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Pinecone Active Learning
987 University Ave. Ste. 20 | Los Gatos CA 95032 | 408 358-1292
6010 Hellyer Ave. Ste. #100 | San Jose CA 95138 | 408 270-4548 |
(408) 270-4548 | 408 358-1292
What's the Big Deal with Word Problems, Anyway??

There are many bright students in any given classroom. Many of them love math only when they can act as "number crunchers" and fly through their work. Very few, however, will feel comfortable explaining their thinking. The ability to put thinking into words seems to have never been cultivated for most kids. By fifth grade, most students see no need to put math into context. But isn't lack of context, paired with lack of challenge that makes math "boring" for kids? For many schools, standardized test scores look really strong in early-mid elementary grades but plummet in middle school. Lack of connection, lack of problem solving skills and lack of true mathematical understanding at the foundational levels can turn kids off and set them up for failure.

At Pinecone, we are working with each Math student from second grade on, to develop thinking skills and strategies for solving application problems. It is important to help kids make connections, see patterns, discover more efficient ways to solve problems and defend their thinking. Problem solving can be developed as a skill, but beyond that it needs to become part of a student's thinking habit. At higher levels, successful students will automatically search for patterns, reason and provide mathematical justification for their positions, look for alternative solutions, make connections by linking different math strategies (solve algebraically, geometrically, statistically, etc.) and linking to real world situations. Lastly, the most successful students will cultivate the habit of reflection and self-directed learning. It is important to start building these habits early.

"Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last you cannot break it." - Horace Mann
The Case for Tutoring

PineconePresident Obama has frequently been stressing the importance of education and expressed concern over declining educational standards in the United States. Indeed American students who have to compete in a global market are found wanting and increasingly surpassed by students from countries like China and India. The Obama administration has already put in place several reforms to revamp the American education system so that today's children are better placed to compete in a global arena.

Upgrading the American education system is a mammoth task which will not take place overnight though the appropriate initiatives have been started. However it will take years for its benefits to creep up from the primary to tertiary level. Unfortunately the slow pace of reform is a matter of much concern to ambitious parents of children who have just entered school or are standing on the threshold. They have little choice but to adapt to the current system which is ineffective, outmoded, steeped in shortcomings and seriously wanting. Many parents are unwilling to standby mutely and are taking proactive measures to ensure that their children get every opportunity for a firm grounding in the foundation skills of Reading, Comprehension and Math, the bedrock of all learning.

Reading is so critical that it requires little elaboration. It is one of the three most important skills that a child must acquire at school which unfortunately many never do. Reading is fundamental to today's society without an adequate knowledge of which a person will be hard-pressed to survive. The same goes for math which is part and parcel of our daily life much taken for granted. Whether it is buying something from the local supermarket or just keeping a track of your money, math plays a critical role in our existence. Unfortunately the existing system of education falls far short in its endeavor to develop these critical skills at a receptive age which is why parents with foresight are seeking to awaken their children's dormant skills through reliable tutoring services.

While tutoring is a multi-billion dollar industry and steadily growing, unfortunately it still remains unregulated. The private tutoring center is ungoverned, lacking in state or federal oversight. There is no formal certification and no background checks in an industry of several million tutoring centers nationwide. Tutoring charges can be exorbitant and many unqualified centers do not deliver what they charge for. Parents are becoming aware of the pitfalls in the tutoring industry with the Better Business Bureau reporting a quantum jump in complaints. Parents are advised to research a potential tutoring center and scrutinize its references before sending their children there.

Pinecone Learning Center is a tutoring service in Los Gatos with a focus on mastery of math, reading and comprehension. Students are trained to understand, think, analyze and retain what they learn, skills needed not just to produce good grades but to provide a firm foundation for more advanced educational pursuits. Pinecone Learning is a well-established tutoring center mentored by Ms. Vivian Hobbs, an experienced educationist, who has studied the newest and most result-oriented methods in teaching techniques. Having seen the success of the Active Learning Method of Teaching in Europe, she has adopted this technique to her Bay Area learning center with the same degree of success. If you want your child to have a competitive edge and a head start in life, log on to

"My husband and I decided to put all three of our kids in Pinecone last January. We were looking for a program that would help improve both reading/writing and math. At the time, our kids were 4, 6 and 8. We noticed an immediate improvement in my 6 year old. Her reading and math turned a corner very quickly. Homework became less of a chore and her math and spelling tests improved. All three of my kids made huge progress while at Pinecone. Sometimes we were faced with the challenge of doing the work at home but, this is nothing new to our household and we found ways to motivate the kids to do the work.

What impressed me the most about Pinecone is Vivian, the owner. She knows how to motivate the kids and works extra hard to find ways to meet each and every child's needs. I always felt as if my kids were the only ones... because she gives you that type of attention! She went above and beyond for my guys and for that I cannot say enough good things about the program. She will send you informative emails and is always looking to be current in the education of her students. THANK YOU Vivian for caring so much about my kids and really helping give them a foundation to work with."

~ Lisa A.
Pinecone's Strategy

childPinecone'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 For offers and special discounts call 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

Pinecone Specials!!!

Like us on Facebook, and we'll like YOU back! For every 10 of your friends who like our page, YOU will receive one ticket for our JAMBA JUICE GIFTCARD RAFFLE! Better hurry, we might just give it away...

WANT A FREE CANDYBAR? Bring in FIVE TESTS that you got A's on and get ONE!

Sharing is caring... REFER a friend to Pinecone, and we'll give you $25 for EACH of your friends who join! And GUESS WHAT... They'll get $25 too! Just write your name on the back of the referral cards you give to your buddies!
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987 University Ave. Ste. 20 | Los Gatos CA 95032 | 408 358-1292
6010 Hellyer Ave. Ste. #100 | San Jose CA 95138 | 408 270-4548
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