Michael J. Allen

Class of 2016 - 2017

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Teacher Plans

January 23rd - 27th

Review

Last week had two main highlights during another thoroughly enjoyable spell with the class: the first happened on Thursday afternoon, when we had the first ever 'grand' final for the Invention Challenge 1 completed earlier this year. Each Fifth grade class had three 'champion' vehicles surviving from the classes' own competition. These finalists entered into the 'grand' final making for twelve vehicles in all, each vehicle a champion in their own right. We brought the entire grade to the cafetorium after lunch on Thursday, and with much whooping and hoopla the vehicles rolled down the ramp for the final times. Amazingly, Theo and Gavin's  'Wheelpopper', thrice destroyed and rebuilt during the final moments leading to the competition, ended up being the overall champion! What's more, Vann and Nick's 'Tube-o-lube finished in second place! Well done students!

Invention Challenge 1 - Fifth Grade Final!

The first challenge was to design and build a wheeled device, using K'Nex, that rolls furthest from the top of a ramp.

The second highlight happened on Friday afternoon when the students unveiled their delicious snack products for the week's homework project. First, we watched the collection of imaginative and charming video and live 'sales pitches' for the products (including many 'guest appearances' from you, dear parents), and then we spent the rest of the afternoon touring the room sampling the delicious wares on display. I advised the students to be especially conservative in the amounts they sampled. I must confess that not all of the students heeded my advise. I can only imagine the dire repercusions that may have pervaded your homes and bathrooms on Friday evening...

This week, we are taking a trip back to the beginning of the year. It was my understanding that, due to the switch to new Science Curriculum, that we no longer were to teach about Simple Machines. I skipped my usual lessons only to find out subsequently that the subject will still be part of the Science MCAS this year! Since we have wrapped up the Rocks and Minerals work, we are going to use this week to revisit the Simple Machines work as a mini-project before moving onto the next major project next 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:

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

  • Greetings

  • Sharing - short news items from members of the class

  • Activities - short, fun community building activities

 

Language

Writing Workshop

In addition to the Journeys program lessons, I will be using lessons based on, 'Breathing Life into Essays' by Lucy Calkins for this phase of our year.

The main lessons are to be found here. Pardon my obtuse simplifications Ms. Calkins!

Essay core structures and elaboration tools

 

Monday, January 23rd:

Examining an essay to identify important and necessary structural elements.

Choosing main reasons to support thesis idea.

 

Tuesday, January 24th:

Finding a thesis - defining a thesis idea - finding and collecting stories that support thesis from internal and external sources.

 

Wednesday, January 25th:

Making lists to support thesis idea. Examine MLK's famous speech as an example of the technique.

 

Thursday, January 26th:

Work on essay draft.

 

Friday, January 27th:

Read 'Cougars' p296- 305. Activity: use graphic organizer to detect main idea of passages and collect details to support.

 

Reading

This week we continue with Act 3 of the amazing read-aloud/Reader's Theater book, 'Witness' by Karen Hesse.

We're going to be reading and analyzing the spectacular, 'Witness' by Karen Hesse. This is a shift into a new genre for us: realistic/historical fiction. The book is truly original, powerful and a fantastic reading experience for the class. The book is arranged into five Acts. Each Act is a series of monologues from a sample of the characters resident in Burlington, Vermont in 1924.

This week, we will be rereading and analyzing Act 3 of the story with an emphasis on talking about different character's points-of-view.

 

Math

We will complete the short 'Unit 12: Volume' this week.

The lessons for the week look like this:

 

Monday, January 23rd:

Unit 12: Volume: Models and Volume

(Homework - P12-1)

 

Tuesday, January 24th:

Unit 12: Volume: Understanding and measuring volume

(Homework - P12-2)

 

Wednesday, January 25th:

Unit 12: Volume: Combining volumes

(Homework - P12-3)

 

Thursday, January 26th:

Unit 12: Volume: problem solving

(Homework - P12-4)

 

 

Project

 

Do Simple Machines really work?

Simple Machines Explorations:

  • The students will make a ramp then experiment lifting an object, either directly, or up the ramp. They will measure how many Newtons each pull took and record the data into their Science journals and onto a class data set.
    Do ramps make it easier to lift objects? They will discuss and write what they think causes any effect they observe.
  • The students will make a lever then experiment lifting an object, either directly, or using the lever. They will measure how many Newtons each lift took and record the data into their Science journals and onto a class data set.
    Do levers make it easier to lift objects? They will discuss and write what they think causes any effect they observe.
  • The students will make a pulley then experiment lifting an object, either directly, or using the pulley. They will measure how many Newtons each lift took and record the data into their Science journals and onto a class data set.
    Do pulleys make it easier to lift objects? They will discuss and write what they think causes any effect they observe.

They may try to make a giant pulley system, if they feel so inspired.

At the end, we will draw together our experiences to try to account for whatever we have discovered over the course of the week's experiments!

 

On-line activities

Follow this link for an interactive activity about Simple Machines...

Follow this link for an interactive activity about Compound Machines.

Take on the challenge to build the Puff Machine from the PBS series, Supersonic Spies.

 

 

Technology Challenge 2

Wind Vehicle Challenge




Design a vehicle to enter a road race powered only by the wind. The top five race winners will enter into a 'crash-derby' competition. The top five will be reduced to last vehicle rolling by a series of head-on crashes!
Can you design the winner - not only one of the fastest, but also the strongest vehicle?

This week we will continue making our vehicles. We will make decisions about sails, size, materials and shape.



 

Homework 

The studernts will receive this next full homework project on Friday, January 27th.

Students will usually receive their homework jobs for the whole week each Friday. Look for it in the student's backpack. I am helping the students to plan when they will complete each homework job. You should review the homework plan with the students and help them stick to the final plan as you agree on it as a family!

Good luck!

Each project will be up on the 'Homework' page here at the site each Friday evening.

Check out the 'News’ page for the 'Parent's Guide to Homework', as well as other delicious treats for the start of the year!

See you back here next week!

 

Science-class teacher plan

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

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