our second graders then brainstormed a list of "I wonders" that they have about the world around them, and they worked with their partner to plan how they could pursue that "I wonder" as an adult.
Next week, we will start our first literature circle with Tuck Everlasting. During this unit, the students analyze the elements of narrative text structure. They study character, setting, plot, and conflict. We will also be studying similes, metaphors, and foreshadowing. Students use the different book club “jobs” (connector, summarizer, illustrator, word wizard, scene setter, and director) to help them deepen comprehension. During their book club conversation, the director will lead the conversation, allowing each student to have a voice in the discussion. The goal is that the students naturally discuss the novel while focusing on the jobs they have been assigned. Socially, they will analyze why it is important to be responsible and respectful, and they practice using discussion prompts to listen and build on one another’s ideas during discussion. They also explore an important theme in the novel: would you want to live forever!
As we establish a classroom community that fosters the best learning environment for all of our students, it is vitally important to incorporate our teacher language. It is our most powerful tool and permeates in every aspect of our day. Whether we are welcoming students in the morning, dealing with a conflict or simply trying to engage them in the what’s to come, we are using our words. We know that what they hear and how they interpret our message can impact how they deal with a situation and ultimately learn. Therefore, we are keeping teacher language at the forefront of our minds. We deliberately use teacher language as a tool so that students get the most out of our instruction.
Throughout our day as leaners we think about creating that environment conducive to learning and pay attention to the 3 R’s. Reinforcing what we notice (what students are doing well), reminding students of what is to come or what they will need to remember and redirecting if needed, when students are still confused about expectations. No matter the situation teacher language is a key component to our daily routine!
Over the past couple of days we have worked hard to build our classroom community. In order for everyone to feel safe, welcome, and cared for in our community, we have been working on getting to know one another. First, through morning meetings and closing circles, we have shared some of our interests, talents, where we were born, and what we are excited about to begin to lay down the foundation. Next, we set our hopes and dreams for the school year. We thought about what our dreams would look like when we achieved them and planned our strategies to overcome obstacles that we might encounter. After we shared our hopes and dreams with our classmates we broke into groups to think of some classroom rules that would support one another in achieving those hopes and dreams. We then came together as a class and narrowed down our rules into seven “be” phrases. The final vote chose the rules we have today. I was so proud of their hard work and collaboration to develop rules they established through supporting one another in the pursuit of our hopes and dreams.
During this unit, the students begin the important work of building their reading community. They hear and discuss stories, make text-to-self connections, and make text-to-text connections as they compare two stories in the same genre. They also explore the use of first- and third-person points of view in fiction. They begin Individualized Daily Reading (IDR) and learn how to select books at their independent reading levels, self-monitor their reading, and use a reading log. Socially, they learn the procedures for gathering for a read-aloud, “Turn to Your Partner,” “Think, Pair, Share,” and IDR. As they build the reading community, they practice listening to the thinking of others, sharing their own thinking, and working in a responsible way.
We have learned about parent/teacher language within Responsive Classroom. The article below builds on what we've previously learned about Reinforcing, Reminding, and Redirecting Language. It discusses the importance of "naming positive identities" in helping children see their potential as learners and how "naming positive identities" motivates them to fulfill their potential. As state in the attached Responsive Classroom article, “Strong envisioning statements are ones that engage students by speaking to issues they care about, with ideas and words that matter to them.”
The 3rd grade classes donated encouragement and joy to the hospitalized children served by There With Care. Students donated new plush toys, then wrote up a super power they invented for it, and completed the package with handmade superhero mask and capes. 3rd grade…You are true superheros!!!
BCD fifth grade students, with the help of the residents of Balfour Senior Living, filled 40 Easy Meal Care Bags for There with Care. The bags will go to families of critically ill children experiencing extended hospital stays so families are able to remain bedside. After their work, the students and the seniors relaxed and had some time to get to know each other. One resident even coaxed some of the students into singing for her. She loved it!
This week we engaged in many exciting things. We began our week working on our 4thgrade play and memorizing our parts. We learned new challenging concepts in math such as double digit multiplication and double digit divisors in division. We learned and practiced mindfulness by starting our day with new breathing exercises to get our minds ready for what was ahead. However, most importantly we had great conversation and thinking about KINDNESS! This week was the kindness challenge at BCD. Throughout the week we discussed ways to be kind and how important it is for ourselves and others to be part of an act of kindness or a witness to kindness! This simple yet profound concept can not only change the path or direction of our day, but can also have an equally powerful impact on others. We came up with simple ways to be kind and how even recognizing and respecting nature, is an act of kindness! Our quest for the week was to do one simple act of kindness and celebrate it. Although the week is done; we will continue to challenge ourselves to engrave an act of kindness into our days ahead and to hopefully reap the benefits of what it feels like to be kind and how rewarding it is to witness an act of kindness. My challenge for you and your families is to join us in the kindness challenge! Let’s be models for our children and show them how essential and powerful being kind can truly be.
