Michael J. Allen

Class of 2018 - 2019

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Teacher Plans

November 21st - December 1st


Having established where the World's wealth is concentrated, we begin our journey to understand why this pattern exists. We discovered that certain regions of the World have a large amount of control over the World's resources. Other regions have hardly any fiscal wealth. We now ask the question, 'How did the World get to be this way?'

This week and next we will try to get to the answer to explain European dominance of wealth. After deducing traditional lifestyles, we have started to explore thinking about the Agrarian Revolution and the effect of that revolution on human lifestyles. By the end of next week, the students should mostly have a good idea about why Europe had gained an advantage in the 'Race for the Riches' by starting the Agrarian lifestyle earlier than in other regions. They also should have had an understanding of why the other two regions that started farming before Europe were taken out of the race: in the case of the Near East, due to environmental disaster, in the case of China, due to the bizarre circumstances surrounding the Chinese fleet led by the eunuch Admiral Cheng Ho and the momentous decision by China in 1434 to isolate itself from the rest of the world.

After that the students will also have a slim version of the story of Ghengis Khan and his overwhelming importance in launching the European wave of 'Exploration' (A.K.A. 'Invasion'!).

We will then be embarking on one of the busiest and potentially most exciting parts of our year together so far: Parent Conferences and 'The Show'.

We start work properly on our culminating project for the term on Monday, December 4th. We will be designing an event for your pleasure to be performed on Wednesday, December 20th at 6:00pm and 7:30pm.

As usual, the first week of our working on the Show is happening during the Parent Conferences week. When you meet with me during the week, don't be alarmed by the state of the classroom – we are doing a complete redesign of the room to create the environment for the complete immersion our theatrical endeavor demands - an event that Mass. College of Art would die for! However, we will be early in the process when you come to visit me, especially early during Conference week. If you want to see what the classroom normally looks like, pop in for a visit BEFORE we start work on the show!

The Report Conferences information and schedule is posted here for you.

After this two week period, we start work on our culminating project for the term (on Monday, December 4th). We will be designing an event for your pleasure to be performed two times on

Wednesday, December 20th: at 6:00pm and again at 7:30pm.

Please make seating reservations for the show by writing to me here letting me know:

  • Which show you want to attend.

  • How many will be in your party.

Seating for the event will be done in the order that reservations were made!

Please note that graduate students will be allowed to come to the show if they have made a reservation. They will be seated only after all current class families are seated!

It's critical for the success of the work that all students stay in school as consistently as possible during the two-week long preparation period and are available to practice and perform up to and including the evening of Wednesday, December 20th.

Thanks for your support!

See you at the conferences!



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. We will continue to try to add student instrumentalists to our menu this week!




Reading and Writing

Over the next two weeks, we have three main Language goals:

Reading assessments:

I will be completing the reading assessments of the students using the Fountas and Pinnell assessment system.

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

 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


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.


Monday, November 20th:

Nomad vs. Settler - review the two lifestyles. Chart or use  a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast lifestyles. Use this chart to write about which lifestyle the student prefers and why.

Take part in a short drama titled, 'Nomad vs. Settler'.

Discuss and make diagrams about the consequences of the Agrarian Revolution.


Tuesday, November 21st:

Enter personal narratives into computers ready for publication.

Race for the Riches - a drama activity to demonstate the story explaining why Iraq and China dropped out of the 'Race for the Riches' leaving the landscape clear for European domination from 1500 onwards.  


Wednesday, November 22nd:

Wrap up personal narratives ready for publication. Share the work!


Monday, November 27th:

Review: Why some countries are rich and others poor. Close the Unit with Europeans setting sail for the Americas...

Find out about the critical importance of Ghengis Khan and the Mongol empire - write to explain the importance of Ghengis Khan to Europeans soon to be setting sail for the Conquest of the Americas!

T/O maps


Tuesday, November 28th:

Rewrite selected Folk tales to have a modern feel.  - part 1


Wednesday, November 29th:

Rewrite selected Folk tales to have a modern feel.  - part 2

Research Chemical changes.


Thursday, December 30th:

Talk about an plan story ideas for the show.


Friday, December 1st:

Writing story ideas and planning a persuasive presentation.




The lessons for the next two weeks look like this:


Monday, November 20th:

Unit 5: review assessment.

(Homework: I'll update this section next week)


Tuesday, November 21st:

Unit 5: How to answer open response questions - part 1.

(Homework: I'll update this section next week)


Wednesday, November 22nd:

Unit 5: How to answer open response questions - part 2.

(No homework)


Monday, November 27th:

Unit 6: Lesson 6-1 - Multiplying Decimals by 10, 100, or 1,000

(Homework: P6-1)


Tuesday, November 28th:

Unit 6: Lesson 6-2 - Estimating the Product of a Decimal and a
Whole Number

(Homework: P6-2)


Wednesday, November 29th:

Unit 6: Lesson 6-3 - Number Sense: Decimal Multiplication

(Homework: P6-3)


Thursday, November 30th:

Unit 6: Lesson 6-4 - Models for Multiplying Decimals

(Homework: P6-4)


Friday, December 1st:

Unit 6: Lesson 6-5 - Multiplying a Decimal by a Whole Number

(No Math homework)


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 was!

We spend this week and next looking at the World the way it was thousands of years ago.

The guiding questions we explore are:

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

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

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...

Working in partnerships, the students compare their lives to the lives of children in other countries.

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:

  • 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 - write to explain the points that led to Europeans setting sail for the Conquest of the Americas!



Mappa Mundi

Follow the link to see original World maps dated between 1086 to 1430, including links to Hereford's amazing Mappa Mundi...


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.


Invention Challenge 2

Wind Vehicle Challenge

Design a vehicle to enter a road race powered only by the wind.
Can you design the winner - not only one of the fastest, but also the strongest vehicle?

This week we will continue to design our vehicles. We will sketch ideas and make decisions about sails size, materials and shape.




Students will receive their next full homework project on Friday, December 1st.

That homework will be due in on Friday, December 8th.

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!