Newsletter

Newsletter

month-of-may-flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Camping

Students Camping trip will be May 1 through May 5. Students neeCampd to bring a sack lunch that is completely disposable, water bottles, sunscreen, and bug spray. Students will leave school at 8:30 am SHARP.

May 1          Pre- K and Kindergarten. Day Camp. Leave school at 8:30 am and return at 3:30 pm.

May 2          1st and 2nd grade. Day Camp. Leave school at 8:30 am and return at 3:30 pm.

May 3           3rd, 4th, 5th grade. Day Camp. Leave school at 8:30 am. PARENTS NIGHT. Parents bring a dish to be passed and dinner will be served at 5:00 pm. Burgers will be provided. 5:45 pm Student program.

May 4- 5   6th, 7th, 8th grade. Over-night camping. Leave school at 8:30 am. Parents please see letter for items students need to bring.

PARENTS NIGHT/COOKOUT- WEDNESDAY MAY 3rd.

Bring a dish and lawn chairs. Students will do a performance at 5:45 pm.

 

 

Standardized testing May 15- May 18thtesting-clipart-students-testing-clipart-1

May 15- 16:

  • 3rd and 4th Grade Standard Testing
  • 5th -8th Grade Student Exams

 

May 17-18:

  • 5th and 6th Grade Standard Testing
  • 3rd and 4th Grade Student Exams

 

 

 

 

Dates to rememberjanuary events

1-5- Day Camping

12-Teacher appreciation

15-May 18- Standardized Testing

22-Student appreciation week

29- Holiday- No school

30- Final Exams

 

Standardized Testing Tips

What is standardized testing? Standardized testing is way to measure student’s performances. These tests are also a way for school educators to make decisions regarding the instructional programs. School administrators may use the results of the tests to evaluate the school system, a school program or a student.

Standardized tests measure how much students have already learned about a school subject. Teachers and administrators may develop programs that suits student’s achievement levels in each subject area.

Parents should incorporate these strategies daily:

  • Assist your child with homework, ensuring your child completes all homework assignments.
  • Helping them develop good study habits, thinking skills and a positive attitude towards education.
  • Ensuring your child has good attendance at school.
  • Encourage your child to read daily to increase their vocabulary, magazines, books etc., this will also improve reading skills.
  • Educational games and program to engage your child’s learning.
  • Help your child follow directions carefully.

Parenting tips on the day of the test:

  • Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and eats a healthy breakfast.
  • Make sure your child is prepared: such as they have the proper tools for their tests, pencils, erasers etc.
  • Remain positive. If parents stay calm, your child will also stay calm.

http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/parent-tips-helping-your-child-test-taking

 

Student Learning

Mrs. Abedi

3rd-5th Grade Reading and Writing Class

Students successfully prepared for and participated in a class debate. Each student was assigned the role of a person who was involved in the Titanic ship. Students had to persuade the group that they could not be held responsible for the sinking of the ship. This was a fun and interactive task that demonstrated a range of vocal chords.

Students have also been writing a range of stories from the spontaneous and challenging combinations of rolling a dice to writing about their dreams.

The class finished reading ‘Private Peaceful’ and sat an open book test on this. This was to focus upon student’s abilities to read and comprehend key information. Students will have the opportunity to watch the movie and make comparisons. The class is now reading ‘The Great Brain’.

6th-8th Grade Reading and Writing Class

As the travel writing unit comes to an end, students have been working to design a webpage for their travel company. The class participated in presentations of their webpages focusing upon language and tone to convey their passion as sales people. Students then began analyzing and writing advertisements to sell their homes as vacation homes. Students also used this activity as a stimulus to further enhance their speaking and listening skills.
Ms. Anu

6th Grade- Students will review their textbook so that are ready for their standardized testing and final exams.

7th-8th Grade-Students will be reviewing Algebra I and Algebra II and preparing for their standardized testing and final exams.

Mr. Gonzalez

In Science, students have been studying classical and modern genetics. We have seen how proteins determine what kind of organism a cell will be and what type of cell it will be (muscle, nerve, skin, or any of over 200 other types). We have seen how all of this is controlled by DNA in our chromosomes.

We have studied how traits are passed down through generations, and why every individual is unique. The class has also studied the exciting and sometimes frightening modern methods for changing genes artificially to cure genetic diseases and to create new organisms with desirable traits. We have looked at how creatures repair themselves, especially damage to their DNA, and how this process gradually fails causing us to age and die. Conversely, we have seen how loss of control of cell division can lead to cells that are immortal but cancerous. Students have completed many simulation activities to illustrate DNA transcription and translation, Karyotyping, the practice of genetic medicine including cloning, and other processes.

Ms. Renee

In Reading/Writing, students finished reading a short story script called “The Secret Ingredient”. Students had to read with expression and pause between groups of words for appropriate phrasing. We also finished reading a historical fiction called “Sailing Home” with critical thinking questions to make sure they understood the complex text. For writing, students are learning how to make self- correction and encourage to do so on every writing assignment. We will continue to go through the writing process and review grammar usage and mechanics.

Ms. Jaya

In Math, after successfully completing our lesson on fractions, we are now working on decimals. In this lesson, we will work on place-value, adding, subtracting, comparing and ordering decimals

Ms. Jessica

Math- 2nd grade

In math, we continue to practice 2-digit multiplication and long division with and without remainders.  We practice these concepts every day. If you would like to practice at home, please do so as this will help the students with the process. For the remainder of the year, we will review place value, counting identifying money, rounding, word problems, missing factors, number sentences, and mean, median, range will also be reviewed.

Language Arts 2nd– 4th grade

In language arts, we have been practicing cursive every day and the students will start writing their assignment’s in cursive. We are practicing speaking out loud during a presentation. Our grammar studies include complete/incomplete sentences, punctuation and correct word order. “If I could fly”, fill in the blank writing and “Summer” are our next writing assignments. We edit writing one by one for wrong assignments before students work on a final copy. The final copy is also checked for errors.

Science 2nd grade

We are finishing the unit on energy and its sources. Our next chapter will cover forces of motion. On a daily basis, the students read from the text and take notes. We cover vocab as well as higher level thinking questions. Most notes are written on the board form them to copy, other notes are discussed out loud and then recorded in their journals. Students have enjoyed the science material especially the experiments. Future experiments include: Measure a throw and create a simple machine. Our last unit will cover healthy eating and our bodies.

Ms. Laura

Earth Day was a wonderful way to focus on the 3R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We Enjoyed craft day creating a collage with an outline of one hand and the world to represent our ability to change our carbon footprint to protect the world we live in. Our class in enjoying concepts of reinforcing clock and time zone around the world. We will continue to focus on April showers brings May flowers to enjoy all the splendor around us. We will continue our process of learning synonyms and antonyms. Along with the (‘) apostrophe to show possession of each students’ items. Lastly, will continue with our learning of money and the different values of coins to establish great money managers for the future.

Mrs. Smith

In Social Studies, we embarked on a journey throughout Texas history. From early Texas dinosaurs, military leader, pirates, early settlers and explorers to Texas as we know it today, with its interesting people, places, politics, state symbols and geography. The students also learned about famous Texans that played a significant role in the fight for Texas to gain its independence, the obstacles they faced and eventually overcame. We’ve studied a great deal about our Lone Star State, once known as The Republic of Texas.

Ms. Nadia

The Students are still working on establishing their base in Arabic by learning more vocabulary and using it in small sentences’. And they are, almost, at the end (lesson twenty-six) of their Arabic curriculum في حديقة اللغة العربية, level pre. K (Rawda), which, we are planning to finish with the end of May (InshaAllah).

April Newsletter

April

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2017 Newsletter

The month of April we will be focusing on “Manners Matter”.

It is never too early to start teaching children good manners. Good manners and etiquette show that children come from nurturing parents. Parents should be the model for their children to learn good manners. Good manners will make our children successful, function well, and have reduced internal conflicts.

Here are 12 specific manners that children should learn at an early age.Manners

  1. Saying Please and Thank you. Parents teach their children “Please” and “Thank you” in the home, it will become automatic when children are out in public.
  2. Asking before taking anything. Children should learn that they need to ask before they take anything that is not theirs. When they return the item, they should say “thank you”.
  3. Saying Sorry. Children should know how to say “Sorry”. Parents should not force children to say I am sorry, but reinforce the words. This will teach the children empathy, which is very important.
  4. Knocking on doors before entering. Children should learn that privacy is very important. If the door is closed, children should knock and wait for permission to enter.
  5. Cover mouth when sneezing and coughing. This is very important so your child does not spread germs in the classroom and is proper etiquette.
  6. Saying excuse me. Children can be very impatient, they need to be taught to say excuse me and wait for permission to speak. They should not be allowed to interrupt when other people are speaking.
  7. Sitting quietly. This is very difficult to teach to children but children need to learn how to sit quietly and patiently in the classroom and other events.
  8. Do not make fun of other people. Children should be taught they never make fun of anyone either in public or in private. Children should realize that these insults hurt other people’s feelings.
  9. Being helpful and compassionate. Children should be taught and shown how to be helpful and compassionate in life.
  10. Phone etiquette. Children need to learn how to speak on the phone and how to remain quiet when someone is speaking to them.
  11. Respecting elders and teachers. It is important to teach children to respect their elders and teachers, they are trying to teach children the right path to lead our lives.
  12. Having conversations, the right way. Children should learn to speak softly, no yelling, shouting or screaming. Parents can teach by example by not yelling or shouting at your child. If parents become angry, give yourself time to calm down before speaking with your child. Children must also learn not to interrupt when someone is speaking to them. Wait their turn to speak, let the other person finish what they are saying and then speak when they are finished.

http://www.indiaparenting.com/manners-and-discipline/97_5354/12-good-manners-your-kid-must-learn.html

Manners are an emphasize at Pinnacle daily. Good manners and a strong education is the key to success, we will continue to work with our students at school to reinforce good manners. We are asking parents to partner with us to reinforce “Good Manners” at home. Also, parents please ask your children what they have learned at school regarding manners and incorporate them at home.

