Michael J. Allen

Class of 2018 - 2019

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Teacher Plans

February 12th - 16th


It was a decent and exciting week on the whole for the class. However, this was an extremely challenging and heart breaking week for the school as a whole. My plans were effected by these challenges. Last week was Start With Hello week. The administration asked us to spend some time during meetings raising awareness about this project. Here's what the website has as an introduction to the week:

"Social isolation is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely or treated like you are invisible. Young people who feel this way may pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development or choose to hurt themselves or others.

Start With Hello Week brings attention to the growing epidemic of social isolation in our schools and communities, and empowers young people to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school or youth organization."

Some of these discussions and activities took longer than the morning meeting allowed for, but I pursued them where relevant or appropriate.

I also found myself suddenly embarking spontaneously on a new and unplanned 'Invention Challenge',  as my dissatisfaction with the Science pilot activities in the current unit precipitated a spur of inventive thinking. This new project, detailed below, has generated a much needed wave of enthusiasm in the students for scientific-styled endeavor after the monotonous bleak horizons of the information-heavy unit slid across the slab grey waters of the students waning enthusiasm (don't blame me for this stylistic frippery - I've just finished Francis Spufford's amazing 'Golden Hill', and I feel like writing a bit more expansively for a moment!).

We were excited to welcome another new student to the class. It's obviously quite challenging for anybody to arrive into a new school and a new class almost exactly half way through a school year. Our new student has done a great job in her first few days in the school, ably assisted by Sarah and Ava and the class as a whole, especially given how little time any of us had to prepare ourselves for the arrival. I was especially pleased to see how warmly the class responded and how, like me, they all felt excited and optimistic to meet a new person.

As you know, the school had to deal with extremely sad news this week, too.

My thoughts and condolences go out to the bereaved family in this terrible time for them.



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 be short as we use the time to exercise our basic Math skills.

On Monday, those students not learning an instrument at this time will meet new first and second grade buddies when our class combines with Ms. O'Donnell's, and we meet and pair up with Ms. Cahill's EL class to work with students who are at the beginning of learning to speak English.

We will review and sing our collection of songs on Thursday and meet with our Kindergarten Buddies on Friday.



This week we will be reading about the Colonies. We will aim to set the scene for the next major project, the epic story of the American Revolution! The students will be reading and discussing, 'Your Travel Guide to Colonial America', by Nancy Day, in large and small groups. After the reading the students will be completing various craft activities detailed below.

  • Reading about 'Introduction' and 'When to visit'. Note and discuss similarities and differences between modern and colonial life (in groups).

  • Reading, 'How to get around', 'Local customs' and 'What to see and do'. Group discussion: would you go to visit the Colonies? Why? Why not?

  • Students will start to write a fake diary using Colonial facts from their reading in the style of Joseph Plumb Martin.

We will be reading short informational essays then writing about them. The first essay is the postponed essay about 'Stink bugs'. The second essay is completed after reading two short articles about Australia. This work will be more preparation for the writing and reading demanded by the upcoming MCAS ELA tests.

Writing Workshop

This week, the students will be finishing drafting their remaining body paragraphs and their conclusion. We will be pushing this work into computers this week. This week will be the final week of this personal essay project.

Essay core structures and elaboration tools


Monday, February 12th

'Stink Bug' Informational essay.

Colonies reading - 'Introduction' and 'When to visit' sections.

Activity: - make a Native American game.


Tuesday, February 13th:

'Life in Australia' - multi-text informational essay.

Colonies reading: Colonial clothes

Activity: make a tricorn hat


Wednesday, February 14th:

Type essay using chromebooks.

Colonies reading: Where to go.

Activity: make a fan.


Thursday, February 15th:

Type essay using chromebooks.

Colonies reading: Money Matters, How to get around, Day to Day life.

Activity: make a sign.



Friday, February 16th:

Finish personal essays/ Reading prompt - 'Pandora's box'.

Colonies reading: What to see and do.

Activity: make a paper cipher.



As well as daily twenty to thirty long minute private reading time after recess each day (except Wednesday), we will be working on a whole class read-aloud.

This week we will enter Act 4 of the amazing read-aloud/Reader's Theater book, 'Witness' by Karen Hesse, with the students performing their favorite scenes.

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, in Act 4 the story reaches a climax...



This week, we complete Unit 9 - adding and subtracting fractions.


