Michael J. Allen

Class of 2018 - 2019

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Teacher Plans

November 13th - 17th


I have to say that the group has finally settled down and become more focused recently. I'm hoping that this trend will continue and expand in the coming months. I'm really enjoying my time with them. It was exciting for us all to meet and to start to get to know our new student Diennyfer on Wednesday last week. Hopefully, we can spend the next few weeks focusing on integrating her into this steadily evolving group. The girls are especially happy to have their number increased by one! They are a really heart-warming and fun class. The dynamics between the students are generally good. They are trying to improve their motivation to do well in school.  Let's hope I'm not jinxing myself!

Here's a little map for you to help with planning your time between now and the end of December:


November 13th - 17th

Social studies focus.


November 20th - 22nd

No Homework – Thanksgiving break.


November 27th - December 1st

Wrap up Social studies project. First term grades close.


December 4th - 8th

Start work on two-week Project Period – Wednesday, December 6th. Project period week 1. Reports out Monday, December 4th. Report Conferences week (Schedule and appointments available now). Last Homework project of term.

The Parent Conference information and schedule is posted here for you.


December 11th - 22nd

Project Period week 2. Performances for parents at 6:00pm and 7:30pm on Wednesday, December 20th. Tickets and information will be available soon! Optional Homework – staying late at school to work on the show till 4:00pm.  Friday December 22nd –  crash the room. School's out at 12:00pm.


This week

The Parent Conference information and schedule is posted here for you.

This week we will be moving into new areas of study. We will spend the next few weeks setting the stage for the story of America by asking the question, 'Why are some countries rich and others poor?'

The students will investigate where the world's wealth is (and is not) by looking at GDP information and correlating the information to World Maps. After finding out where the money is, the students will then begin to investigate why the pattern is that way. I will be basing the analysis on Jared Diamond's epic, 'Guns, Germs and Steel'. The students will think and talk about life at the end of the last ice age. They also will be thinking, talking and debating, comparing nomadic to settled lifestyles that came about as a result of the Agrarian Revolution.

Some of the work in this area will be constructing and drawing 'Mind-Maps', a technique combining art, diagramming and note-taking principles. This includes a Mind Map comparing Nomad and Settler lifestyles and a Mind Map to summarize, 'The Race for The Riches'.


Morning meeting

As part of the whole-school philosophy, each class begins most days with a thirty-minute long class meeting.

The meeting is structured into various phases:

  • Message - topic of the day, often with academic angle. This week, we're back to proofreading  practice.

  • Greetings

  • Activities - short, fun community-enhancing activities

We will sing our small collection of classics this week: Radioactive, Eleanor Rigby, Pompeii and Stand by me.



This week, the main Language goal is:

Reading assessments:

I will be conducting reading assessments of the students using the Fountas and Pinnell assessment system used at the Brooks.

The results of these assessments will be shared with you at our upcoming parent conferences.

The assessments will make it challenging for me to check the Assignment books each day. I'll do my best!



We will continue an exciting read-aloud The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz  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 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.

We are also reading Non-fiction for the research element of our Science program.

We will be reading and writing about chemical changes.



Personal Narratives:

The students will be finishing their personal narratives in preparation for publication. We will be concluding our writing workshop lessons with some work on paragraph elaboration.

Social Studies writing:

  • Writing imaginative diary entries about life in the distant past.
  • Discussing and deducing the probable life styles of our family in the distant past
  • Comparing and contrasting lifestyles using Venn diagrams and T-charts
  • Learning about the importance of Ghengis Khan to European Colonial ambition



The lessons for this week look like this:



 Lesson 5-4 - Dividing by 2-digit divisors - 1 digit quotients

(Homework: P5-4)



Lesson 5-5 - Dividing by 2-digit divisors - 2 digit quotients

(Homework: P5-5)



Lesson 5-6 -Dividing by 2-digit divisors - estimating and dividing greater numbers

(Homework: Practice assessment)



Review for assessmenty (Homework: study for assessment)




(Homework: None)


Pearson Realize Website

Here you can find all the student workbook and practice exercises used in the Envisions Math program.




The World the Way it is!

We spend this week and next looking at the World the way it is today.

We focus on poverty and wealth.

The first guiding questions we explore are:

  • What is the status of the World with regard to wealth?

  • Why are some countries rich, while other countries are poor?

  • Why did Europeans invade the Americas, not the other way around?

The students visit websites to explore basic facts about modern countries and their wealth, by comparing each countries' G.D.P.

Here are the links to the primary data we use:

Poverty and wealth data

Happiness around the World? Read these graphs and diagrams and see what scientists have found about the state of our World...

The students will then have a basic overview of the state of the planet with regard to wealth.

Working in partnerships, the students compare their lives to the lives of children in other countries. They try to put themselves into the 'non-shoes' of a poor child through a drama exercise.

Having established where the World's wealth is concentrated, we begin our journey to understand why this pattern exists.


Our journey to answer that question begins back through time, 15,000 years. We will try to deduce what life must have been like at that time.

The specific activities are:

  • Write diary entries. The first entry asks, 'What would a typical day look like in 13,000bp?'

  • 'Time travel' back to 13,000BP. Make a poster of a village from 13,000BP. Meet the citizens of 'the Village'. Find out more about them.

  • Domestication of Plants and Animals. Find out about the emergence of farming in the near east. Create a drama and 'mind-map' comparing and contrasting the nomad and farmer lifestyles.

  • Make a drama called 'Race to the Riches' showing the changes that the new lifestyle engendered. Find out about why Iraq and China dropped out of the fifteenth Century 'Race for the Riches'.

  • Find out about the critical importance of Ghengis Khan and the Mongol empire - design a 'talk show' to explain the points that led to Europeans setting sail for the Conquest of the Americas!

Tune back in here next Sunday for the next thrilling full plan!!

Science Project 

Physical and Chemical Changes

In this module, students will carry out an investigation and use mathematics and computational thinking to answer questions about physical and chemical changes in matter and the conservation of matter. Students will engage in scientific experiences to answer questions such as: What happens to the amount of matter when it changes state? What happens when different types of matter are mixed? How does matter change when it interacts with other matter?


Week 3:


This lesson focuses on the fact that when certain types of matter are combined and form a new substance, it is called a chemical change. Most chemical changes cannot be reversed and the change causes the matter to have new properties. Students will explore how matter is also conserved during chemical changes in a closed system.


Thanksgiving Break

Next week there will be no project due to Thanksgiving.

Other than potentially some Math, it will be reading work, as ever!

Happy Thanksgiving!

See you back here after Thanksgiving!

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!