“Teach love, generosity, good manners and some of that will drift from the classroom to the home and who knows, the children will be educating parents”-Roger Moore

HEALTHY LUNCHES

Students need healthy lunches for them to succeed in the classroom. Healthy lunches re-energize the body and raises blood sugar levels. lunchesA healthy lunch can renew energy for students and keeps your metabolism active.

Lunch is the most important for most students because some do not eat a balanced breakfast. Lunch should be a combination of complex carbohydrates with lean protein for long lasting energy. Examples include nonfat yogurt, granola, lean turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, fruits and vegetables. Just remember the five main food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and dairy.

http://www.livestrong.com

Book

APRIL BOOK LIST

2nd Grade- The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

3rd/4th- The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

5th/6th- Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

7th/8th-The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

 

 

january eventsApril School Events:

April 14- No School

April 17- No School

April 28- Report Cards

April 28- Book Reports Due

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

MAY 1- Day Camp- Pre-K- K Grades – Pick up at school, 4:00 pm

MAY 2- Day Camp- 1st-2nd Grades- Pick up at school, 4:00 pm

MAY 3- Day Camp- 3rd, 4th, 5th Grades- Pick up at school, 6:00 pm

MAY 4TH-5TH– Over Night Camping- 6th, 7th, 8th Grade- Pick up at school regular time on May 5th.

 

STUDENT LEARNING

Mrs. Abedi

3th, 4th, 5th Grade

In Writing, students will be participating in a debate. The stimulus of this will be the “Titanic”. Each student will be preparing a persuasive piece to use. They will be taught effective debating skills to engage and successfully participate in a panel. April will also mark the end of “Private Peaceful”. Students will use this novel to create a script.all children can learn

6th, 7th, 8th Grade

In Writing, students are continuing to create their island/counties projects. They will write an informative piece, design a travel brochure and pitch their work for the intended audience. Students will then go on designing a web page and an advertisement.

6th, 7th, 8th Grade

This month will be Social Studies. Students will be studying Texas history and take part in a range of writing activities. Students will also prepare a production of Macbeth to be presented to the entire school.

Ms. Anu

5th-6th Grade

In Math, students will continue studying measurements. We will be working on surface area, volume of prisms, pyramids and cylinders. We will start with two step equations with integers.

7th-8th Grade

In Math, students will be studying the concepts of factoring polynomials. We will start with rational equations and functions. We will learn operations on rational expressions which include simplifying, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing rational expressions.

Algebra II

Students will study logarithmic functions which includes properties, solving exponential and logarithmic equations. Students will be introduced to complex fractions this month as well.

Mr. Gonzalez

5th-6th Grade

In Science, students have been studying classical and modern genetics. We have seen how proteins determine what kind of organism a cell will be and what type of cell it will be (muscle, nerve, skin, or any of over 200 other types). We have seen how all of this is controlled by DNA in our chromosomes.

We have studied how traits are passed down through generations, and why every individual is unique. Students have also studied the exciting and sometimes frightening modern methods for changing genes artificially to cure genetic diseases and to create new organisms with desirable traits. We have studied how creatures repair themselves, especially if there was damage to their DNA, and how this process gradually fails causing us to age and die. Conversely, we have seen how loss of control of the cell division can lead to cells that are immortal but cancerous. Students have completed many simulation activities to illustrate DNA transcription and translation, karyotyping, the practice of genetic medicine including cloning, and other processes.

7th, 8th Grade

In Science, students finished the unit on space and the universe. Students studied classical genetics and a very light exposure to modern genetics. They are now finished with the textbook and will be reviewing with enrichment activities.

 Ms. Jaya

3rd, 4th Grade

In Math, after successfully completing our lesson on fractions, we are now working on decimals. In this lesson, we will work on place-value, adding, subtracting, comparing and ordering decimals.

5th Grade

In Geometry, students will cover the types of angles. Students will study different types of triangles, polygons, quadrilaterals and three dimensional figures.

6th Grade

In Math, students are wrapping up with writing equations, inequalities and solving them. We will start a new chapter on geometric figures in which we will learn how to measure angles, polygons, circles, points, lines, planes and geometric construction.

7th Grade

In Math, students are working on finding square roots, Pythagorean theorem, right triangles, trigometric ratios and solving right triangles.

Ms. Jessica

2nd grade

In Language Arts, we are continuing to writes essays. Some topics include “If I were a raindrop” and “If I was invisible”. We are also learning about root words, prefixes and suffixes. We will continue to read short stories and participate in class discussions as well as journal entries. The students have done a great job with cursive writing and will begin writing their assignments in cursive. We continue to review capitalization rules, spelling and punctuation.

In Math, we are reviewing fact families and order of operations. Roman numerals and ordered pairs are also going to be covered in April. During morning work, students review two-digit multiplication, long division, perimeter, area, and equivalent fractions every day.

In Science, we have just finished studying the solar system. We are going to finish the chapter on seasons and the moon. The next unit is about properties of matter. The students will participate in experiments and a scavenger hunt around the school.

4th grade

In Language Arts, we have finished our spring break writing. Our next topics include “What if it rained cats and dogs?” and “If I were a raindrop”. We are studying root words, prefixes and suffixes. In our daily writing, we practice proper verb tense, spelling and punctuation. The students are continuing to read short stories and participate in class discussions that include sharing real life experience and critical thinking questions. We have reviewed all the letters in cursive and the students practice every day. Soon, their writing assignments will be in cursive.

Mrs. Kennedy

Pre-K and Kindergarten

In English, we are reading short vowel words and stories. We are practicing proper letter formation. “All letters start at the top” and adding blends (th, sh, ch, st, br) to make more words. We are mastering site words 1 through 30 with practice on a daily basis.

In Math, we are counting by 1’s, 5’s and 10’s and are moving past 100 in our 5’s and 10’s. Students are also mastering 1:1 correspondence, before between and after and number recognition.

In Social Studies, we are studying our country, country capital as well as the capitals of our 50 states and where they are located.

In Science, students are focusing on the change of seasons, the weather changes, and the changes of plants and animals in each season. We are also enjoying our daily exercise time and “Manners Matter” class.

Ms. Laura

Kindergarten

April is upon us. So, students are enjoying “April showers bring May flowers” saying. We will focus on money amounts and which president is on each coin. For instance, Abraham Lincoln on the penny. Penny for your thoughts are given by our students. Thomas Jefferson is on the nickel and he was instrumental in the Louisiana purchase. Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the new Deal Act to get Americans back to work and is on the dime. George Washington is on the quarter. Each morning we pass out different amounts of money and have students count them and then write in a perfect world what they can buy. The purchase power of kid’s imagination is limitless. We continue to cover our list of spelling words every Monday and have students put those words into sentences.

Ms. Renee

3rd, 4th Grade

In Social Studies, students are gaining knowledge of events, learning about people of our past and understanding its importance. As a class, we reflect, analyze actions of America and our world’s history. We began with early civilization and will finish with the modern world. Students are gaining a clear perceptive of how history shaped us today. Currently, we are reading about the Renaissance Era and students are really enjoying Leonardo da Vinci, Christopher Columbus and Martin Luther King just to name a few.

3rd, 4th Grade

In Reading/Writing, students finished reading a short story script called “The Secret Ingredient”. Students had to read with expression and pause between groups of words for appropriate phrasing. We also finished reading a historical fiction called “Sailing Home” with critical thinking questions to make sure they understood the complex text. For writing, students are learning how to make self- correction and encourage to do so on every writing assignment. We will continue to go through the writing process and review grammar usage and mechanics.

Mrs. Smith

4th Grade

In Social Studies, students have completed their World Studies project in which each student researched their assigned country and prepared a slideshow presentation to share with the class. We have also studied how government was formed in the Middle ages and famous people who made a significant contribution to the Renaissance Era. In addition to World History, we have been practicing how to locate countries on a map, using a map scale, longitude and latitude, and creating timelines to trace important dates and events.

Congratulations-clipart-animated-free-free-2

 

Creative Communications Competition

A huge congratulations!!!! to the winners of the writing competition that Mrs. Abedi’s classes entered. Students participated in the Creative Communications competition where they had to submit a short story (no longer than 300 words). As you can imagine, this was a challenging activity which encouraged students to be extremely selective. However, it is an incredible achievement that so many of our students have been selected to have their work published. This epitomizes, the talent and progress of our students!

The writing competition winners are as follows:

Aayan R., Ayaan C., Abbas Z., Auyeh O., Humza Z., Iman Y., Mehdi K., Reza O., Saad Z., Saaiya B., Safia Y., Salmaan H., Shafa H., Zahra R., Zain J., Zehra J.

 

 

announcements clip artPinnacle prep school continues to challenge our students with their reading and writing comprehension daily. We ask parents to have their children read for at least 30 minutes each night to reinforce their comprehension. As you can see by the multiple winners we had, our students are doing very well! Keep up the hard work!

 

March Newsletter 2017

 

 

 

MARCH

Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that teach kids to do the right thing. By Dr. Michelle Borba, Ed.D., educational psychologist.

