Month: November 2016

Hello November!!!

November Newsletter

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

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!


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


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.


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.


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:


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!


“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

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.


“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.