Always erase the white board! An important lesson in multi-age learning

IMG_3688 This morning, when my kindergarten math class sat at the table, I was ready to teach them about polygons and hexaflexagons.  However, they were completely distracted by the exponents lesson left on the white board from the day before.  One boy (my son, actually) said, “Six to the power of two equals thirty-six.” “How did you know that?” “I heard daddy teach it in his Thursday afternoon class.” Another student said, “Can I have a piece of paper?  I want to copy that so I can memorize it.”  I just gave in.  I guess we’re doing exponents today!

Even snakes need tutoring...

Last year there was a high school student whom Daniel tutored weekly, and when after an hour session, the student exclaimed, “OMG!” And there it was, a snake named Charlie coiled in the rings of his binder!

IMG_4641 (1)It turns out that the student had been in Science that day playing with Charlie the snake. While he wasn’t looking, it had stowed away in the backpack and hid in the binder. When he couldn’t find the snake in his backpack (because it was hiding in the binder), he and the teacher gave up looking for it. It was nowhere to be found in the classroom. Notice was out to the school, snake on the loose!

That night Daniel and Celeste offered to take the snake home and then deliver back to the high school in the morning. (Since then, they and their children have adopted their own snake; apparently he's growing exponentially (as should any snake living in this mathematic home.)

And the legend lives on at Drake... Seems the snake really needed some Math tutoring and, of course, came to Golden Gate Learning Center.

Homeschool Classes for Spring Session I (2/22-4/8)


Every morning we start with a life lesson about ROATS (Respect Others And Their Stuff) which flavors much of our guidance during the day.We are so proud to see students watching their attitudes with their tutors & peers!Here’s what we’re covering this session.

On Tuesdays…

Make History

This session we are traveling the Silk Road: making maps, ancient passports, textiles, paper and we’ll practice with some trading and bartering as if on the silk trading route.

Drawing Out Arithmetic

We’re continuing working through Euclid’s Geometric Proofs. We spent the last session exploring the properties of isosceles triangles, if the base angles are congruent their opposite legs are as well, and visa versa, two congruent legs have congruent opposite angles. Euclid's Elements - Book I: Propositions 5-6

This session we're exploring why some triangles can't be congruent and why others must be. Also, we'll be bisecting everything in sight. Euclid's Elements - Book I: Propositions 7-14

Writing Club

This spring we’ll be continuing sentence diagramming, identifying parts of speech and parts of the sentence, phonics skills & handwriting. We are hearing about ancient civilizations of the Americas, taking notes and summarizing what we learn.K-2nd graders are making their own books, one page for each letter of the alphabet!

On Wednesdays…

Art Appreciation

This session we will "travel" to the museum of the bay area: deYoung, the Legion of Honor, the Asian Art Museum, the SFMOMA and the Cartoon Art Museum. Through these museums, we'll study European artists, Pacific Island cultures, Asian art and the history of cartoon art.

Math Club

In Math Club, we are exploring Geometry.We’ll work though the traits of triangles, circles, quadrilateral and even the 5 Platonic solids!We’ll use our new geometry knowledge to drill & reinforce the arithmetic skills as well!

Make Science

As we study great scientists, we recreate their experiments. We are exploring the experiments that brought magnets from a simple curiosity to a central role in the development of modern society. From the Chinese magicians, who discovered magnetic compasses a millennium ago, through Medieval and renaissance natural philosophers Pierre de Maricourt and William Gilbert and into the final steps of developing a mathematical model linking electricity and magnetism during the 1800s. We will carefully study the lucid texts and experiments of Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell. Without their discoveries, the modern world would not be possible.

The Perfect Essay

Last night, I spent the last 20 minutes of the ACT prep class teaching how to write a perfect essay in 30 minutes. Here's what my students think:"I think I'm going to start writing conclusions now."Daniel 2 "Now that I've learned this, I can't help but have good structure." "I always wondered why my teachers wanted such a redundant conclusion. 'Restate the thesis!' Now I can give them what they want but it won't be redundant anymore." More on the details of my lesson in an upcoming series of blog posts. -Daniel Ezell

Spring Break Camp & our new Educational Therapist

We are deeply dedicated to developing our students, but sometimes their success depends on someone trained to work with learning differences. After a long search, we've finally found someone with the skills and the heart to round out our network of educators. We can't wait for you to meet Joan Weinberg, educational therapist.

Joan Weinberg has been helping elementary & middle school students with learning disabilities through testing,therapy & tutoring for nearly 20 years. She's a board-certified Educational Therapist, currently working with the Ross Valley School District by day and with GGTC after school. She specializes in everything from the Perceptual Enrichment Program (P.E.P.) to reading & study skills, motivating all kinds of student to learn. Hailing from the Bronx, she's a life-long Mets fan, SCUBA diver and volunteer baby-cuddler at UCSF.