  1. Know what you stand for so your child knows. Parents with clearly identified moral convictions are more likely to raise good children. Children know what their parents stand for so they will adopt their parent’s beliefs. Make a list of your top three virtues and use them for a guide on how you want to raise your children.
  2. Walk your Talk. Ask yourself “If I were the only example my child had to learn moral habits from, whatCreation open minds clip art would they learn today by watching me?” Children learn parent’s moral standards.
  3. Share your moral beliefs and take stands. Speaking frequently to your child regarding values is called direct moral teaching. Parents need to stand up for your own beliefs so your children have an example to follow.
  4. Ask moral questions to stretch moral development. Children need to expand their ability to look at another person’s perspective and ask themselves “Is this the right thing to do?”, “How would they feel if someone treated you that way?” “If everyone acted that way (i.e. lied, cheated, stole something,), what would happen?”
  5. Boost Empathy. Children who stand up for other children are those that feel for others. Empathy is what motivates that feeling, halts cruel behavior and urges children to take a stand.
  6. Reinforce assertiveness not compliance. Children who stands up for their beliefs, reinforce assertiveness not compliance. Encourage children to share his opinions and stand up for what is right, do so at an early age.
  7. Teach assertive skills. Teach children assertive skills to they can take a stand when they are confronted with a moral dilemma.

 

11 Ways to Teach Children Honesty:

  • Practice attachment parenting. Children that are more secure at home do not lie.
  • Parents should model truth. Children model what they see their parents do.
  • The truthful self is ok. Parents may say “I like a truthful C grade more than an untruthful A grade.”
  • Don’t label the child who lies. Avoid judgements! Never say “you’re a liar, or why can’t you ever tell the truth.
  • Avoid setups for lying. Parents needs to confront children who are not telling the truth.Clip art
  • Teach honesty to children by expecting the truth. Children should not have any choices but to tell the truth.
  • When your child lies. Always correct your child for lying. Do not let him think he can get away with lying.
  • Encourage honestly. Parents need to reinforce how important telling the truth is.
  • Teach a child when silence is not lying. If being honest hurts someone’s feelings, it is not wrong to stay silence.
  • Get behind the eyes of your child. Children need to know the difference better pretending and telling pretend stories.
  • Offer amnesty when teaching honesty to children. When parents know that their child has lied to them, you can turn the negative into a moral lesson, by using amnesty.

If parents create an atmosphere at home that honesty is the best policy and a truthful self is really the nicest person to be around, parents are building trust and avoiding dishonesty. Dr. William Sears, M.D. Pediatric medicine

March Lep. clip art

 

 

 

March 12- Daylight Savings Begins.

Reminder Daylight Savings Begins on March 12 at 2:00 a.m. You will forward your clocks one hour. Good news-you get one more hour of daylight. Bad news- you lose an hour of sleep.

March 17- St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick was a Saint of Ireland. There is little known about St. Patrick’s life. He was born in Britain. At age 16, he was captured by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland where he was held for six years. During this six years, he became a Christian. He then walked 200 miles until he reached Britain and became a priest. He was then sent back to Ireland to teach Christianity. He incorporated the Irish beliefs into his teaching. This holiday became a religious feast day to observe the St. Patrick. They celebrated with parades, dancing, and special foods. The first St. Patrick’s Day was held in New York City in 1762.

March 20- The first day of Spring.

january events

 

 

 

 

 

March 3-Pancake Breakfast

March 3- Progress Reports

March 10- Face Painting (Pre-K to 3rd)

March 17-24- Holiday Spring Break

March 31- Snow Cones

 

Book list

MARCH BOOK LIST

2nd Grade- Matilda, By Ronald Dahl

3rd-4th Grade- Island of the Blue Dolphins, By Scott O’Dell

5th-6th Grade- A Long Walk to Water, By Linda Sue Park

7th-8th Grade- Dracula, By Bram Stoker

Book Reports are due March 31.

 

all children can learn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Anu classes

Math

6th grade- Students will begin studying several units in the month of March such as: percent applications, discounts, sales tax, commission, simple interest, customary and metric units, quadrilaterals and circles. Students will also learn the surface areas and volumes of prisms, pyramids and cylinders.

7th grade- Students will be working on the functions and graphing of quadratic equations and inequalities. Students will learn how to solve quadratic equations using the quadratic formula and applications of discriminant. Students will compare linear, exponential and quadratic models, and polynomials.

8th grade- Students will be studying powers, roots and radicals. They will study roots, rational exponents and properties of rational exponents, inverse functions, graphing square root and cube root, and statistics and statistical graphs.

Mrs. Abedi classes

Reading and Writing Class

3rd-5th Grade-The class will be working on a ‘Cereal’ project where they will research and present information on a given figure. They will use close reading skills to independently collate, summarize and share key information about their person. Over the coming weeks, students will also be writing effective character descriptions, future goals and be taught about the strategies used to be an effective debater. This will allow students to enhance their speaking and listening skills.

The class is continuing with the novel ‘Private Peaceful’. They will identify new vocabulary words that they discover and continue to implement them in their writing. Furthermore, students will use the plot to discover and relate it to the context that the novel is set in. This will develop critical thinking skills about topics such as war and propaganda during World War.

Reading and Writing Class

6th-7th Grade-The month of March will be a continuation of the Non-Fiction Writing unit. Students will be writing a comparative essay based upon some of the texts they have been exposed to (travel accounts and blogs). The purpose of this will be to emphasis how layout, language and sentence structure can vary depending upon the type and purpose of the text. Students will be using persuasive writing devices to create a holiday resort island. This project will also incorporate speaking and listening activities so that students can vocally implement the strategies that they will have used in their written pieces.

Within reading, students will finish reading Act 5 of Macbeth. They will then use their knowledge of the plot, themes and language to write an analytical essay. This will be based upon their exploration of the main characters. Students will also write a condensed version of the play to reenact in front of the school.

Ms. Jaya’s Class

Math

4th and 5th grade-Students are working on Geometry, after successfully completing a lesson on Statistics, Fractions, and Data and Graphing.

6th Grade-Students worked on measurements which included converting, customary units, temperature different times zones. In the coming weeks, will be studying adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing decimals.

7th Grade- Students have completed the chapter on co-ordinate plane, which included graphing equations and inequalities. We will begin on area’s and volumes of plane figures and solids.

Ms. Jessica’s Class

Math

2nd grade- Students have just finished studying lines, angles and shapes. We are going to continue to study symmetry, transformations and solid figures. Students will also be learning/reviewing money, values, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.

Language Arts

2nd grade-Students have just finished our “If I was President “writing assignment. The next project will be for students to create their own stamps. They will also write about their design and why it is important to them. We have started cursive and add new letters every day. We are reviewing contractions and practicing grammar daily.

Science

2nd grade- Students have finished their resource projects. They enjoyed making items using recycled plastic and paper. We will begin the unit on water cycle and continue on with the weather and the solar system.

Language Arts

3th-4th grade- Students have finished our “America” writing assignments. The students are now writing a play with their groups. Eventually, after adequate practice the plays will be filmed. The students are very excited about their projects. We have also started cursive. We learn/review letters every day. We continue to practice grammar/spelling every day.

Ms. Laura

Lower grades

Students have been journal writing to follow through with our past information, of correct grammar usage. Past tense of “was” for singular and more than one person we use “were” for plural. Our class has been in anticipation for spring since Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and six more weeks of winter await us. To bring a little spring to our class, we painted an outdoor scene to learn our primary colors and continued by writing as essay to describe our spectacular paintings. In Math, we continue with focusing on time of day. We continue our studies on states and capitals with direction with a compass; Rose of North, South, East and West. I mentioned to all students they are North Shinning Stars. So next time your family is star gazing, point out your amazing star in your household.

Mr. Gonzalez

Science

Students have covered four chapters since January. Chapter one students covered atoms and their structure, states of matter, properties of compounds. Chapter two students covered physical properties and changes, chemical properties and changes, mixtures, suspensions, and solutions. Chapter three students covered energy which included: heat, kinetic and potential energy, magnetism and electricity, chemical and nuclear energy. Chapter four students covered sound and light which included: properties of waves, sound waves, and light waves. We have begun studying the earth and space science.

February 2017 Newsletter

Owl February

 

FEBRUARY 2017

PARENTS: IF YOU HAVE NOT SIGNED UP FOR REMIND 101, PLEASE DO SO. WE PLACE INFORMATION ON REMIND 101 DAILY. THANK YOU.

In February, we celebrate holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, President’s Day, and Mardi Gras. February is also known as Black History Month.

Black History Month also known as African-American History Month- This was created in 1926, when Carter G. Woodson announced the second week of February because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on Feb.12 and Frederick Douglas on Feb. 14. Both birthdays were celebrated in the black communities since the late 19th century. This has prompted the creation of black history clubs, an increase in interest among teachers and an interest from progressive whites.

Valentines’ Day is February 14th. Valentine’s Day is said to have been derived from both ancient Christian and Roman tradition. One legend stated that the holiday was originated from an ancient Roman festival of Lupercalis, a fertility celebration that was observed on February 15. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared this holiday to be Christian feast day in honor of Saint Valentine, a Roman martyr, and was observed on February 14. In the early 1700s, American’s began exchanging hand-made valentines. Today, approximately 1 billion Valentine’s day cards are sent each year.

Presidents day is celebrated as a federal holiday on the third Monday in February. The origin of Washington’s birthday begins in 1800 in recognition and honor of George Washington, the first president of the United States. George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. It was late 1870s that it was recognized as a federal holiday. President Rutherford B Hayes signed it into law in 1879.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect in 1971 with an executive order signed by President Richard Nixon. This act was to include the celebration of Washington’s birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was then shifted to the third Monday in February. The third Monday was established to honor both Washington and Abraham Lincoln and this fell between both their birthdays’.

President’s day is used by historical groups for staging celebrations, reenactments and other events. President’s day is a good way to teach students about the accomplishments of all presidents with the focus being on Washington and Lincoln.

