Michael J. Allen

Class of 2018 - 2019

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Teacher Plans

January 14th - 18th


The students settled down more last week back into the routines of school.

We made a whole lot of incremental progress in a lot of different areas: We started work on handwriting improvement, did a decent amount of reading, made good progress through Unit 7 in Math, did some excellent work on the techniques that will lead to more advanced essays, completed the Mineral Detectives activity, started the Wind Vehicle Challenge, had a succesful time at the Museum of Science's excellent Windmills Workshop, rebooted the assignment books with increasing levels of success, had the best and most focused session yet in the Scratch class. In addition, a good percentage of the class were involved in the Cancer Awareness Concert that was extremely successful on Friday evening.

All in all, a very satisfying week of solid progress.


This week

This week will be another quiet and academic week. We will be reading lots, writing our personal choice essays and completing the reading about rocks as well as completing the Rock Detective activity.


Morning meeting

As part of the whole-school philosophy each class begins each day with a thirty-minute long class meeting.

The meeting is structured into four phases:

  • Greetings

  • Sharing - short news items from members of the class

  • Activities - short, fun community building activities

  • Message - topic of the day, often with academic angle.

This week our meetings will continue to be shorter as we use the time to get our basic spelling and handwriting practice in after the break from basic-skills practice.

We will review and sing our collection of songs on Thursday. We will meet with our Kindergarten Buddies on Wednesday as well as meeting our Language Buddies on Monday.



Writing Workshop

I will be using lessons based on, 'Breathing Life into Essays' by Lucy Calkins for this phase of our year, blending them into the appropriate Journeys lessons structures.

The main lessons are to be found here.

This week, the students will focus on writing their personal choice essays. They worked on 'Thesis statements' on Friday. They will select one topic and build the essay using our elaboration techniques to design sophisticated paragraphs and a structured five paragraph essay. The final essay will be posted in the Google Classroom.


Google Classroom

Elaboration tools

  • For example…

  • Another example is…

  • In addition…

  • The thing that surprises me...

  • This makes me realize…

  • This is important because…

  • This is giving me the idea that…

  • I am getting the idea that..

  • The reason for this is…

  • Another reason is…

  • This connects with…

  • On the other hand…

  • I partly disagree but…because…

  • This is similar to…

  • This is different from….

  • This might not be true, but could it be that…

  • I used to think…but now I realize…

  • What I think this says about me is that…

  • Many people think…but I think…

  • Because

  • To add on



Choose topic. Start writing Introduction paragraphs.



Complete introduction. Write paragraph 1



Complete introduction and paragraph 1. Write paragraph 2.



Write paragraph 3



Work on Conclusion. Start sharing and working on proofreading and editing in partnerships.



We are going to continue reading The Wind Singer, written by award winning author William Nicholson using this story as a launch pad for various Journey's based lessons.

I will be reading chapters of the book to the students. The students will be rereading the chapters themselves then taking part in various activities including topical discussions, Reader's Theater and analysis of the text.

We will also have a regular twenty minute long private-reading experience on most days after recess.


Reading Research Guidelines:

Research by Dick Allington suggests:

  • Students should read about 15 pages in 20 minutes, as a rough guideline, when reading a 'just right' book (a book the student can read with 96% accuracy or better).
  • Students reading rate should be somewhere between 100 and 200 words per minute.
  • Examples:
    • Hatchet - Gary Paulson 192 pages - level R - should take between four and eight hours to read.
    • Stone Fox - level P - 82 pages should take one and a half hours to read.




Complete Unit 7. Break into Unit 8.



Rocks, minerals and fossils

We will be reading about the three types of rocks: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. We will examine, classify and investigate mystery rock samples. After examining samples, the students will use a key or chart to establish the identity of the mysterious rock samples.

We will also find out about and make diagrams of the 'rock cycle'.

In the final week, we will find out about the structure of the Earth:

  • Core, mantle and crust.

  • Plate tectonics

  • Earthquakes

  • Volcanoes

  • Fault lines

We will visit the UCMP ( University of California Museum of Paleontology) website for a tour of geologic time and some classic cheesy animations on how fossils form and how we date rocks and fossils.


Rocks and Minerals Links



Technology Challenge 3

Wind Vehicle Challenge

Design a vehicle to enter a road race powered only by the wind.
Can you design the winner - not only one of the fastest, but also the strongest vehicle?

This week, we will start making the machines.

We will focus on trying to solve the most challenging aspects of the project: making masts, choosing material for sails and attaching the sails to the mast.


Science-class teacher plan

This is the route to the 'Specialist Class' page.

This page is for the students and parents of Ms.Tuttle to find out about what happens during the Science class!


See you back here next week!