Mt. Peak Elementary Newsletter

January 15, 2016

“Climbing to New Heights”

We are climbing to new heights at Mt. Peak! Thank you for taking the time to check out the latest edition of our quarterly newsletter. Each grade level and subject highlighted will give a bit of insight into what was accomplished this past quarter as well as some things to come. Enjoy!

Home & School Articles

Please click on the following link to see what kind of great information that Home & School Connections has to offer in the November, December and January issues!


We had fun fall days in Pre-K. We learn a poem and a song each week, we continue to work on recognizing letters and numbers. We can subatize objects 0-4 and have learned all colors and shapes.

We went on a fall walk hunting for signs of the season, we made “stone soup” and learned about the first Thanksgiving. We made gingerbread cookies and presents for our parents. We loved finding our gingerbread man who was hiding in our room every day.

We are learning to segment words into syllables, identify words that begin with the same sound and we are starting to hear rhyme.


Brrrr…’s cold but PPCD sends out warm greetings to our families and friends. During October we learned about FAMILIES and tried to answer questions like “Who is in your family?” , “How do families care for one another?” and “How do families help?”. We looked at a firetruck from Fire Station #3 and talked about fire safety and equipment. During January and February PPCD students will be learning about habitats like the JUNGLE, DESERT and FARM and the animals that live there. We talk about Martin Luther King and what he stood for in January and about both Groundhogs Day and Valentines Day in February.

Students in PPCD work everyday on recognizing numbers to 10+, counting to 30, making and breaking sets up to 10 and subtracting from a group using manipulatives. Some rhymes we have practiced recently are Little Jack Horner and Hickory Dickory Dock and we have learned the letters names and sounds from A through N. Our PPCD sight words include : am, black, can, go, I , orange, red, we, you and have – have you been practicing them at home with your child (4 & 5 yr olds)?

Well…. I hear the sounds of the Jungle and desert calling me, so I have to go now. Come in and pretend with us!

Mrs. Sharon Bieber

Preschool Program for Children With Disabilities (PPCD)

"If it is to be, it's up to me to stand up and be the difference!"


Well, we are really getting into the swing of things in Kindergarten. We are learning how to work quietly and cooperatively with our neighbors as well as proper behavior in the halls and the public restrooms. We learned about nocturnal animals (their habitat, what they eat, etc.). We also learned about the Pilgrims and the Indians and how the First Thanksgiving started and why we celebrate it today. When learning about the First Thanksgiving Feast we also learned about the major food groups and what makes a well balanced meal. When gearing up for Christmas, we learned about the various traditions in different countries as well as reindeer (what they eat, where they live, etc.). We explored our 5 senses through different Christmas activities as well. When we returned from our winter break, we learned about the proper clothing to wear in cold weather and explored the various properties of water while learning about snow.

In Math, we have practiced number bonds (fact families), subitizing up to 5, counting forward and backward to 10, counting by 10’s and 1’s, comparing objects by length, and comparing the amounts of 2 sets of objects.

The second semester is going to be more challenging for the children as we put our knowledge into practice with journal writing. The children will be expected to write 3-5 complete sentences using capitalization, punctuation, spaces between words, and using legible handwriting. We are also learning how to identify the main idea in a story as we write these sentences with one main thought.

We are truly enjoying your children and are looking forward to what the rest of the year has in store for us.

Kindergarten Teachers


Our “firsties” continued to learn and grow during the 2nd quarter of 1st grade. In reading, we continued to build stamina while reading independently and with our peers. We also began to practice “good reader” strategies, such as making predictions, asking questions, and making text to self-connections while reading.

In November, we did grade level rotations and learned about Native American tribes. Students studied their sources of food, shelter, and identified how to locate the geographical location of the tribes on a map.

The month of December we traveled around the world and discovered how different countries celebrate Christmas. We practiced identifying countries on a world map and created holiday crafts to enrich our learning about the traditions celebrated in Mexico, Italy, China, Germany, Holland, and the USA.