Holidays observed around the world. Some are funny, different and questionable!

February 2, Groundhog Day- CanadaHoliday

February 4, National Weatherman Day

February 7, Send a Card to a Friend Day

February 10, Umbrella Day

February 14, Valentine’s Day

February 20, Washington Birthday and President’s Day (2017)

February 22, Be Humble Day

February 26, New Moon and Tell a Fairy Tale Day

February 27, Clean Monday- Greece

February 28, Mardi Gras

 

LEARNING IN FEBRUARYStudent Learning

Mrs. Laura’s class will continue to learn how to write complete sentences, with an emphasis on capital letters at the beginning of sentences. Students will continue to follow the story out line from the Beginning, Middle and the End. In Math class, students will continue to study double digits, keeping tens and the ones column straight. Clock reminding, which is the hour and minute hand. “Continued success happens in reinforcing concepts at home and enjoying all the silly business your students provides.”

Ms. Anu’s Math class, Students in 5th-6th grade will begin studying Geometry. Students will work on different types of angles, with transversal, tessellations and transformations. Students in 7th-8th grade will be studying equations of a line in different forms, (slope-intercept, point slope and standard form) and graphing equations. Students in 8th grade will work on graphing and solving linear equations in three variables, studying matrices (addition, subtraction, multiplication, inverse determinants and Cramer’s Rule.

Ms. Renee’s class will focus a new adventure into social studies. In writing, students will continue to work on expository prompts and will focus on persuasive writing.

Ms. Nadia’s class will continue to learn new vocabulary and using it in small dialogs. Students will practice Qurnic Suarrs, Al Duha and Al Inshirah.

january events

 

 

CALENDAR EVENTS:

 

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 6th 2017- Main Event in Lewisville.

The 3rd and 4th grade students will go to Main Event in Lewisville. Costs of this event will be $15.00 and must be turned in before February 3rd. Students well remain at school and leave for Main Event by 3:30pm. We will return to school by 6:45pm for pick-up.

February 17th– Holiday- No School

February 20th– Holiday- No School

February 21- Holiday- No School

 

announcements clip art

 

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

 

 

 

FEBRUARY BOOK LISTBook

2nd Grade- The BFG -Roald Dahl

3rd/4th Grade- Hatchet -Gary Paulsen

5th/6th Grade – Stone Cold -Robert Swindlle

7th/8th Grade- Northern Lights -Phillip Pullman

**Book reports are very important for student learning. Teachers are available before and after school for additional help. The purchasing of books needs to be a priority so students have their books in hard on the 1st of the month. Book reports are due at the end of each month-with no exceptions.***

 

MARCH BOOK LIST

2nd Grade- Matilda, By Ronald Dahl

3rd-4th Grade- Island of the Blue Dolphins, By Scott O’Dell

5th-6th Grade- A Long Walk to Water, By Linda Sue Park

7th-8th Grade- Dracula, By Bram Stoker

 

***** PARENTS: Please refer to the school calendar and REMIND 101 for additional information.*****

 

January 2017 Newsletter

Happy New yearJanuary Newsletter

It’s a new year at Pinnacle Prep School! Our goal for 2017 is to enable students toward the pursuit of excellence and guide them towards the attainment of their full potential. At Pinnacle Prep School we imagine that the purpose of education, besides enabling an individual to make a living, is to mold a well- rounded human being grounded in a civic responsibility, capable of accepting personal responsibility for one’s actions and a respect for this fellowman.

 

World customs clip art

NEW YEAR CUSTOMS:

New Year’s Day in one of the oldest holidays still celebrated. This holiday originated in ancient Babylon celebrated as an eleven day festival on the first day of spring. Julius Caesar implemented the Julian calendar and January 1st became the common day for celebration.

SONGThe New Year’s Song “Auld Lang Syne” was written by Robert Burns in the 1700’s and was published after his death in 1796. This song is sung at midnight in almost every English-speaking county in the world. The old Scottish tune “Auld Lang Syne” means “old long ago” or “the good old days”.

FOODS– Foods considered to be “lucky” to eat on New Year’s day include: Circular shaped foods, black-eyed peas, cabbage and pork.

COUNTRIESFrance celebrate with a feast, champagne toast, and kisses under the mistletoe. They consider the day’s weather as a forecast for the upcoming year’s harvest. In the Philippine’s their celebrations are very loud, believing noise will scare away evil beings. They have a midnight feast with sticky rice and noodles, chicken and fish are not to be eaten at this feast, they are considered bad luck for the next year’s food supply. Greece celebrates with card games and feasting. At midnight, lights are turned off followed by Basil’s pie, which contains a coin, whoever receives the piece of pie with the coin wins luck for the next year. Spain celebrates with eating twelve grapes, each eaten at the stroke of midnight. Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands and parts of the United States organize cold water plunges called Polar Bear Plunges, often raise money for charity or awareness for a cause.

MARTIN LUTHER KING HOLIDAYi-have-a-dream

We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr’s. birthday on the third Monday in January. Since 1986, this has been observed as a federal holiday. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great speaker and an influential leader during the Civil Rights Movement dedicated to nonviolence. His “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered on August 28, 1963: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

 

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education” Martin Luther King Jr.

 

global studies clip art

WORLD STUDIES

This year students are focusing on global interconnectedness. In January, students will begin their focus on Europe with their reports due on Monday.

 

 

READING!

To ensure students are reading at least 35 minutes each day, we will begin a reading program. Upon completion of the assigned book a test will be given to assess your student’s knowledge and Owl reading clip artskills. Please refer to the Pinnacle website weekly for further information.

 

 CALENDAR EVENTS:

january eventsJanuary 16th- Martin Luther King Holiday- No school.

January 17th- Holiday- No school.

January 18th – 20th– Midterm Exams for 6th – 8th grade.

January 27th– Report cards.

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

School closing due to weather: Parents will be notified via Remind 101 on or before 7:00 a.m. on the morning of closure.announcements clip art

Classes begin: 8:30 a.m. Sharp.

Classes end: 2:15 p.m. -2:30 p.m.

PARENTS: Please check your student’s sweaters to make sure they do not have another student sweater. We have several missing sweaters/coats.

 

 

 

IMPORTANT WEEKLY NOTES

GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SALES- January 13, January 18 & 19.

Homework Assignments: Students are to write homework assignments in their notebooks.

BROADWAY SHOW 

 

AT&T performance

JANUARY 19, 2017

Cost of the Broadway show- $25.00 per student (6th, 7th  & 8th grade)

$25.00 is due on Friday, January 13, 2017

 

Schedule:

10:30 am- Arrive

11:00 am- Lunch and Learn with Actors

2:00 pm- Showtime

5:30 pm- Pick up time

 

 

ABOUT THE SHOW

Winner of five 2015 Tony Awards® including Best Play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is finally coming to Dallas! Hailed as “one of the most fully immersive works ever to wallop Broadway” by The New York Times, this dazzling adaptation is the Tony Award-winning new play by Simon Stephens, adapted from Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel and directed by Tony winner Marianne Elliott.

Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain. He is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.

Reviews:

Grabs the audience’s attention in the first few minutes and never lets go. Humorous and achingly sad…Brilliant in scope, this curiously different story allows us to get inside the beautiful mind of a boy who teaches us that impossible obstacles can turn into limitless possibilities. Hands down, this is a show that is as extraordinary as its hero.” – Marcia Morphy, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

 

December 2016 Newsletter
December 2016 Newsletter

December Newsletter

“And investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

– Benjamin Franklin

INTRODUCTION

A full term at Pinnacle is about to come to a close! This term has been a major success for students. Beyond formal classwork, students have embarked on a journey around the globe with the World Studies project. This project was designed to make students ponder the increasingly interconnected nature of our globe, to, in essence, understand that what happens in one nation necessarily affects the rest of the world in one way or another.

Students also recently wrote and filmed skits. Both students and teachers put a lot of effort into transforming written words into quality video presentations. Please be sure to check out the videos on Pinnacle Prep’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCII-uVmDYVIhtrXMvXLwFPA

The skit project allowed students to write, act, and hone their collaborative skills. A special thanks to Saad Zulqarnain for a fantastic job filming and editing the videos. Kudos!
We hope this project is just the beginning of a long line of creative, collaborative projects!

CALENDER ITEMS

Progress Reports: December 2nd

Parent-Teach Meetings: December 16th

Winter Pajama Party: December 20th

Winter Break: December 21st – January 3rd

 

  THE INTERCONNECTIVITY OF DISCIPLINES

 First, an admission: I am terrible at math. I trace this back to my schooling, particularly during elementary years. An unreceptive and rather crude 2nd grade teacher may have been to blame for the beginning of my mathematical downfall. After that year, I was never quite savvy when it came to math. In essence, I do not believe myself to be naturally bad at math—I wasn’t born destined to be confused by calculus. Instead, I more or less missed out on learning basic skills during my formative years that would prove to be crucial for higher-order mathematical thinking.

Why this anecdote? It is certainly not a matter of self-pity. (I’m not that bad at math.) My point here is to illustrate how 1) Failing to learn the basics early on can alter one’s ability to perform later as well as leave one not only deficient, but disdainful of a certain subject and 2) More importantly, my mathematical ignorance prevented me from pursuing a career in the sciences. I absolutely adore science! However, without a solid grasp of math, science—chemistry, physics, and so on—becomes essentially impossible to do at higher levels.

In a nutshell: The two subjects are inextricably related. One cannot do science without math, especially in college.

Let’s take this further. Many students often think of academic subjects as isolated from one another. Math, science, reading, history, writing. All separate. This is a longstanding fallacy. Students often say things like “What’s the point of writing? I’m going to be an engineer!” Alas, even an engineer needs to know how to write and write well. College students are expected to write essays, even engineering students. Furthermore, to get a scientific essay published, a scholar must be able to use rhetorical tools learned in writing courses. Beyond that, an engineering student must also be a good reader in order to perform quality research.

