Happy Thanksgiving 2010 from Pinecone Active Learning!!!

The legendary pilgrims crossed the Atlantic in the year 1620 on the Mayflower, a 17th Century sailing vessel. About 102 people traveled for nearly two months with extreme difficulty because they were kept in the cargo space of the sailing vessel. No one was allowed to go on the deck due to terrible storms. The pilgrims comforted themselves by singing Psalms. They reached Plymouth rock on December 11th, 1620, after a sea journey of 66 days. Though the original destination was somewhere in the northern part of Virginia, they could not reach the place due to winds blowing them off course. Nearly 46 pilgrims died due to extreme cold in winter. However, in the spring of 1621, Squanto, a native Indian taught the pilgrims to survive by growing food.

In the summer of 1621, with a severe drought, pilgrims called for a day of fasting and prayer to please God and ask for a bountiful harvest in the coming season. God answered their prayers and it rained at the end of the day. It saved the corn crops.

It is said that Pilgrims learned to grow corn, beans and pumpkins from the Indians, which helped all of them survive. In the autumn of 1621, they held a grand celebration where 90 people were invited including Indians. The grand feast was organized to thank god for his favors. This communal dinner is popularly known as "The first Thanksgiving feast".

You may have your own versions of this story, and we aren't sure if they had turkey, but whatever the story, maybe we should include the pilgrims in our thanks next week. May you all have a lot to be thankful for and enjoy family and feast together. Happy Thanksgiving!

Active Learning is today's preferred method of instruction

childToday's primary statute which governs the federal government's role in education is the law known as 'No child left behind'. It has been tinkered and rebranded by successive Presidents since the law was first passed by the Johnson administration, in its original form known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The current administration's blueprint calls upon states to adopt new teaching methods and academic standards toward preparing all students for college and a career by the time they are ready to leave high school. Under the No Child law, the focus is on proficiency in reading and math. The law exhorts every state to ensure that every student is proficient in these subjects by 2014. Poor performing schools will be required to provide tutoring services to bring such students up to the required standard.

With this goal in mind, more and more schools and teachers are veering away from the existing method of passive learning to active and interactive teaching methods. Simply put, this method encompasses a system of information acquisition through hands-on active involvement. Active Learning is a U turn from the traditional method of instruction or passive teaching, which is merely a process of observation or listening to information. Active learning is the preferred method of progressive schools today.

Teachers in schools adopt active learning techniques to get their students involved. This is not always possible in all subjects but teachers do their utmost to engage their students at all times. Such subjects like chemistry, biology and math can be more easily understood and assimilated using active learning methods through lab experiments and practical solving of problems. With active learning, students are able to get a physical grasp of a topic.

An early proponent of the 'active learning' school of teaching is Ms Vivian Hobbs, an eminent educationist and founder of the Pinecone Active Learning Center in San Jose, CA. Ms. Hobbs who has been closely associated with the best and most effective learning methods for the greater part of her career. She has studied active learning both in the country and in Europe where the active learning methodology is extensively practiced. Seeing the results for herself and the potential for improvement with active learning, she adopted this new system at the Pinecone Active Learning Center since she started it. The results have been gratifying and more than justified the change, and her faith in the system.

The Pinecone Active Learning Center has since 2007 been imparting tutoring services to Bay Area children in the core subjects of Math, Reading and Comprehension. Mastery of these foundation subjects is the basis of all learning and requires significant practice and application. The Center offers structured, sequential programs under the expert guidance of caring tutors in an environment conducive to learning. All lessons in the program are tailored to your child's ability and pace of absorption. Tangible improvement can be expected within days of commencement in areas like focus, attitude and concentration. This leads to a happier, more confident child who delivers better grades. Pinecone Active Learning Center offers an initial week free tutoring to convince you and your ward of the benefits and improvement which can be obtained. To schedule an appointment, please call (408) 270.4548. To know more about the center and its programs, visit the website


"Thanks for you patience! We appreciate it and are happy the boys can go during the summer. DJ is getting all A's and B's even in math for the first time ever!!! He has to work at it, but before even working at it would maybe get him a C---. It's great for him, you can see how happy he is. Zach is doing all work above his grade level, he's doing great which wasn't always the case for him either!!"

Pinecone's Strategy

Pinecone's methodology is to run the two foundation programs of Math and Reading at a pace which allows the child to assimilate the subject matter and apply the new acquired skills to practical problem solving. The coaching is structured so that the child is able to reason for him/herself to achieve the highest level of comprehension. Regular practice and support instills self confidence and stimulates an eagerness to progress to the next level. Each student is groomed to anticipate and surmount hurdles consistent with present day education. The end result is a happy and confident child who is justifiably proud of his or her academic achievements.

For more details of this Bay Area teaching center and its unique, result-oriented teaching methodology please visit its website at Currently it offers some special discounts, details of which can be gotten by calling 408.270.4548.

About Vivian Hobbs

Ms. Hobbs is a qualified educator with an M.S. degree in Industrial Psychology and 30 years of experience in math and research design. Children's education and research into the best learning methods have always been at the forefront of her career.

Where can I learn more?

Pinecone Active Learning is on Facebook and can be followed on Twitter. For further information on enrollment and fee structure, please call 408.270.4548 or visit the center's website at

For more on its unique tutoring methodology, please click on

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Happy November Birthdays To:

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