A highlight in our gingerbread man unit was building gingerbread houses. We included some cross curricular lessons with Science and studied the properties of matter using the materials of the houses and predicted what would happen if the gingerbread man fell in water.

In Math, we identified 2D and 3D shapes, introduced subtraction with numbers up to 10, and practiced building and representing numbers in many forms. We continued to practice adding numbers to make 10, making combinations of numbers up to 20, and problem solving using everyday situations.


2nd Grade has had a busy nine weeks exploring learning through different avenues in and out of the classroom.

In math we focused on 2D and 3D shapes, word problems and different strategies to use in addition.

The book Snowmen at Night allowed 2nd graders the opportunity to Skype with author and illustrator Carolyn and Mark Buehner. The students formulated their own questions and had them answered by the Buehners during the Skype session.

​Thanks to a Holcim grant learning came to life when the Dallas Zoo brought several animals to Mt. Peak. It was a big surprise for everyone to have a baby penguin join us. The students were able to make a real life connection to their learning as we have been studying and researching penguins.


It's hard to believe we are nearing the end of the 2nd nine week period! Third grade students have been working on identifying nonfiction text features, summarizing, and composing procedural writing of their own. They had fun writing letters to Santa and identifying character traits of the Grinch. In math, the students have practiced their multiplication and division facts and identified the relationship between the two operations. They have also made progress in telling time to the minute, elapsed time, perimeter, and area. In science, students have learned the different types of energy, including light, sound, and heat. With the change of the seasons, it was a perfect time to observe the temperature. In social studies, we studied geography, covering the 7 continents, major oceans, and cardinal points. We delved into economics, learning the impact of scarcity on our community and how we use interdependence to problem-solve. We are excited to see the growth of our students and will continue to challenge them to be independent thinkers.

4th Grade News


4th grade math this quarter was lots of fun! Students explored angles and lines of different polygons. They learned the names of the different types of angles as well as measuring the degrees of particular angles. Students also participated in a variety of activities and collaborative work finding and solving problems using area and perimeter. Our kids are becoming amazing problem solvers who are able to communicate and justify their mathematical ideas. We can’t wait to see how they grow the rest of this year!

We will be working on fractions and decimals when we return from Winter break. They will be generating equivalent fractions and comparing and ordering fractions. We have and will continue to work on basic multiplication facts. Consistent practice at home is the key! Thank you for your help and support with multiplication.

Mrs. Horsley

Ms. Thomas


We can’t believe that this year is half way over. We have been very busy this year in our Reading classrooms. Much of the 4th grade Reading curriculum so far, teaches students how to analyze the books they read. Rather than just understand the plot and information given in a text, students are encouraged to think about the messages in a text and how it relates to their own lives. They compare texts to each other and make connections both within one text and across multiple texts. In short, 4th graders begin to learn how to “think” and talk about a text in order to find their deeper meanings and messages. This is done both with texts students read independently, as well as texts read by the whole class or smaller groups of students. We as reading teachers have often used a class read-aloud to show students strategies for thinking about and analyzing what they read and encouraging them to do this in their own reading. We have had Poetry Fridays to teach our poetry unit to deepen our understanding of poetry elements. Students will learn to make inferences based on evidence in the text to better understand poems. Students will continue to participate in literature circles and guided reading groups in our classrooms. We hope that we are creating life-long readers that love to read!

Mrs. Crowther

Mrs. Mitchell


Students have been doing a great job in writing and we are moving right along! We have begun our expository writing instruction and the students are already demonstrating a good understanding of this skill. A narrative essay tells a story, focuses on one moment and the author’s purpose is to entertain. An expository essay provides information, gives reasons and examples to support the thoughts and information they are writing about. The author’s purpose in an expository essay is to inform. Students may start coming home with writing as part of their homework and we appreciate your parental input and support. We are also working to improve our revising and editing skills. This element of the STAAR Test takes all the spelling, grammar and punctuation skills learned in 4th grade (with some skills from 2nd and 3rd grade, as well) and assess your child's ability to recognize and correct mistakes. This can certainly be a daunting task! We appreciate any support you can give at home be encouraging your child to complete activities on Education Galaxy: Writing. This program really helps to fill in any gaps that your child may have. Thank you for all you do to support your child's continued learning!