Keep an eye OUT for us!

Let me tell you about my wife and colleague Celeste. She always sends the emails, but I thought I'd take an opportunity to tell you how awesome she is. In school, Celeste always competed with the top math students and took special pleasure in getting better test scores than all the boys. She channels this mildly neurotic competitive spirit into her students, giving them the drive they need to do their best (secretly hoping they beat my students!). She's passionate about her subjects, and even more about her students. I thoroughly enjoy working alongside her. She makes everyone around her better by association.

eye outCeleste is our "Do something great!" advocate. She's always coming up with great ways to get involved in our community. So, in the spirit of Halloween, we're hosting a stop in the Goblin Parade. Keep an eye OUT for us! We'll have games, prizes, tricks & treats in the alley outside the center. Hope you can stop by and bring friends for us to meet!

perplexed studentBe sure to come by sometime and say hello to our perplexed SAT student. (Celeste's idea too!) He's always studying!

See you at the center...this Halloween!

Daniel Ezell

Harry Potter & Homeschoolers

We've had a great time with Film Night in the Park this summer. Thanks to Tom Boss, director, we've been able to add a dose of our personality to several family films. Our final Film Night Trivia game is this Saturday at 8:00 just before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Hope to see you there! Homeschoolers, we have two workshops available for you this fall: 3rd-5th grade Science & Math and 6th-9th grade Thinking Workshop. As always, we'd love to work with you individually or in small groups to reach your unique goals.

SAT students, we offer free practice tests every Saturday morning and group review on Tuesday evenings. Students can opt for an ACT, SSAT or ASVAB practice test instead. Individual test review is available any time.

It's been so nice to reconnect with you & your students; we can't wait to spend the semester with them!

See you at Film Night in the Park this Friday

Hope you're all enjoying your summer!  We are finishing up our first week of Geometry Art Camp and Think Camp.  We've had a blast, and the students have learned a lot too! If you happen to be in town this weekend, come out Friday evening to Creek Park in San Anselmo for Film Night in the Park! They are showing an 80s classic: The Breakfast Club!  We'll be quizzing the audience just before the show on their expertise on the plot & characters and giving away 3 free hours of tutoring to the winner!

See you at the center...or at the park!

One more summer camp for your lil' Monets

We are proud to host guest artist & instructor Jean Vadal Smith who is bringing her Southern California studio to San Anselmo! She specializes in making the artistic process simple & approachable for children (including her own grandchildren). In her Lil' Monet Art Camp, children explore the world of color and painting through watercolor, acrylic and collage on illustration board, natural wood and stretched canvas. Jeannie is looking forward to working with your child this summer!

Lil' Monet Art Camp

Students entering 1st-5th grade limited to 12 students per week July 11-14 July 18-21 9-12:30 PM $180 Open Studio Art Show July 21, 6-7:00 PM

Jean Vadal Smith, Guest instructor

Jean Vadal Smith has been painting since she was 10 years old. Growing up in suburban Michigan amongst 8 brothers and sisters, her box of crayons and simple set of watercolors were her creative escape.

Now after more than 40 years of learning, creating and perfecting her craft, she takes great joy helping young children find their own creative sparks! She has studied under many great teachers and been showcased in galleries and private collections across the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and Costa Rica. She has been teaching children and adult classes in southern California for more than twenty years. After recently moving to Marin County, Jean currently keeps busy hosting an online gallery storefront at and teaching local children's classes through Mill Valley Parks and Recreation and Le Petit Jardin of San Anselmo.


Often students who feel like they are not good readers get discouraged and avoid it, while students who love reading are motivated to practice and get better & better.  A little one-on-one time with a great teacher launches a life full of reading adventures!

We've been looking for someone who specializes in early reading skills and enjoys working with students as much as we do.  Erin Noble is a perfect match!  We're excited about the ideas, experience & expertise she brings to our team.

With summer approaching, many students who struggle with reading, writing or math with have the opportunity to learn to love it!  Once they get hooked, they take off!  Let Erin inspire your child through individual tutoring this summer.

Erin Noble is a multiple subject K-12 credentialed teacher who has twelve years of teaching experience mostly in the Tiburon school district. She has taught Kindergarten, 1st, 4th and 5th grades. Erin grew up in Marin and Sonoma counties and graduated from Sir Francis Dake High School. She loves to camp, run and bake birthday cakes for her two little boys.