 

THE POINT: ALL SUBJECTS ARE INTERCONNECTED.

 Students will be producing designs for a proposed city. Science and math are obviously involved when designing a city. Yet a great design scheme on its own has little practical impact. This is where writing enters the equation; students (and real life engineers) must not only design a city, but use their writing skills to persuade audiences that their design is the best. This requires good writing, persuasive skills, and rhetorical strategies. Beyond that, however, is the crucial element often missing from straightforward STEM education: Art. Not only must a design be mathematically and scientifically feasible, but it also must be aesthetically pleasing. Being proficient in all subjects is essential.

Astrophysicist and science communicator Carl Sagan popularized science with his many books as well as the television show Cosmos. He wasn’t only a great scientist; he was a great writer who was able to translate difficult ideas using simplified language for non-experts.

Mark Zuckerberg isn’t only a skilled computer scientist, but, I argue, a skilled artist as well. Facebook was not created by using cold hard computer science, but by combining computer science with writing and presentation.

Math means nothing, though, without taking into account the context of its existence. Math is nothing but a parlor trick without showing its practical applications in the real world, and real world applications can only be expressed through language: persuasive, commanding language. Furthermore, math without a connection to a preexisting discipline—chemistry, for example—isn’t all that useful.

Writing is enhanced by understanding content beyond itself. We often think of writing as an act of creativity unrelated to other disciplines. However, knowledge from other academic subjects can open up new topics to write about.

All academic disciplines are interconnected. A well-rounded individual should have a competency in each in order to be successful in our evolving economy.

 

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

 Christmas is a celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday. Traditionally, it is observed on December 25th, though a variety of theories exist concerning why this date in particular was chosen. Below I will discuss some fundamental Christmas traditions.

 

A BRIEF HISTORICAL NOTE

Christmas as celebrated by Christians today was not common before the mid-19th century. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is often cited as an inspirational moment in establishing Christmas traditions, though other developments during the 19th century also normalized Christmas traditions.

 

THE CHRISTMAS TREE

The Christmas tree finds its origins in 16th century Germany. It was not adopted as a practice in England until the mid-19th century. Many theories have been proposed concerning the meaning of the Christmas tree. Evergreen trees have been used in many cultures as a symbol of eternal life—Egypt and China, for example, use the evergreen as such a symbol.

The Christmas tree is often traced to possible pre-Christian roots. Vikings and Saxons worshipped trees, for example. Therefore, the Christmas tree itself may have been appropriated by Christians from non-Christian cultures.
Wikipedia offers an extensive history of the Christmas tree around the world and its historical significance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree

 

SANTA CLAUS

He goes by many names: Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle. But who is Santa Claus? The answer: he is a mixture of existing figures with a very long, storied history.

The modern image of a rotund Santa Claus wearing red and white garb is a relatively new invention. This image can be traced to the 1860s in America. Cartoonist Thomas Nast illustrated such an image for Harper’s Magazine in 1863. Poet George P. Webster, in a collection of Nast’s drawings, wrote that Santa’s home was “near the North Pole, in the ice and snow,” hence giving Santa his traditional “home.” L. Frank Baum further popularized the contemporary version of Santa in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902).

As with the Christmas tree, there are many theories about the origins of Santa Claus during centuries past.

 

INCLEMENT WEATHER PROCEDURES

As winter draws near, we want to take time to remind our parents that we will be monitoring inclement weather situations. In the event of inclement weather, if Lewisville school district is closed then Pinnacle Prep School will be closed as well.

If school is cancelled or delayed due to a weather-related event, parents and staff members will be notified via Remind 101 on or before 7:00 am the morning of closure.

The administrator will determine school cancellations or delays based on the safety of all students and staff.

Thank you in advance for your patience in the event of a winter weather situation.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello November!!!

November Newsletter

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
INTRODUCTION

October continued our success from September. As we enter November, students should be fully accustomed to the academic and behavioral standards expected at Pinnacle. November also marks the third full month back—how time flies! As temperatures drop to merciful measurements, students can expect to get out and about a bit more on school field trips.

Let’s make this a successful month for academic achievement!

CALENDAR ITEMS

Turkey Feast: November 17th
Thanksgiving Break: November 21st – November 25th
Progress Reports: December 2nd

NOVEMBER EVENTS

November means several things: seasonal changes, Thanksgiving, entrance into the holiday season. Below are three different events taking place during the month, from a nationally recognized holiday to a not-so-well-known month-long celebration of one of America’s highest “culinary” achievements.

VETERANS DAY

Celebrated on November 11th, Veterans Day commemorates all veterans who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Veterans Day original replaced Armistice Day. Armistice Day was first recognized by President Woodrow Wilson on November 11th, 1919 to memorialize the one year anniversary of the end of World War I on “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.” In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge made the holiday official, stating that it would be “a day dedicated to the cause of world peace.”

Of course, World War I did not see an end to global military hostilities. Less than 15 years after its official inception in 1926, World War II broke out. This led Raymond Weeks, a veteran who served in World War II, to suggest a holiday that celebrated all veterans. On June 1st 1945, Congress officially transformed Armistice Day into Veterans Day.

November 11th is still celebrated as Armistice Day (or Remembrance Day) in a variety of nations to commemorate the end of hostilities in Europe.

NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH

November is also home to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The NaNoWriMo organization fosters creativity by tasking writers of all ages and skill levels to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1st and November 30th. The goal of this activity is summed up by NaNoWriMo’s Mission Statement:

“National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new world—on and off the page.”

Students should be encouraged to participate in this activity. Writing itself can be a therapeutic activity as well as an aid in expanding creative capacities. I believe that creativity is essential to critical thinking in general. After all, it takes a lot of brain power to organize a novel’s intricate parts: plot, character, setting, logic, and so on. NaNoWriMo offers a judgment free space for people to practice writing… and perhaps even produce a publishable piece of fiction!

Visit the official website to learn more: http://nanowrimo.org/

PEANUT BUTTER LOVERS MONTH!

Beyond being home to Thanksgiving and Veterans Day, November is also recognized as Peanut Butter Lovers Month. This lesser known celebration was instituted by the Southern Peanut Growers and began as Peanut Butter Lovers Day on November 4th, 1990. November 4th is important in peanut lore because it marks the day that Dr. John Harvey Kellogg applied for his peanut butter patent in 1895. The day became a month-long celebration in 1995, the centennial of peanut butter’s conception.
If you love peanut butter you now have an excuse to gorge yourself!

PARENTING LESSON

“At age 13, I went to my dad to complain about a situation (changing defensive positions) where I didn’t think I was being treated fairly by a coach. My dad listened very closely to the whole story and then looked at me and told me something that stuck with me for the rest of my life… He simply smiled and said, “Work harder,” and walked away. Lesson learned. Stop whining and get to work. Instead of rescuing, excusing and enabling our kids by blaming others and fighting battles for them, or going immediately to the AD, principal, and school board to demand the coach be fire… think about teaching our kids the simple wisdom of taking responsibility for their own situation.”

– Proactive coaching
TEACHERS’ CORNER – WHAT’S HAPPENING AT PINNACLE?

As we enter November, teachers toil away creating engaging activities and assignments for students. Provided below is a summary of what each teacher is currently doing in class and what they each plan to accomplish during the month of November:
Ms. Jaya’s Class

During the months of September and October, Fourth and Fifth Graders have completed “Multiplication with Greater Numbers.” We are now working on simplifying, comparing, and ordering Fractions. Later we will start adding and subtracting Fractions.

The Sixth and Seventh Graders worked on simplifying Expressions, Fractions, and Integers. We are now working on Integers with Negative Exponents. Upon completion, we will be starting equations and Inequalities.

We will continue to have a Pop Quiz and a test every week.
Ms. Kennedy’s Class

Our Pre-Kindergartners are really taking ownership of the alphabet letter names and sounds. We will keep up the good work, while beginning to blend sounds and hopefully starting to decode words. We are taking on 5 sight words: is, his, for, on, and at. Please make flashcards at home and use them to practice. Besides decoding and sight words, opposites and rhyming words will be introduced.

Finger strength is growing with writing and coloring as well as tearing paper with our 3 pincher fingers and using PLAY-DOH. Feel free to do the same at home.

In Math, solid shapes are a focus as is counting to 50. We have just introduced counting by 10 so the students are more familiar with transition numbers. Please practice these at home.

Finally: READ, READ, READ. Almost all of the students now sit for our 20 minutes of reading. Please read to them at home 20 minutes daily. Re-reading favorite books is an awesome way to improve memory and word familiarity.
Ms. Anu’s Class

Fifth and Sixth Graders: We are currently working on Integers and will start with Number Theory and Fractions which includes Greatest Common Factor and Least Common Multiple. Students are working on area and volume and will soon begin graphing linear equations.

Seventh and Eighth Graders: The Pre-Algebra class is working on relations and functions. We will be starting with slopes of lines, equation of line in slope intercept form and graphing inequalities, and system of equations. The Geometry Class is working on properties of transformations and will be starting with properties of circles.
Mr. Gonzalez’s Class

Last month, my first two science classes completed ionic compounds including an introduction to acids and bases. They began working on covalently bonded compounds. We covered the structure and naming of simple carbon chains. We moved on to biological and artificial polymers, including carbohydrates, proteins, and plastics. Students prepared presentations for the “Pick a Polymer Project” (try saying that three times fast). Each student chose a polymer he/she considered interesting and gave a written and verbal presentation. Topics included cellulose, spider silk, PVC plastic, Teflon, and Kevlar.