Mrs. Duggins

Mrs. Mitchell


Students have enjoyed our study of mixtures and solutions, learning a variety of ways that mixtures can be separated. Students have also learned how to differentiate between forms of energy including sound, mechanical, electrical, thermal and light. They have discovered that many of our electronic devices use each type of energy. We'll be continuing our study of energy with a focus on electrical circuits, conductors, insulators, and forces.

Mrs. Duggins

Mrs. Horsley

Social Studies:

Students have been enjoying the Social Studies weekly newspaper that tells all about historical events. Students have learned all about the explorers who traveled throughout Texas to claim parts for Spain and France. They have been learning about the impresarios who brought people to Texas. They have learned about the hardships they experienced as pioneers tried to settle in Texas. Students are finding that life was very different for kids then as compared to now.

Mrs. Horsley

Mrs. Crowther


The 2nd 9 weeks was very fun in 5th grade. We worked on our Genre Genius projects with one group reading biography and realistic fiction, and the other reading fantasy. We also read the novel Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy. This fantasy story about a girl who had to be brave in order to save the world helped us work on our inferencing skills. In Math, we worked with decimals, shapes, and multiplying and dividing fractions of all kinds. In Science, we learned about the periodic table of elements, atoms, circuits, light, energy, and we experimented with forces. For our study in Social Studies, we learned about the American Revolution and the effects it had on our country. We also studied the Westward Expansion and Louisiana Purchase, along with the War of 1812. For the 2nd semester, we are going to continue to work towards being ready for FSMS with visits from the counselors about schedules and a tour given by FMSM's student counsel.


What a Great time we have had in the Mt. Peak Art Studio! Students have been painting, drawing, coloring and creating awesome artwork. Fifth grade has completed the design for the front cover of this year's yearbook. All students are currently working on a drawing of their homeroom teacher for their yearbook portrait page. I can not wait to see how fabulous they turn out! You may have noticed the radial symmetry creations hanging in the front display case. They are fourth grade creations. Soon fifth graders will begin painting their ceiling tiles which will hang in the school so that our ceilings are colorful.

I have included a screen shot of the Faculty/Staff page in the yearbook as a sneak preview.

Captain Coody.​



Welcome Back, Pirates to Music 2016! I hope every Mt. Peak family and faculty member had a joyous, restful holiday! Before music plans for this new “2016” year begin to unfold, I would like to thank the wonderful students, families, and faculty members for the “Fabulous 2015 Fall and Christmas Music Programs” enjoyed at Mt. Peak. The “Fine Arts Spectaculars” by 3rd, 4th and 5th grades, as well as, the Mt. Peak City Choir Christmas performances, were each a “ Shining Pirate Success.” No doubt, the Mt. Peak students are extremely talented and truly dedicated. Salute to these awesome singers!

My deepest thanks also goes to the many volunteer moms, dads, grandparents, and guardians who have given countless hours of their time and talents towards decorating the gym for programs, as well as, preparing the paper programs for parents’ memory books. Thanks also to the many parents and grandparents and family members who costumed their child for their program part. Finally, an extra shiny “Pirate’s ARRRG of Thanks” must be given to the City Choir parents who helped decorate the stage for the City Choir Concert.

The Spring Program Dates for the “Fine Arts Spectacular” evenings are as follows:

1st Gr. --February 18th (Thursday) 6:30 P.M.-“Hooray for the U.S.A.”