Monday, February 12th

9-7: Adding Fractions with Unlike Denominators

(Homework: P9-7)


Tuesday, February 13th:

9-8: Subtracting Fractions with Unlike

(Homework: P9-8)


Wednesday, February 14th:

9-9: More Adding and Subtracting Fractions

(Homework: practice assessment)


Thursday, February 15th:

Preparation for assessment

(Homework: review for assessment)


Friday, February 16th:

Unit 9 assessment



 The American Revolution

This is a three to four week plan for the next Social Studies unit, the American Revolution.

There are three main parts:

  • Causes of the War

  • The War itself

  • The Meaning of the War

This week we will be concentrating on life in the Colonies. We will try to immerse ourselves in the language, dress, and style of the times. Students will be encouraged to come to school dressed in Colonial era fashions, and to use Colonial era language throughout the project.


Causes of the War

Life in the Colonies

The French and Indian war

The Stamp Act

The Intolerable Acts

The Boston Tea Party

The Boston Massacre


The War Itself

Lexington and Concord, Breeds Hill/ Bunkers Hill/ Dorchester Heights/ Ticonderoga

New York/ Trenton/ Princeton/ Winter in the war/ Franklin in France

The Grand Strategy/ Germantown/Brandywine/ Howe takes Philadelphia/ Gentleman Johnny and Saratoga- the turning point.



The Meaning of the War

The Declaration of Independence

The Compromise over slavery

The Constitutional Convention


The students will be working in teams of four or five. Each group will be formed around a ‘Tavern’ that they will create, using historical data to inform their choice. The 'Taverns' work on various projects each week and are rewarded using ‘Revolutionary dollars’ for completion and quality of finished products.


Activities for ‘The Causes of War’

Create a Tavern

Create a Tavern logo, sign, cheer, secret handshake, and scarf.

Create a fictional journal – based on Joseph Plumb Martin’s journal – life during the Revolutionary war

Find out about the Stamp Act, the Intolerable Acts, the Boston Tea Party, and the Boston Massacre

Make a timeline of the precursors

Watch DVD  'Liberty' part 1

Patrick Henry speech competition

Loyalist vs. Patriot – drama activity


Activities for ‘The War itself’

Continue with timeline

Journal entry – on the battlefield

Making diagrams of the Grand Strategy

Revolutionary replicas – life sized portraits of famous characters

Disease and medicine – reading

Codes and Spies – inventing codes, Washington’s ‘mask’, and a real life spy mission!


Activities for ‘The Meaning of the War’

The musical ‘1776’

Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hancock

How to make a fair system – The House of Representatives and the Senate

Best form of Government?

Diagrams of the Constitution

The PBS series ‘Liberty’ is a main source of information for this unit. The students will watch and discuss selected pieces of the series.


Liberty - PBS website linked to the series.


Causes of the Revolution - pictures



Portraits of the Revolution



Battle Maps of the Revolution

Here are some maps we'll be using in class to show the early action in the Revolutionary War.



Earth's Major Systems

Module 5 Overview

In this module, students will develop and use models to understand the interactions of Earth’s major systems. Students will be involved in making observations and will engage in scientific experiences to help them to answer questions such as: How do scientists define Earth’s systems? How does the geosphere affect other systems? How does the hydrosphere affect other systems? How does the atmosphere affect other systems? and How does the biosphere affect other systems?





9 day(s)

This lesson provides students the opportunity to explore the water cycle and other sources of water on Earth’s surface. Students will obtain and evaluate information about Earth’s water to communicate why desalination is important.

9 day(s)

This lesson introduces students to how the atmosphere and the water cycle interact. Students will be able to explain how the water cycle affects Earth’s systems.

9 day(s)

The focus of this lesson is to introduce how the biosphere is impacted by the other systems that already have been discussed. Students will be able to obtain information about ways humans positively and negatively affect the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere.

1 day(s)

Students will use what they have learned throughout the module about the interactions of Earth’s major systems to creatively plan a biome for a habitat on another planet.


Pachinko challenge

Invention Challenge 3 involves trying to let a marble descend as slowly as possible from a height of approximately one meter. The student teams each have a piece of foam core attached to a desk and a marble. The students can design anything they like to slow the marble as it falls, but the marble must reach the floor. Eventually, there will be a competition. But that's just the cherry for some. Be inventive, ingenious and have fun is the cake!



The students will be receiving more homework from typing.com - fifteen minutes each night next week, starting on  February 12th, as we try to get the students ready for more on-line tests this year!

There is no homework over the vacation.

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 after the vacation!


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!