We concluded the chemistry section of the course with a study of the properties of metal alloys and ceramics, two classes of materials essential to modern civilization.

We are now three weeks into the physics section of the course. We have covered Newton’s first, second, and third laws. We completed a simulation lab about the transfer of momentum in collisions. We are now studying work and energy.
Ms. Laura’s Class

Autumn is our top priority with learning concepts: from leaves changing color because of trees and plants going dormant, to the different ways seeds blossom from sprout to vine or tree. The result is either a pumpkin or an apple, with beautiful blossoms of a bright yellow flower or pink and white flowers. One of our activities was finding a surprise star in the middle of a cut apple. Painting with this beauty of nature was a delight to all the children. Clocks will be pushed back for Daylight Savings, and the children all have an interesting take on this fact. Math is a bit of a challenge with adding and subtracting. A majority of the class is working with two digit numbers.
Ms. Abedi’s Class

Upper Class: Students have spent several lessons learning about a range of persuasive devices that they have successfully implemented in their writing. For this, students have been allowed to select a topic of their choice and persuade the reader that it is a significant issue. A range of topics were written about from littering, giving money to charity to selecting the right type of soccer shoe. Furthermore, students also used persuasive devices to engage in a role play in which they participated in a debate. This was an incredibly productive activity which allowed all students to enhance their speaking and listening skills. This made it very difficult to select the winners. In the end, the award was given to Humza Zaidi and Kendall Flythe. In reading class, we have finished the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy and are now beginning the second one. Students are about to begin some script writing for this which will ultimately lead to a whole school performance.

Lower Class: Students have been engrossed in writing their autobiographies. The autobiographies were exceptional and presented in assembly to the rest of the school. Students have also been learning about Fables with Mr. Andrew. In reading class, we have been continuing with The Boy in Stripped Pajamas. At the moment, students are working in groups to create a PowerPoint about a character from the novel. These presentations will be shown once we have completed the book. Recently, students have been involved in the creation of a learning log. These are used to encourage creativity when completing home learning tasks. A home learning task will be given on a Friday and will be due on the following Thursday. As students work through their books, they will be made available for you all to review.
Ms. Jessica’s Class

In Second Grade Math, we are continuing our unit on graphs. We have studied bar, circle, and line graphs. We still review multiplication facts and place value by playing games and working in our A Beka books.

In Language Arts, we have finished several writing assignments. Look for them on the Bulletin Board. We continue to work on spelling every week. Grammar lessons include syllables and contractions.

In Fourth Grade Language Arts, we have just finished A Wrinkle in Time. Look for the final project and several other writing assignments on the Bulletin Board. We are starting our new book this week. In writing, we are working on putting our ideas in order and using paragraphs.
Ms. Renee’s Class

Reading/Writing: In our writing workshop class, we will cover all fundamental principles of writing. Our ultimate goal is to gain the ability to write a complete draft and make revisions. We are also reading modern and contemporary literature. These readings provide critical thinking and vocabulary boosters. We are finishing up with descriptive writing this week and will start on persuasive writing next week.

Third and Fourth Grad Science: In our Science class, we call ourselves scientists. We enjoy observing, questioning research, drawing conclusions, and experimenting. We use our laboratory journals to track our progress and daily activities. So far we have covered studying Science, the engineering process, plant structures and planets. Currently, we are learning about the properties of matter and will start learning about energy sources next week.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The above quotation captures much about the essence of Pinnacle’s goals. Instead of merely achieving the minimum required as exemplified by public schooling, we ask our students for more: “to think intensively and think critically.” Students must strive to think outside of the box, to think about the world in a critical way. When students hone their abilities to think critically and thoughtfully, they become independent learners. In other words, they are able to learn for themselves without the guidance of a teacher. In fact, learning becomes an intrinsically enjoyable activity.

Critical thinking taught at school can and should be applied to the real world. Furthermore, “character” is emphasized at Pinnacle as illustrated by our strict etiquette and behavioral standards.

While our learning standards may be accelerated, this does not mean that underperforming students will be “left behind.” Those students in need of more attention will receive it until they reach their full potential. Pinnacle views all of its students as important assets; Pinnacle students, and students in general, are our future. As such, it is contingent upon us to sharpen the minds and characters of those who will lead us in coming years.

Welcome Golden October

October Newsletterautumn-background-set-design-elements_1085-423

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.
– John Dewey

INTRODUCTION

September marked an excellent beginning to the school year; the first full month nears an end. As the month ends, we enter Fall and October rears its beautiful, multicolored head. October will mark the second month of the term at Pinnacle, so students should be accustomed to the rules and regulations of the school by this point.

Calendar Note

No School: October 7th and October 10th
Report Cards: October 21st

WORLD PROJECT

This year the school is focusing on the idea of global interconnectedness. The world we inhabit becomes increasingly interwoven each day. For example, events in the United States affect what happens in Turkey and vice versa. As such, it is critical for students to understand and comprehend the complexity of a world defined by globalization.
So far, upper-level students have chosen countries to focus on over the next several weeks. Each week a report is due relating to an aspect of their chosen country. Students then present their written work in front of the school. A wide range of nations were chosen by students for this ongoing project, so we have gotten to hear about Iran’s culture from Ali Ravjani and the economy of Armenia from Mehdi Kizilbash (among many others!).
As the year proceeds, students will gain a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the interrelatedness of the globe in general and the elements of their chosen nation for study in particular.

OCTOBER

For many, October is synonymous with a shift in foliage coloration and Halloween. While Halloween is a perennial holiday celebrated with zest by many in the United States, I will focus on a wholly different holiday here.
Columbus Day – October 10thhappy-columbus-day-background_23-2147567358
Columbus Day celebrates the “discovery” of the New World by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. The holiday is officially observed on the second Tuesday of October. The Knights of Columbus originally petitioned for Columbus Day to become an official holiday in 1882, though it was not until 1937 that President Roosevelt proclaimed it a holiday. President Nixon mandated Columbus Day a statutory holiday in 1971.
The holiday can be viewed as a celebration of global connectedness, an “expansion” of the globe from a distinctly European point of view. Yet the holiday itself raises many questions: What of those people already living in (what would later become) the Americas before Columbus’ arrival? Why do so many uncritically accept that Columbus “discovered” America? What exactly is the definition of “discover”? These sorts of questions can be directly applied to current events, especially those events filtered through a predominantly Western lens. Global interconnectivity, while having many positive features, also requires us to think of the ways that those in power distort and create history. It is imperative for us to account for such power dynamics when discussing globalization.

TEACHERS’ CORNER – WHAT’S HAPPENING AT PINNACLE?

Teachers and students have accomplished a great deal so far, gliding along at an accelerated pace. Below are details from each class regarding past and current coursework:

MRS. LAURA: LOWER-LEVEL MATH & LANGUAGE ARTS

Our Kindergarteners and First graders are learning sentence structure. Capital at the beginning and punctuation at the end of the sentence. We are starting the day learning about how many days there are in a week and how many days in a month. We end circle time with states and capitals while working on our awesome Lone Star state and working toward the West Coast.
Math for our group is working on 1-100 and using number lines in adding. Some of our students are moving on to double digit adding as well as next ascending number and previous value number. We have also started basic word problems; “in all” has been included as a key word to signal adding in basic word problems.
For spelling we are working with sight words and our more advanced students are working on double vowel usage.
Reading in different levels in number of words per book, sight words and comprehension. There are different stories from basic cause and effect to chapter books. Introduced computer book reading with questions at the end to understand comprehension.
I would appreciate that you ask questions the next time you read with the kids, both at the beginning and the end of the story. This enables them to remain engaged with the story.

MISS JESSICA: LOWER-LEVEL MATH & LANGUAGE ARTS

In 2nd grade math, we are reviewing our multiplication tables, place value, and rounding. We have had so much fun playing multiplication bingo and races, place value shuffleboard, and building numbers. We also practice these skills in our math journal and math workbooks.
In 2nd grade Language Arts, we have been discussing characters, plots, problems/solutions, and summaries. Also, we have reviewed grammar basics such as capitalization, punctuation, syllables, and nouns. We have also reviewed adjectives; they really enjoyed creating their Name poems.
In 4th grade Language Arts, we have jumped into our novel A Wrinkle in Time. We are learning about characters, predictions, and vocabulary. Your student has a packet in his or her binder related to the novel where they answer discussion questions as well as in their journal. We have also been reviewing nouns that represent a person, place, or thing. In our workbooks, we are reviewing sentences and fragments.
In pre-k Language Arts, we have started a “making words” unit.  This is a great way for the students to learn letter patterns and sight words. We are reviewing rhyming words and have daily entries in our journals. We also have before, during, and after questions relating to our daily read alouds.

PRESCHOOL

Your preschoolers are enjoying learning the alphabet, vowels, days, months, and weather conditions of the season through songs, games, and repeat practice.  Currently we are working to count and recognize numbers to 30. Through books and practice we are decoding short vowel words and identifying sight words. Manners and sharing are a focus during playtimes, as are large and small motor activities.
Reading to your preschoolers and having them speak in complete sentences at home will have a huge impact in the classroom.

MISS MELISSA

Morning Math Class has been working like a boss in the 1st grade! We have been leaning about place value, comparing numbers, telling time, and the value of money. We are soaring through the basics of addition and subtraction. We have some great things in store! I have a wonderful group that is eager to learn and be engaged in our lessons. Primarily, we are striving to be the masters of multiplication!
Morning Pre-K class is a lively group who are attentive in learning their vowels. Go on and ask them about the power of the vowels! They can show you with their five magic fingers and will say, “I got you!” We are learning the sound of all letters of the alphabet. We have placed special emphasis on the letters A-G. We are working hard and learning The 100 Most Frequently Used Words chart. All of the children are accelerating! They should be reading in no time! We are also practicing counting up to thirty. This group makes me smile at the funny, adorable things they say! What a great thing is a young mind!
2nd Grade Reading group students are competing to be the best readers! They are all getting better and better each day! I love encouraging reading and making the story come alive! With our imaginations at work, we have read several chapters of Oliver Twist. We are just past the part of the book when Oliver has been sought out as the kid who was falsely accused of stealing and is set before a judge. I look forward to building a connection with your child and giving them a passion for reading!

