This Week in FLAME

  • FLAME Investigates!

    Posted by Michael Allard on 10/23/2016

    Here in FLAME, we're investigating science and engineering.  From roller coasters to rocket powered vehicles, FLAME students are figuring out how things move.

    It's been a busy week for me, too.  Went to the MakerFaire on Saturday and brought back some interesting ideas. 

    Have a great week, everyone!

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  • Maker Faire

    Posted by Michael Allard on 10/16/2016

    I don't know about you, but I'm getting excited about the Maker Faire in Orlando next weekend...

    If you haven't done so already, please clear your October 22-23 calendar for the Maker Faire Orlando!

    This is a chance to see and learn about the wild possibilities available to all of us, in FLAME or out.  With any luck, you'll bring back ideas (and more) and share them with your classmates.


    Get Excited

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  • Great to be back!

    Posted by Michael Allard on 9/30/2016

    It's been great to be back now for a full week.  

    First grade did some log-cabin building on our short day this week, much like Pa did in Little House.  Planning and measurement were involved, as was the creation of pitched roofs to help keep the snow from building up too deeply!  We also took the opportunity to write about our experiences.

    In Second grade, we continued our journey beyond the Phantom Tollbooth.  We also began to consider simple machines and how they can be used to build complex machines like roller coasters!

    In the Third grade, we finally met Long John Silver in Treasure Island.  We also began contemplating the idea of using simple machines to build a trap for our buried treasure.

    Fourth grade found themselves in their continued enmeshment in the affairs of Phileas Fogg as he travels around the world being chased by the police for a crime which he may or may not have committed.  We engaged in a critical thinking challenge and a creative writing assignment.  We've also begun the process of using the Engineering Design process in creating inventions.  

    Fifth grade committed to a critical thinking challenge, did some creative writing, and got caught up on past work.  After last week's visit with NASA, we needed to get caught up.  We also started thinking about the process of invention, which will become a necessary part of our work on the Journey to Mars.  It was a good day had by all.

    I can't tell you all how good it is to be back.  My eye continues to heal, but it will take some time.  Thank you all for your continued patience,

    Mr. Allard

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  • Returning

    Posted by Michael Allard on 9/23/2016

    Hello all!

    I've missed my students, but as of today, I'm back!  More on this later.

    Mr. Allard

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  • The Eyes Don't Have It

    Posted by Michael Allard on 9/7/2016

    Sadly, I will be away from school for at least a week due to an additional eye surgery.  The surgery is not life threatening but will require my absence, so this will be my last update until my return.  

    Ms. Sullivan, with whom I have been working very closely this semester, will be covering all of FLAME in the interim.  If you have questions or concerns about your student that require immediate attention, please contact her at

    Please cc me at so that I can remain in the loop.  Because of the nature of the surgery, however, do not expect an immediate response from me.

    To my students, I will miss you and cherish the day I return.  See you soon and be good to Ms. Sullivan in my absence!

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  • Interesting Times

    Posted by Michael Allard on 9/5/2016

    "May you live in interesting times," is the apocryphal curse, perhaps from a bad translation of a Chinese saying about heroes being born in turbulent times.  Nevertheless, we have had another week of interesting times.  This one involving a hurricane, the result of which was that I missed out on seeing fifth grade again.  (The previous week was the interesting problem of my eye while, this time, it was the eye of a hurricane that came perilously close to home that stood between me and a day of exploration.)  

    Nevertheless, first grade was introduced this week to some basic engineering concepts when we built towers.  Load, Foundation, Twisting Forces, and Tension and Compression were all discussed as they moved their respective apples towards the ceiling.  

    Second grade moved into the ever more mysterious world beyond the Phantom Tollbooth. They also began imagining theme parks where the theme was either numbers or words. Exciting times to come as we explore those rides!

    Third grade, meanwhile, continued our journey into the world of Treasure Island where we came across the Black Spot.  They also went into google classroom and began writing about their own pirate crews.

    Fourth grade is poised to begin heading Around the World in Eighty Days.  We've met the main characters and are primed for adventure.  Fourth grade also created their own itineraries for what their perfect day would be.  Surprisingly, some of them still involved coming to school!  Good for them.

    I hope the long weekend has recharged your batteries.  It's onward and upward here in FLAME.  Looking forward to seeing bright shiny faces this week.

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  • A Challenging Week

    Posted by Michael Allard on 8/29/2016

    It's been a challenging week.  

    Sadly, I had to have eye surgery and missed half of the week.  Our students got to work together with Ms. Sullivan's class where they continued their readings and participated in an Odyssey of the Mind challenge.  

    My surgery was a success, and while I'm undergoing recovery, I'm able to work again.  This week, we'll be continuing our reading, doing more active challenges, and beginning some basic research with some of our grades.

    I'm delighted to be back.  Hopefully, this week will be somewhat less personally challenging than last week turned out to be.

    Mr. A!

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  • First Week of FLAME

    Posted by Michael Allard on 8/21/2016

    It was an exciting first week.

    I had the opportunity to introduce myself to a plethora of new students and reacquaint myself with old.  We talked about procedures and the Discipline Plan.  

    Each class will be reading a different book this year:

    • First Grade - Little House on the Prairie
    • Second Grade - The Phantom Tollbooth
    • Third Grade - Treasure Island
    • Fourth Grade - Around the World in Eighty Days
    • Fifth Grade - Rocket Boys

    Each grade will also be focusing on a separate adventure related to our common book, but our overall common theme is Structure.  Our Essential Question for the year is "How does structure help us understand how individual parts are connected or work together to create something new?"

    This question will guide us as we work to understand everything from building towers and bridges to constructing solid paragraphs and stories as well as understanding governments and societies.  

    Everyone seemed to have a good time this week.  I've introduced or re-introduced most of our students to Prodigy.  Parents, you can log in and follow your child's progress this year, too.  (Prodigy & Parents)

    We're also holding Odyssey of the Mind tryouts this week.  By the end of the week, Ms. Sullivan and I hope to have chose this year's teams.  We're limited to fourteen students, so the competition for the limited space will be fierce.  

    I'm looking forward to the coming week.  I trust that you all are, as well.

    Mr. Allard

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  • Summer Time

    Posted by Michael Allard on 6/28/2016 5:00:00 PM

    It's summer here in Ocala, but we're planning a big year for FLAME.  I'll be posting short notes here to let you know what's been going on in the classroom.  So keep checking in.

    The big news is that I'll be here at Madison Street full time in 2016/17.  I've been working closely with my colleague, Ms. Sullivan, and we're planning a challenging and exciting new program for the coming year.  

    I'm headed to NASA's Johnson Space Center in a couple of weeks for a professional development course.  I expect to bring back some exciting things to do for the fifth grade.  

    In the meantime, have a great summer.  See you in August!

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