Michael J. Allen

Class of 2017 - 2018

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Teacher Plans

October 9th - 13th


This week was another broadly encouraging week for the group. Their performance level is far from consistent at this time, but they are a charming and incisively intelligent group when their attention is brought to bear on subjects they either enjoy or choose. For example, their strategies during our class recess, 'Capture the flag' games are both unique and powerful and their team work impressive.

If only I could consistently bring this really impressive performance level into the academic arena with consistency we could become a rather formidable little pack.

But that is my challenge.

The week was disrupted by a number of factors outside our control that ended up diverting us away from the published plan: On Wednesday, the photo day event ran late and long so we lost both the opportunity to finish the Future World presentations as well as a Math class. The local walk was cancelled due to the need to take part in the school wide 'lockdown drill'. 'Buddies' was cancelled again due to the second whole school assembly.

I realized early in the week that I needed to keep my two Science classes synchronized due to the setup of materials for the 'Inquiry Activities' (experiments that make up a significant part of this appealing Science program). We completed three full Science lessons that were not included in the published plan.

The students did solid work throughout: on the first enquiry activity, the research activity that followed it in lesson two and for the Performance task (in this case, making three models to represent solids, liquids and gases using  paper plates, beads and glue) that wraps up each suite of lessons.

I was really pleased with how these lessons went with both classes.


This week

It's only a short week this week, and the students will also have their first 'Sub' of the season on Friday -  that means a traditional Journeys lesson is on the way! The focus events for the week include finishing the cancelled presentations, taking a local walk on Thursday - weather permitting and completing the next exciting sequence of lessons in the first Science module. We crack open Unit 3 in Math and push deeper into the thrilling new read-aloud The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz.


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 four phases:

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

  • Greetings

  • Activities - short, fun community enhancing activities

This week's activities may include a Math game called Pico-Ferme-Nada and the popular game, Alibi.






We have begun reading a new read-aloud using this story as a launch pad for various Journey's based lessons. The book is the 2017 Newbury awards list Honorable Mention winner,

The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz.


I will be reading chapters of the book to the students. The students will be rereading the chapters themselves then taking part in various activities including topical discussions, Reader's Theater and analysis of the text:

The Journeys focus lesson this week is on theme in stories.

Students will discuss what are the main themes the writer is exploring in the novel so far. We will be looking more deeply into Chapter 1, again, for this discussion.

Next week we will also complete and discuss the previous lessons including lessons that we didn't manage to get to:

  • Students will list the main events of Chapter 1 and 2 of the book.
  • Character problems and resolutions - using T charts
  • Compare and contrast main characters - using Venn diagrams

The students will highlight sections of Chapter 1 for their second reader's theater experience.

We will also have a regular twenty minute long private-reading experience on most days after recess.



One focus this week will be writing descriptive poetry based on sensual experience: utilizing all of the senses on a rebooked local walk to a park on Thursday. Another focus this week will be finally finishing the Future World presentations.



Type, proofread and edit with partner favorite free-form poems.

Great Photos

Some of the 'Top Photographs from the Twentieth Century' according to Life and Time Magazine, as well as some others I've chucked in for good measure! We use these photos to work on our descriptive skills and to write descriptive poetry.




Make presentations of the Future World.



Descriptive writing: Take a local walk to a park by the Mystic river. Write descriptive poetry.



Read from Journeys: Off and running p86 – 96.

Complete the Venn diagram to identify and compare character traits.




We completed unit two last week in Math.

The assessment at the end of the unit has brought up some interesting topics for discussion that will absorb much of Tuesday's lesson, I suspect, based on how the students did in the assessment.

The lessons for this week look like this:



Lesson 3.1 - The properties of multiplication are used to simplify computation and to verify mental math and paper and pencil algorithms.

(Homework: P3.1)



Lesson 3.2 - Using mental math to multiply

(Homework:  P3.2)



Lesson 3.3 - Estimating Products

(No Math homework)


There will be daily practice worksheets Tuesday and Wednesday for Math homework.

Each worksheet will be due to be handed in the following day.

The worksheet number will be posted in the Assignment book each day as well as here in the Math section.




Properties of Matter - week 2

This week's lessons focus on how matter is made up of elements that determine its properties. These different properties are used to classify matter and can be used to identify unknown types of matter. Students will discover that understanding the properties of matter allows us to use matter to solve problems.

Invention Challenge 1

The first challenge is to design and build a wheeled device, using K'Nex, that rolls furthest from the top of a ramp.

This week, prototypes are entered into the class Ramp Run Challenge competition.

We investigate: What are the main problems each design faces?

Students generate testable hypotheses, identify independent variables, control dependent variables, conduct tests, improve designs, keep records of results.

This week and next students will be:

  • Writing about vehicles - prepare for web-publish
  • Taking photos of vehicles
  • Continue testing vehicles. Keeping records in a chart of distances achieved.

    Discussion topics include the importance of:

    • Wheel size
    • Weight
    • Symmetry

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


Homework will be continuing on Monday, October 16th. (I will be out of school on Friday, so I will be introducing the mini-project on Monday. The graded projects will also be returned later than usual, due to my absence on Friday.)

Students will usually receive their project homework jobs for the whole week each Friday.

Look for it in the student's backpack.

The students have included a plan in their assignment book for when they intend to complete each job. Please review this plan with your child and advise them on the practicality of their plan and make adjustments accordingly!

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!