This week we will wrap up our discussion of "Teacher Language" with an article revisiting the three types of language that we can use with our children: Reinforcing, Reminding, and Redirecting. As we've noticed, our language, both as teachers and as parents, is one of our most powerful tools in creating a positive and constructive environment. Responsive Classroom teaches that there are three main types of language, and there is an appropriate time and place to use each, although we should aim to use Reinforcing language when possible while communicating with our children throughout the day. In this article, you will find wonderful examples of common phrases or discussions that we have with our children on a daily basis coupled with an RC variation that will send a more clear, concise, and overall positive message. You will also find several key ideas to keep in mind when using these three types of language when communicating with your children that will lead to a calmer, more positive experience on both sides:
Goals when using Reinforcing Language:
"Name concrete and specific behaviors."
"De-emphasize your personal approval."
"Avoid holding one student up as an example for others."
To build on our discussion of "teacher/parent language," I've found an article that discusses the importance of using positive language to avoid student humiliation when talking to our children. In this article you'll find a list of suggestions that can apply to both home and school life for teachers and parents. Some suggestions for preventing and repairing humiliation from this Edutopia article include:
"Keep communication private when discussing their behavior"
"Frequently check...to make sure the message they're receiving is the one you are trying to send out."
"Pay close attention to body language."
"Tell them a story from a time that you were embarrassed...discuss it with them, and listen to their suggestions for what you could have done to resolve the incident."
Please find the full article in the following link:
Questioning our reading is the master key to understanding. Questions clarify confusion. Questions stimulate research. Questions propel us forward and take us deeper into reading. As adult readers, we question all the time, often without even thinking about it. Kids don't grow up knowing that strong readers ask questions. They actully ocassionally think the opposite, they believe that good readers know all of the answers. So now we teach students to think about their questions before, during, and after reading. We encourage them to stop, think, and record their questions during the reading process.
This week we learned the difference between "Thick" and "Thin" questions. This lesson teaches the students that "Thick" questions tend to stimulate discussion and "Thin" questions typically are smaller, clarification questions. During our book club meetings, our work is to try to create "Thick" questions to deepen discussion and listen to different perspectives.
Today we tied together our Being a Writer curriculum with our social studies/science unit of study on the Polar Regions. We are reading chapters from the book, "Polar Lands," and practicing our notetaking skills in our "Investigation Journals." We pause during different parts of the book to identify important facts and keywords that we would like to record in our science and social studies journals. This can be a challenging skill in second grade, but our second grade researchers are working as a team to develop strategies and support each other when taking notes while listening to content materials.
After reading chapters on the land, people, and animals of the two Polar Regions, our scientists brainstormed lists of "I Wonder" questions that they have about specific topics that relate to either the Arctic or the Antarctic. Each researcher will meet with Mrs. P to review their "I Wonders," and each second grader will collaborate with Mrs. P to choose one topic of interest to study further. Next week we will use these questions to guide each scientist's research and follow our Project-Based Learning model to create student-driven, individual, unique presentations of what they've learned.
Please click on this link to learn more about the power of "I Wonder" questions and inquiry-based learning:
We are moving from personal narratives to fiction! During this five week unit, the students explore fiction writing and they draft, revise, and publish their stories. By hearing different kinds of fiction and exploring how authors get ideas and put stories together, the students learn how to integrate elements of character, setting, and plot into their own writing. They explore features of good fiction writing, incuding developing interesting plots, using trasitional words and phrases, and creating endings that bring a story's elements to a close. They learn important skills and conventions pertinent to fiction writing, such as punctuating dialogue, maintaining consistent verb tenses, and using first- and third-person points of view. They cultivate a relaxed and creative attitude toward their writing and continue to be contributing members of the classroom writing community!
In observance of Marin Luther King and all of his work with civil rights, equality and his beliefs, we had great discussions of what our personal dreams and beliefs maybe. We explained what we dreamed not just for oursleves, but for our community and world as well. We discussed how Dr. King impacted the lives of the people back then and how his beliefs continue to impact us today. The students discussed and wrote about their dreams and explained their WHYS. There cetainly were some profound thoughts.
During our whole-class reading time we are focused on visualizing. Visualizing enhances a reader’s understanding and enjoyment of all types of texts. While some young readers visualize naturally, others benefit from instruction about visualizing. All students benefit from reflecting on the fact they are visualizing. In this reading unit, students visualize as they listen to read-alouds and read independently. Poetry is an excellent style of writing to use when practicing visualizing.
Students built traditional Inuit inukshuk structures. The meaning of inukshuk is "Someone was here." or "You are on the right path." These stone structures are in the shape of a human and were often used by native people in the Arctic to mark migration routes or places were fish can be found. They also were used as memorials and, more recently, inspired the logo of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.