Michael J. Allen

Class of 2017 - 2018

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Teacher Plans

May 22nd - June 20th - the endgame...


The students spent the whole week with their heads either buried in Science and Math test preparation materials or in the Math tests themselves. Our Science and Math preparations have been extensive and detailed. It seems clear that the Math tests were considered to be fair by the students and that most of the open-response questions were in areas that we had covered. Most of the students thought that the tests were more straightforward than they had perhaps feared though there were some ugly and beastly elements to the second Math test, apparently. As for the scores the students will get? I guess we will find out in due course. Certainly it is true to say that we had covered all of the curriculum material that was on these tests.

Obviously, this test preparation work has not been the most exciting work the students have done all year, but as I have expressed before, I think it is very valuable in multiple ways: there is no doubt that as a harbinger of the future of tests for the students, the Science MCAS especially ranks highly – in the future the students will need to conduct this sort of preparatory study before the majority of their tests throughout the rest of their academic careers.

Despite the staid and academic atmosphere of the last few weeks, the long periods sitting in uncomfortable steel chairs in silence pondering the inner workings of the world of Math, we have enjoyed some excellent and extremely amusing shared time too. There has been lots of laughter, lots of fun and lots of learning too!


This Week

With the majority of the MCAS in the rear-view mirror, and with the two tests in Science ready to absorb two whole days this week, we will begin to plot and ponder in preparation for our last major project - the end of the year show! In addition we will finish the read-aloud, prepare our egg drop devices for their fateful final launch and complete the Life of Mammals documentary.

By the end of Thursday, we will have transitioned into our final project of the year.

Due to the nature of the work when writing, designing and making a student-composed production, it is not really plausible to give the sort of lesson plans you have grown used to reading over these months we have been together. The process of working on these productions is necessarily organic and unique to each group of participants. Each day can be an adventure: ideas and decisions emerge, merge, then evaporate in a wild melting pot of ideas and creative endeavor.

More details about the process are to be found by following the link below:


The Show

This will be, without doubt, our most intellectually, emotionally and spiritually challenging project of the year. While many classrooms across America ebb and slide into the summer, we will be picking up the workload and aiming for our most ambitious work of the whole year.

That's exactly as it should be, don't you think?

Here are some additional notes about this part of the year;

  • The assignment book no longer needs to be completed after Thursday, May 25th.

  • Please email me with your reservations information for the show. I need to know which show or shows you would like to make reservations for and how many people will be attending each show. Seating for the event will be done in the order that I received reservations.

  • Also, official homework has now ended. The daily reading requirement should continue. I will be posting full information about the Middle School Summer reading project on the News page. I'll be updating the list in due course. You will be receiving a paper version of this reading project from the Sixth grade team in early June, too.

  • Please make sure the students are fully prepared for the three outdoor events (Junior Olympics, Field day and Kimball Farms).

  • Please note that there is no shade at Hormel stadium, the site for the Junior Olympics event on Wednesday, June 14th. Students need to be slathered in sunscreen and should wear hats! Water and fruit/snacks is supposed to be provided by the school/PTO so they will not be bringing any food or drink to the stadium with them. I will have their official T-shirts at school and will be handing them out before we leave on the day.

  • Final report cards and comments will be handed out on the last day of school. Hopefully, many parents will be able to attend the yet to be arranged 'Last day Party'. I hope to have a chance at that currently mythical event to thank you personally for your support during our time together.

This Teacher plans page will likely be the final plan of the year!

With that in mind I'd like to say now that I hope and trust that you have found these pages to be detailed, interesting and informative throughout our time together.

Wish us luck with our final major enterprise!



The book I'm reading to the class is the stunning, 'You Don't Know Me', by David Klass.

This week, the story reaches its incredible denouement, whatever that means!





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 finish watching and discussing David Attenborough's amazing, Life of Mammals this week.


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!

This work will need to move into 'homework' from this point on as the Show starts up.


Overview for the rest of the year!

MCAS tests in Science Tuesday, May 23rd, Thursday, May 25th  - untimed tests.


Dates for the rest of the year:

Friday, May 26th - Memorial Day Ceremony - Brooks School Gym  - 9:00 - 10:00am

Friday, June 2nd (rain date: June 6th) Field Day -Playstead Park (and Brooks School) - 9:00am -2:00pm

Monday June 5th - Belinda: dramatic presentation - McGlynn Theater - 10:50am -12:00pm

Tuesday, June 6th - Story pirates presentation - Brooks Cafetorium - Time: tbd

Wednesday, June 7th - Royall House trip -11:00 - 12:30pm

Thursday, June 8th  -The Eggdrop Challenge - Lower playground at the Brooks -1:30pm - 2:00pm.

Thursday, June 8th - 'Moving-On' Ceremony - Gymnasium at the Brooks - 5:30 pm in the gym

followed by the Student Party: 6 - 9 pm!

Friday, June 9th - Fifth Grade Kimball Farm Field Trip - Bus leaves at 9:00am. Return to school at 2:30pm.

Wednesday, June 14th  - Fifth-Grade Junior Olympics - Hormel Stadium - 9:00 - 12:30pm

Tuesday, June 20th. - End of year show  - Room 411 at the Brooks - or the Cafetorium stage (TBD). - 6:00pm and 7:30pm

Thursday, June 22nd - Last-Day Party!! Location: TBD - 1:00pm - 5:00pm


Photo credit:

All waves pictures by Clark Little.