Michael J. Allen

Class of 2018 - 2019

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Teacher Plans

January 22nd - 25th


Another excellent week with the group. The highlight was probably the Grade level Invention Challenge final - with our very own Joey and Euan emerging as humble champions with their vehicle named 'Quicksilver'. The Rock Detective activity also came to an end with a group of Ms. Tuttle's students winning 'the fabulous Fifth grade prize of absolutely nothing' on this occasion. These competitive angles are not everyone's cup of tea, but the majority find that they add a little spice to the day, especially when the competition is put into the appropriate context as I am always very careful about ensuring happens! So far the students have been able to handle the challenges of victory and defeat with elegance and grace.

Another highlight was the election of the new Student Council members. Strong presentations were made by many of the candidates. After the voting was over following a recount (after I dropped some of the ballots and didn't include all the votes) Euan and Mia emerged as our next representatives following on from Anna and Mr. Sloan. I'm hoping they have a fun and successful term.


This week

We wrap up the Personal essay project this week and then focus on writing based on our reading. The details are provided below. We are also wrapping up the Rocks and Minerals project his week.


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.



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 finish writing their personal choice essays.  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



Complete essay



Edit and proofread essays with partner.



Writing opinions and using evidence based on reading a text - 'Common cents' - should we keep the penny?



Writing opinions and using evidence based on reading two texts - 'Should the school year be longer or shorter?'



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.




Start Unit 8:
Numerical Expressions, Patterns, and Relationships



Rocks, minerals and fossils

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.

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


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!