2nd Gr.-- April 14th (Thursday) 6:30 P.M. –Spring Musical (announced


Kinder--May 19th (Thursday) 6:30 P.M. –“I Can” (Beach Theme)

The Mt. Peak Spring Choir will begin rehearsals Thursday, January 28th. Any 4th and 5th grader with grades of E and S in both all academics and citizenship on the 3rd six weeks report card can sign up. Also required is a sincere desire to sing and work hard. The Mt. Peak Spring Choir will perform

April 28th again at the “Pride of Texas Music Festival” being held again this year “ITZ Pizza/Fun House” in Bedford.

I know the programs by 1st, 2nd, and Kindergarten, as well as, the Mt. Peak Spring Choir, will be just as outstanding as the fall programs. Any parents, grandparents, and guardians interested in helping with grade level programs or the choir can contact Ms. Newman or complete the volunteer note soon to be sent home.

My sincerest THANKS again to the many volunteers who have so graciously given of their time and talents to the beautiful music programs this past year.

Mt. Peak students and families truly “Shine” and “Make a Difference”!

Ms. Newman

PE at Mt. Peak

Mt. Peak P.E. and Health

Students have been engaged in all kinds of crazy fun this past grading period: basketball, cupstacks, scooters, frisbees, bowling, sleigh rides, and snowball fights! Our tenth annual "NO T.V. WEEK" was a stupendous success! Many kids and their families participated by staying away from the television, movies, and video games for the week of November 9th-13th. If you have a wonderful "No T.V. Week" success story that you would like to share with Coach Probst, please contact him at

Our Rowdy Runners were able to participate in another 5K event, the Reindeer Dash on December 12th. Our next one will be the 4th Annual "Rowdy Run" on April 23rd. We will be running through downtown Midlothian, with inflatables and other family-fun at Kimmel Park to end in style. Thanks to all the parents who make it possible for their children to join us in these heart-healthy events!

In Health, we have been discussing more about nutrition and the food pyramid. Students also learned about media and it's influence on our health and lifestyle habits. We've focused on goal setting and reaching for our dreams at the coming of the new year as well.

To get a better glimpse of what is going on in the gym, please take a moment to visit the Mt. Peak P.E. website at You will find pictures and information of our various activities, as well as links to other fun, kid-friendly websites. . . and you'll definitely want to check out the great videos created by Coach Probst, including the award-winning "Obesity" video.

Save the dates:

January 29 -- Chili Cook-Off sponsored by the CATCH Committee

February 4-5 -- Jump Rope/Hoops for Heart Week during PE classes

April 23 - MEF Rowdy Run 5K

May 3 -- K-2 Field Day

May 4 -- 3-5 Field Day


Third Grade Imagine

(In class activity)

Third grade Imagine students have been stretching their thinking by exploring their engineering skills. During the month of December students were given 3 basic supplies: play doh, straws, and scissors. The project objective was to construct a Christmas tree using only these materials by working in groups of two to three. Students were allowed to cut their straws in various lengths to design their trees. As groups worked collaboratively, students used and reinforced key vocabulary terms such as: angles, corners, sides, and stable bases.

Students have also been working on patterns, extending patterns, and algebra-related games. Fun interactive websites to reinforce these math skills are listed below: and

Language arts skills have also been challenged by integrating technology. Visit the following website to arrange vocabulary words, synonyms and antonyms in interesting fashions, plus to enhance other language arts skills:

Gifted and Talented:

WOW! The GT students have been problem solving, participating in critical thinking activities, collaborating with peers, conducting STEM challenges, using and experimenting with new technology, and so much more. They have also been building off of their creativity a lot this quarter. They have had a few challenges where they were provided with random materials and asked to construct a model, design a proposal, and carry out a plan. Given limited guidelines and lots of choice, they were able to create mazes using only straws, tape, and cardboard. They did a great job working together in groups and challenging each other. The students are becoming risk takers and are not afraid to take on a challenge. Class usually always begins with a brain teaser, logic puzzle, riddle, mental math games, and team challenges. The students are preparing to take on a huge challenge coming up in the next quarter. They are preparing to use the Texas Performance Standards Project to choose a topic of choice, design and create a proposal for their project, and begin digging into research, surveys, and data collection. Looking forward to an exciting quarter and all of the new things to come in GT!

