Michael J. Allen

Class of 2018 - 2019

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Teacher Plans

May 14th - 18th


Another solid week of review and practice was had by the group. We are close to wrapping up the Math program. Everything went off pretty much as planned as we find ourselves in the final phase of our academic time together.

While there was nothing especially notable or remarkable about the week in terms of highlights, there was a good atmosphere across the group all week long. I found myself having a quietly satisfying week: plans came together, students worked hard, had fun and enjoyed the days, teachers were doing the same and all was well with the world.


This Week

This week, we have the Math MCAS tests. We will see how that all goes. We will be working on Science; finishing Fourth grade review subjects, taking practice tests, reviewing Fifth grade material, but also pressing on trying to watch the Life of Mammals documentary series and working on the 'Egg Drop' technology challenge.

I'm hoping that each day of this, our final academic-focus week, should again have a pleasing balance between activity types.



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.




For the Science MCAS, the students will be working in partnerships - 'Study Buddies' - going over released practice tests from 2003 to the present. They will be working on common Open-Response questions (as a whole-class).

Finally, they will be reviewing various texts covering the material from fourth and fifth grade that will potentially turn up on the tests.

The subjects we have been reviewing are:

Fourth Grade Subjects:

  • Animal Adaptations

  • Electricity and Magnetism

  • Weather

  • Properties of Matter

Fifth Grade Subjects:

  • Space

  • Rocks and Minerals

  • Light and Sound

  • Simple Machines

  • Populations and ecosystems

This is the second transition year to the new Science standards. I'm using the information provided to us for last year to focusm preparation in lieu of not receiving any updated information. Hopefully, it will be good enough!


Monday, May 14th:

Focus:  Light - reflection, refraction,

Electromagnetic radiation
Light wave diagram and labels
Convex/concave mirrors

Convex/concave lens

Focus: States of matter

What is matter - volume, mass, density
States of matter - solid/liquid/gas
Molecules and compounds
Physical changes and chemical changes to matter


Tuesday, May 15th:

Focus: Weather- fast review!

What is air, the atmosphere
Land and sea breezes
Air pressure and measuring air pressure
Relative humidity
Cold front / Warm front


Climate - general information and many questions answered!
Climate types - polar/tropical/temperate


Wednesday, May 16th:

Focus: Earth and Space

Earth rotation - day and night
Why we have seasons
Phases of the moon
Inner planets/ outer planets
Big Bang
Life cycle of stars


Thursday, May 17th:

Math MCAS 1


Friday, May 18th:

Math Mcas 2


Google Classroom link

Here's the link to our Google classroom.



We have almost completed the Math program!
This week, after final reviews, the students complete the Math MCAS tests.



Life on Earth

This is a three or four week plan. It is broken into these primary areas:

Moral and ethical issues concerning life on Earth- to what extent do other animals feel what we do? How should animals and plants be treated? What rights do they have? What rights should they have?

The Organization of life - What are the habitats of the Earth? How are creatures adapted to their environments? What are the relationships between living things in these habitats?

The Mechanics of life - How does D.N.A work? What are cells? What are genes?


Activities for Moral and ethical issues concerning life on Earth:

  • Zoos - Read, 'Zoos' by Tony Stead. Debate the subject in debate teams with PowerPoint support. Present the debate to a Fifth grade class.

  • The Private Life of Plants - gain an understanding of the sophistication and complexity of some of Life's underrated denizens.



Activities for The Organization of life:

Reading and activities/discussion from science text, Populations and Ecosystems:

Part 1: Ecosystems

  • What is an ecosystem? P8-11

Activity: Owl pellets - understanding the diets of owls through exploring their ejected matter!


Part 2: Relationships

What's to eat? P16 -20

  • Understand the following terms and concepts:
  • Producer, consumer, decomposer
  • Herbivore, Carnivore, Omnivore


  • Parasitism
  • Commensalism
  • Mutualism

Activity: apply these concepts to a student-designed ecosystem.


Part 3: Food Chains

  • Cycle of food: food chains p27 -29

Activity: Watch the 'Blue Planet' – identify the food webs based around the Herring spawn in the American North West and the sardine Spawn off the coast of South Africa.


Part 4: Cycles

  • Cycles effecting living things: p 32- 35

    • Water cycle

    • Carbon dioxide/oxygen cycle

Activity: Make labelled diagrams of the cycles


Part 5: The Big Picture

  • Biodiversity p56 – 59

  • Changes in living things over time. Mutation and the history of life on Earth.


Populations and ecosystems

What is an ecosystem
Three types of consumer - Herbivore, carnivore, omnivore
Predator/prey - lynx and the hare
Symbiosis - parasitism, commensalism, mutualism
Food chains - webs
Water cycle
CO2 - O2 cycle
Earth's biomes


Life Of Mammals

Find out about the history and life of mammals focusing on what the characteristics mammals have to have, as well as the individual species adaptations that make them fit their particular environments.

We will be watching and discussing David Attenborough's amazing, Life of Mammals for this work.

Starting from the earliest Mammals, the platypus and echidna, we will make a journey through this most splendid kingdom of life on Earth!

There is also another aspect to the whole project - a focus on the most remarkable and most unheralded lynchpins of the amazing world of living things:


The Private Life of Plants

  • How plants disperse their seeds.

  • How plants compete and grow.

  • What is photosynthesis?

  • How do plants defend themselves?

  • How plants reproduce.

After watching relevant sections from the series we will be:

  • Taking local walks and making observational sketches

  • Making posters and designing our own plants using biologically accurate systems.


Pollen Pictures




Life - ecosystems and living-things links

Technology Challenge


The Eggdrop Challenge

Prevent your egg from perishing when cruel Mr. Allen chucks it off the roof of the school!

Design, test and make a device to save your egg!

Follow the link to see the Eggdrop challenge from a few years ago!


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!




Overview for the rest of the year!


MCAS  Test dates for Grade 5 (May)

MATH tests

Thursday, May 17th, Friday, May 18th


Monday, May 21st, Tuesday, May 22nd


Final Show (June)