MRS. ANU

7th-8th Grade

The Pre-Algebra class is currently learning about multi-step equations and inequalities, GCF and LCM for monomials, and he Rules of Exponents. The Geometry class is currently focusing on the Two Column Proof for Congruence of the Triangle as well as Relationships within Triangles.

5th-6th Grade

Students are working on decimals (complex multiplication and division). Geometric figures are also being studied: points, lines, planes, circles, and congruent figures.

MR. GONZALEZ

1st class: General Science
We have started with an introduction to chemistry. In week 1, we identified the different classes of substances: elements, compounds and mixtures. We learned that chemistry is the rearrangement of atoms to form new molecules, and the difference between a chemical and physical change. We saw how to use the periodic table to find basic structure of the different kinds of atoms. We looked at the properties and defining qualities of different groups of elements in the periodic table: metals (alkali, alkali earth, and transition), and nonmetals (metalloids, halogens, and noble gases), and learned the differences in their atoms that give rise to their characteristic properties.
In week 2, we went into more detail about how electrons are organized around the atomic nucleus and how atoms of different elements become bonded to each other. We learned how to name compounds and determine their formulas and weights. We learned to read and balance equations for simple chemical reactions.
In week 3, we introduced four kinds of chemical reaction and demonstrated a reaction with the “elephant’s toothpaste” decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, and the double replacement reaction of silver nitrate and sodium chloride to make silver chloride and sodium nitrate. We introduced covalent bonding and compared covalent compounds like sugar to the ionic compounds we have been working with. We also introduced the idea of solutions and solubility.
Second Class
We covered the same material as class 1, but in somewhat more depth and with the addition of quantitative chemistry, i.e., determining how much product can be obtained from a given quantity of reactants.
Third Class
This is general science for a younger group. In the first week we covered the cell and its organelles. The second week was an overview of tissues and organ systems such as respiratory and digestive systems. A microscope with excellent slides was used for illustration. In addition to individual viewing by students, we are able to project microscope images for class discussion. The third week covered the classification of animals into kingdom, phyla, class, order, family, genus and species, with many examples.

MR. ANDREW

Writing
The upper-level writing course is off to a swift start. Each week students are introduced to a set of SAT vocabulary words. On Wednesdays, students spend the class responding to an SAT writing prompt; with a little work, they should be able to master the writing portion of the SAT.
Students completed a personal narrative about their summer vacation during the first week of class and a Character Imitation during the second. We are currently working on thesis formation, essay structure, and expository writing.
Alongside writing and vocabulary are brief discussions of grammar issues. Logical fallacies are introduced, as learning about logical fallacies is essential when it comes to countering poorly constructed and often tricky arguments; knowing about logical fallacies also allows students to avoid using them in their own writing.
Reading
We began this course by reading and composing a Fable. After that, we read Horace Miner’s “Body Ritual Among the Nacerima” as a way to see how language can distort reality.
We are currently working our way through The Hunger Games. Several thematic elements of the novel have been discussed, primarily its dystopian elements and its likeness to reality television. On a closer level of textual analysis, we discussed naming and connotation in the novel. Students are currently working on an artistic project as well as composing a first-person dystopian short story of their own. In the coming weeks we will shift focus and begin using textual evidence to support claims about the novel.

MRS. JAYA

4th and 5th graders have completed Place Value, Estimation, Addition and Subtraction with and without Estimation and Properties of Addition. They are now working on Larger Sums and Differences. On completion, we will be moving on to Properties of Multiplication and 2 & 3-digit Multiplication.
6th and 7th graders worked on Decimal System and Operation with Whole Numbers. They are now working on Geometric Figures, Angle Measurements, Perpendicular and Angle Bisectors, Area and Circumference of Circles, which is nearing completion. We will be starting our next unit on Fractions and continue to work on it.
Every week we will have a Test or Pop Quiz.

MRS. ABEDI

Reading & Writing 7th-8th GradeWe started the term by writing about “Our Summer Vacation.” This has been a great opportunity for me to get to know them and for pupils to share their experiences with one another. At the moment, pupils are writing a creative piece of narrative entitled “The Unexpected.” Students are engrossed in the world of The Hunger Games this term. So if they can’t stop reading, you’ll know why.

Reading & Writing 5th- 6th Grade

Pupils have started a uni called “Me, Myself and I” which focuses on the different types of writing styles. So far we have examined diary writing and sensory descriptions. Pupils have also been learning about the Holocaust in relation to our first novel of the year, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

CLOSING THOUGHT

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“All I know is that I know nothing.” –Socrates
The above quotation from Socrates seems paradoxical. How can one know anything if one knows nothing? Furthermore, how does this quotation relate to education? Socrates is of course being hyperbolic in his sentiment. He knows something, of course; however, in the grand scheme of things he knows very little.
Though this quotation has many different interpretations, it is worth gleaning a general message from it relative to education: Self-awareness of our own ignorance—no matter the subject, whether it be writing or mathematics or science—is a key factor in the first steps toward authentic learning. We must, in a way, admit our own ignorance. Viewing oneself as perfect or “good enough” is a pathway toward failure and intellectual stagnation.
How does this relate to the students at Pinnacle Prep? Every student enters the classroom believing they know more than they do; this is universal. I did and I still do, speaking as a student of life.  This is perhaps the basis for the etymology of the word “sophomore” (“wise fool”). We all think we know more than we actually do because our often ignorance prevents us from imagining the unknown.
Ultimately, Socrates’ quotation should be read with optimism. Reminding ourselves—teachers and students—each day that we know less than we think provides the conditions necessary for the possibility of learning. It creates a vibrant world full of potential.
A brief example: Ancient Greek scholars performed writing tasks called progymnasmata. In these tasks, students were directed to write in a specific form (a fable, for instance). Writing the fable one time was not sufficient. The fable would be re-written until the fable neared perfection, or at least until it was deemed acceptable. This is a goal of writing, learning, and teaching: to take what is merely acceptable and to transform it into something remarkable. If students can see that they know nothing—or at least know less than they imagine—then they can obviously imagine a world in which they know more. This can indeed be difficult because writing well is much like acquiring spoken language; we all know that we can speak, we just can’t pinpoint when we mastered (if such a thing can be done!) language. There was no single Eureka! moment because the process of language acquisition moves at a very slow pace. Similarly, developing writing skills can be slow. It is difficult to feel or know improvement until a student reflects back on the weeks of work.
This goes for every subject, too. Want to know how well you’ve progressed in math? Compare your work today with your work a few months ago. The moment of realization may render one speechless!
Let’s Fall Back into School!

Hello September!

 

Hopefully, everybody is transitioning to the new school year. We have tried to sprinkle the first couple of weeks with a lot of fun activities so that there’s a little bit of summer still left for all of our students. We’ve had a bounce house on the premises, snow cones for all of our students, and we even got to wear our PJs this past Friday while we enjoyed some delicious pancakes. And to celebrate the beginning of the new month, we’ll be catching a movie matinee! So while we are hard at getting back into the swing of accelerated learning, we haven’t forgotten to let loose a little too.

Labor Day

September is a great month to focus on the benefits of hard work as the 5th of the month marks over 100 years of Labor Day observances. Always falling on the first Monday in September, Labor happy-labor-day-with-hand-holding-a-wrench_23-2147566699Day is dedicated to honoring the contributions of American workers. We observe the holiday in order to recognize the social and economic achievement ours laborers have made over the years and all the ways that they have contributed to the “strength, prosperity, and well-being” of our country.
Labor Day was first introduced in New York state legislature between 1885 and 1886, but the first Labor Day observance to become a law was passed by the Oregon state government in 1887. That year saw four more states (Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York) adopt the legislation, and before 1890, three more states followed suit. The holiday proved a popular idea, and by 1894, 23 states now had holidays honoring American workers. On June 28th, 1894, Congress passed legislation declaring Labor Day a national holiday.
While we know the order in which the states adopted the holiday, there are some questions surrounding who first introduced the idea of Labor Day. Two similarly named champions of American labor have both been credited with first having the idea—Matthew Maguire, machinist, and Peter McGuire, carpenter. At the end of the 19th century, Peter was working as the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and was also a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. Some records quote Peter as first suggesting we have a holiday that honors, in his words, those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”
Recent research, however, suggests that Matthew Maguire might have been the progenitor of Labor Day and not Peter McGuire. Records show that he may have proposed it as far back as 1882 while serving as the secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York, the first state to consider legislating the observance. We know for certain that the Central Labor Union did adopt a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to make arrangements for a subsequent demonstration, even though we don’t know for certain who made the proposal.
Indeed, the first Labor Day, before any of the legislation was passed, was held on September 5th, 1882 in New York City under the guidance of the Central Labor Union. The day went so well that the CLU held another Labor Day celebration the following year on the same day, and in 1884, they decided to set aside the first Monday of September for the holiday. The organization urged similar groups to celebrate the “workingman’s holiday” on that date as well, and their campaign was successful. Labor organizations latched onto the idea, and in 1885 many of America’s largest industrial centers were celebrating Labor Day.
The first proposal for the holiday included a street parade that would exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” and would be followed by a festival for the “recreation” and “amusement” of workers and their families. Later, prominent men and women began to deliver speeches during the festivities, so that the holiday can better acknowledge the civic and economic significance of the holiday. Because of difficulties holding such large displays and massive parades in industrial centers, the manner with which we celebrate has had to change. Speeches are still given yearly, and the Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are often covered by major media outlets. What hasn’t changed is the spirit of the holiday. No matter how we’ve celebrated over the years, the holiday has always been held in order to honor the American worker.