-Mrs. Henderson (District Elementary GT Specialist)


ESL Students have had a very successful 2nd 9 Weeks. Kindergarten ESL Students have started building, reading, and spelling word families. They also built oral language by learning about food and pilgrims. First grade ESL Students worked on sight words, fluency, and comprehension by reading Sight Word Stories and illustrating them. They also worked on comparing and contrasting story characters. Second and Third Grade ESL Students created a robot and wrote an expository paragraph describing it.
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The 2nd Nine weeks was full of fun and learning in the library!

5th grade students from Mrs. Sparks’ Reading classes got to participate in a “Book Dance”. Before students started their Science Fiction/Fantasy project, they came to the library to learn the difference between the two genres. They also had the opportunity to read the synopsis of about 25 books before choosing the book they wanted to use for their project in class.

Our 2nd grade students have been coming into the library for lessons on Expository Text. Lessons included Fiction vs. Expository and answering questions about Expository Text features. Students also learned more about How To books and writing as one form of Expository Text.

Miss Watkins visited 3rd grade classrooms to read How to Catch Santa. After reading the book, students gave their own ideas! We then tied the book into what they have been learning about writing their own How To papers.

3rd-5th grade students learned about this year’s 20 Bluebonnet book nominees. Students are encouraged to read at least 5 of this year’s nominees. Any 3rd-5th grade student who reads at least 5 Bluebonnet books from this year’s list will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite book Monday, January 25, 2016. At that time, any student who would like to tryout for the Bluebonnet Book Bowl team can sign up for tryouts. The Bluebonnet Book Bowl is a district-wide competition in which students compete against the other elementary schools to answer questions about the 2015 Bluebonnet books.

2nd grade students Skyped with Caralyn and Mark Buehner, author and illustrator of books such as Snowmen at Night and Snowmen at Christmas. They came prepared with questions to ask and learned a lot about the writing and editing process that goes along with creating a book!

Students PreK - 5th grade participated in the library's Disguise a Gingerbread Man contest. Students were asked to disguise the Gingerbread Man as a book character so that he would not be caught! There were 114 entries in the contest!!!



1st place: Sophie T. - 1st grade (Sven: Frozen - 5 minute stories)

2nd place: Jack W. - 1st grade (Oscar the Grouch: Grouches are Green)

3rd place: Jayson T. - Kinder (Wild Thing: Where the Wild Things Are)


1st place: Gwen R. - 3rd grade (Charlie Brown: A Charlie Brown Christmas)

2nd place: Colt C. - 3rd grade (Sasquatch: The Sasquatch Escape

3rd place: Kaydence D. - 4th grade (Ariel: The Little Mermaid)

Bluebonnet Book Voting: Monday, January 25, 2016

This is for 3rd-5th grade students who have read at least 5 of the 2015 Bluebonnet nominees.

Bluebonnet Book Bowl Team Tryouts: Early February (details to come)

This is for 3rd-5th grade students who have read at least 5 of the 2015 Bluebonnet nominees AND who wish to tryout to participate in the Bowl Competition in March.


Flu season is among us. Here are some easy things you can do to help prevent the spread of flu.

- Get you flu vaccine

- Wash your hands often with soap. If soap and water are not available you may use alcohol-based hand cleaners.

-Cover you nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. If tissue is not available sneeze or cough into the bend of your arm.

-Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose.

-Please keep your child home if they have fever. They must be fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

More information available at or .

Contact your schools nurse if you have any questions and or concerns at or 972-775-2881.

Reminder-District Medication Policy

Any medication brought to school must be in the original container and have a note from a parent/guardian and/or physician. This includes cough drops.

All prescription medication must have a physicians consent/note. For more information and the complete medication policy visit

5th grade parents/guardians- The Growing Up! For Boys and Growing Up! For Girls videos will be shown on March 11. More information and permission slips will come home with these students next month.