First Day of Autumn

September also holds another important day, this one in observance of the natural world. On September 22nd, we’ll experience the Fall Equinox also known as the first day of fall.
Equinox denotes the day on which night and day are nearly exactly the same length all across hand-drawn-autumn-tree-background_23-2147520267the globe. On that day, the sun is out for 12 hours; the moon, likewise. The word equinox, in fact, comes from Latin and roughly translates to “equal night.” Of course, while that is the idea behind the equinox, night and day aren’t exactly equal in reality. During the equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator, and the length of day and night is close to being equal but never exactly.
There are many holidays and customs surrounding the Fall Equinox, just as there are with the Spring Equinox.
In Ancient Greece, the day is associated with the goddess Persephone. Fall is the season in which Persephone returns to the underworld to be with her husband Hades, the god of the underworld and a figure commonly associated with death. During this time, the Ancient Greeks held rituals for protection and security, and they would reflect upon the successes and failures of the past months.
Native Australians have, for quite some time, been proficient in reading the seasons and have had good understanding of Astronomy. The September Equinox, which in Australia actually occurs in their spring, have often played an important role in Aboriginal Australian culture. They celebrate the equinox as a time of rebirth and renewal. In order to track the changing of the seasons, they set up numerous stone arrangements, and though researchers can’t say for certain how these stones were used, it is widely believed that they were used to track star positioning.
China celebrates the Moon Festival during this time, celebrating the abundance of the summer harvests. One of the most important foods during this period is the appropriately named “mooncake” which contains lotus, sesame seeds, a duck egg or dried fruit. As with the Ancient Greeks, the Fall equinox is associated with the afterlife in Japan. During the equinox, Japanese Buddhists observe Higan which lasts for a week. Higan translates to “the other shore,” and practicing Buddhists honor those spirits who have reached Nirvana. This week gives them a time to set aside to remember those who have passed by visiting, cleaning, and decorating their graves.
As always, the changing of the seasons gives just about everyone a chance to pause and reflect on the passing of time. No matter how we go about it, it’s good to use these astrological events as a means of reflecting on the world around us, whether that’s honoring the food we’ve produced, the work we’ve done, the people we’ve lost, or the good that’s still to come.

Closing

The school year is still young, Pinnacle Prep School, but we are laying the foundation for all that is still to come. Yes, we have had plenty of opportunities to have fun these past couple of weeks, but let’s use that energy to keep us motivated on having the best school year possible.

Welcome Back!

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year, Pinnacle Prep School!

Hopefully, your summer has left you rejuvenated and energized for what promises to be an exciting school year.

When you return and once again walk through these familiar halls, you may now notice flags from a variety of nations, pictures of sights from all across the world, and road signs directing you to various historical locales. Don’t be alarmed! You are right where you belong. This year, Pinnacle Prep will be themed around our interconnected world. All students, in addition to honing their fundamentals in English, math, social studies, and science, will work through diverse and globally-oriented curriculums.
Every year, advances in technology and shifts in cultural and social landscapes shrink our world, so to speak, bringing disparate parts of the world closer than ever thought possible, and while that frightens some, the flag-icon-set_1063-23prospect excites us here at Pinnacle Prep. We have always sought to provide our students with a culturally rich and diverse education, one that’ll prepare our students to be active participants in our big small world. As such, we will spend this year developing global-minded students, comfortable in our ever-changing world. We’ll explore a variety of cultures, learn about an abounding and dense world history, and think about the role we’ll play in shaping this massive green and blue ball of clay.
As a culturally diverse school, we believe it is our responsibility to better understand the world around us. We know that it isn’t static and unchanging, and we know that what happens elsewhere can have a profound effect on the home front. To this end, we have planned exciting lessons, projects, and trips that will help our students grapple with world issues, and our teachers are looking forward to bringing this globalized education to life.
Of course, the world stage is particularly relevant as we begin our 2016-17 school year given that August 21st, the day before school starts, marks the final day of the Rio Olympics. This year’s Olympics, as always, boasts a great deal of interesting storylines—from an inspiring team of refugees that haabstract-shapes-rio-2016-background_23-2147559708s even caught the eye of Pope Francis, to the many questions surrounding Brazil’s capability of (and responsibilities in) hosting the games. Not to mention, the many captivating, multifaceted, and often heart-warming stories that accompany just about every athlete who has made it to this stage in their career.
The Olympics have a way of calling attention to not just the current relationships between nations but the history of those dynamics as well. As NPR recently pointed out (http://www.npr.org/sections/thetorch/2016/08/05/488507996/how-the-olympic-medal-tables-explains-the-world), the Olympics tell a fascinating and insightful story about world history, to the point that you can even locate the two world wars, which saw the cancellation of the games during the years they were waged, that so dominated global politics.
Furthermore, the 1936 summer Olympics in Berlin famously became a signifier for the rise of fascism in Germany and the global conflict soon to ensue.  The Germans, newly revived after World War I (after which they didn’t participate in the next 3 Olympic games), sought to use the games as an exhibit of Nazi propaganda, showcasing what their leadership suggested was a “superior race of men.” Germany even went so far as to try and prohibit Jewish and black people from participating in the games, but when the other nations threatened to boycott, Germany relented. Medal wise, the host country performed very well. The Germans took home more than 30 more total medals than the US, which finished in second, in addition to taking home the most gold medals as well, suggesting that this was a German nation on the rise. However, the 1936 games also gave us Jesse Owens, a black American, who won 4 gold medals and outperformed all individual athletes at that year’s games. As that year’s Olympics demonstrated, the world was already drifting into the conflict that would eventually explode into one of its most disastrous wars.
Likewise, the Olympics became a stage for the US and the Soviet Union to exercise their conflict with one another during the heights of the Cold War. The US boycotted the 1980 games hosted in Moscow because the USSR refused to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Then President Jimmy Carter called the Soviets’ invasion of Afghanistan an attempt to subjugate and steal from an independent Islamic state and also placed a trade embargo on the nation. The Soviet Union returned the favor by boycotting the Los Angeles Olympic Games held in 1984, claiming that they did not want to participate in the games because they viewed the games as a political ploy by their western rivals.  During both Olympics, with their primary rivals absent, the two host nations dominated the medal counts once they were tallied at the respective closing ceremonies.
Once again, this year’s Olympics has become its own microcosm of global politics, reenacted with all the drama of sport. Amid renewed tensions between Russia and the United Nations, due to the former’s military involvement in the Crimea region of Ukraine, more than 100 Russian athletes have been barred from this year’s games for violating the substance abuse policy. On top of that, this year’s host nation, Brazil, is mired in its own controversy. With a recently ousted president and the arrival of the Zika virus, many questions arose in regards to the nation’s capability to host these games; furthermore, these games have continued to call into question the Olympic committee’s responsibility when choosing a host nation.
With the Olympics drawing so many nations, both large and small, to one stadium, it becomes easy to see the good and bad in our world dynamics. Globalization brings with it all the burdens of how to best manage our world’s resources and its people, whatever their class distinction may be. The last few summer and winter Olympics have seen the host nations destroy land and dislocate impoverished populations in order to build the facilities required to host an event of this magnitude. Images of young, poor Brazilian children watching the torch lighting in tattered clothes from vacant buildings have proliferated as the games began. Similar images arose when China decimated whole villages for the Beijing Olympics and likewise in Sochi, Russia. These images call to mind all the burdens of global poverty, not just the ones highlighted by the Olympics. As our world expands and grows closer together, it becomes easy to justify the poor management and utilization of its resources and the displacement of its less politically and economically viable populations, and preparation for the Olympic Games has become its own metaphor for global commerce by way of mass corruption and exploitation.
mardiniBut a globalized world doesn’t have to be an exploitative one! The Olympics also have a way of putting humanity on display. Athletes like Yusra Mardini are indicative of the kind of human narratives that make the games compelling when they come around. Mardini competes on the newly created refugee team, and while she once used her swimming abilities to help pull a boat of Syrian refugees to safety, she is now chasing medals while the whole world watches. These are the kinds of stories that remind us of human tenacity and capability. Mardini, and the other members of her refugee team, are not considered serious medal contenders in this year’s games, but their presence and their drive inspires all those able to watch and even their fellow competitors.
They also drawing attention to a plight that might otherwise go ignored. After being announced as a member of the first-ever Olympic refugee team, Mardini told the press, “I want everyone to think refugees are normal people who had their homelands and lost them not because they wanted to run away and be refugees, but because they have dreams in their lives and they had to go.” Throughout the games, she has talked of one day bringing her story home, back to Syria, when it is safe to do so. She dreams that her experience will provide hope for her fellow Syrians who might now feel hopeless. “Everything is about trying to get a new and better life,” she says, “and by entering the stadium we are encouraging everyone to pursue their dreams.”
Of course, the global community has to first take notice. While it is fun to get excited about our nation’s competitors and the medals they earn, the Olympics are best watched as a display of global humanity, full of diverse stories and people. It is under this light that Pinnacle Prep School wants to pursue this year’s theme. We want to look around the world and see opportunities for learning, enrichment, and betterment. There’s no better way to broaden your knowledge than to step outside of your borders and start taking notes.
We hope you are ready to embark on this global trek with us, students. Grab your maps, open your minds, and get ready to see what’s happening all around you!
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