3 New Summer Camps

We are excited to offer three incredible opportunities for the students in your house to grow this summer. Aimed at three different age groups, these week-long intensives provide time & space for students to learn in their own style.

What do the great artists of the Renaissance, women homesteaders of the Western frontier, and Pixar studios 3-D engineers have in common? They all used geometry to make their masterpieces. We are excited to offer our Geometry Art Camp dedicated to bringing out the artist in your child, through geometry! During the artistic process, they discover mathematical principles.
There is something uncomfortable and personal that every adolescent experiences, and it's not what you're thinking. It's how they're thinkingSometime between middle and high-school, teachers begin expecting students not only to memorize facts but also to think analytically about them. Think Camp gives students the opportunity to make that cognitive switch by exploring a topic of their own choosing!

Summer lends time to focus on college plans, and the SAT is one of the first steps.  Take advantage of our summer College Prep & SAT Intensive to jump start your college application process!

For more information, see our camps page!

Daniel & Celeste Ezell


Golden Gate Tutoring Center is growing in some very exciting ways! After much deliberation, we have updated our business model to bring in the best educational experts in our community who complement us perfectly. We can't wait to introduce you to our brilliant & enthusiastic colleague Laura Cooper. She has accepted our invitation to partner with us at the tutoring center, specializing in high school & college science & math through AP Calculus (we haven't been able to offer you that before!).

We are now offering ourselves as a resource to the thriving home-school community here in Marin and we will soon be offering math, technology and writing workshops to home-schoolers in the mornings.

We are in the final planning stages for a technology camp this summer. We'll take the lid off of this exciting opportunity soon, but as a preview: this camp is a vehicle for 5th - 9th graders to acquire computer skills while creating a short film.

Give us an update on how your student is doing! We would love to hear!

Daniel & Celeste Ezell Golden Gate Tutoring Center

Math through AP Calculus Science through AP Chemistry Study Skills SAT

Laura, a Marin County native and Redwood High graduate, holds a degree in Bio-Chemistry from San Francisco State University. She has taught chemistry and math workshops at Tamalpais High, College of Marin and San Francisco State, and holds a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Chemistry. She most enjoys working individually with middle- and high school students to develop organizational and logical-thinking skills. In her spare time, Laura loves eccentric fiction, hiking, biking and baking blueberry pies.

Flashback to the 70s

VW Van This summer's San Anselmo Art & Wine Festival was a blast! We got our groove on with the "Sounds of the 70s" in our free photo booth. Thanks to all the brave souls who made headbands, dressed in costume & posed in our sweet cardboard ride. And thanks so much to photographer Stephanie Pool, Candice Roper's Fashion & Sewing School and Amber Smith, Le Petit Jardin French Immersion Programs for donating your time to making it awesome!  Pictured (from left to right) Virginia Boyle-Valle, Celeste Ezell, Patrick Ezell, Amber Smith, Daniel Ezell & Jocelyn Ezell

Art in Community

With wild eyes & hammer in hand the 11 year old boy carefully located the covered tile and...Whac... 2 pieces... Whack!...4 pieces...Whack!...8...Whack whack whack!...dozens! At the other end of the picnic table several students diligently glued broken tiles as well as circles, squares & triangles onto the mosaic pattern. Slowly the design emerged in full color...a beautiful creation, a beautiful experience.   When everyone works together on one creation, the product represents the whole community; each artist adds his/her own unique contribution to one masterpiece. Cooperative Creativity

We're so proud of the Ross Valley students who contributed to this project at YesFest last Spring. Come see our beautiful mosaic table just outside the tutoring center!

SAT: Practice Makes Perfect!

Great performance in the SAT boils down to getting all the questions done and all the answers right. We provide weekly dress rehearsals every Saturday: a complete practice test free of charge!SAT tutoring On each of the following Tuesday evenings, students grade their own tests to understand the scoring system, to adjust their pacing, and make a plan for improving their scores. We help the whole group understand their wrong answers and offer pointers for each section & type of question, but the majority of our effort is individualized to each student.

Our SAT reviews are customizable - from several hours of individual tutoring, to our five Tuesday reviews, to just taking our free practice tests and studying at home.

Our philosophy is simple: students will find the right pace & their best score through practice! We aim to provide the best circumstances and feedback to give your student the preparation he or she needs for a great performance.

The "Independence Curve"

We've long offered group and individual sessions, but now that we have a brand new center, we can offer a long considered idea of ours: Drop-in Membership. Subscribers can stop in anytime after school to work on their homework or master plan to overthrow the world and mold it to their own nefarious purposes... or whatever. They have access to our resources and tutors as they come across snags or just need a little help getting started. Inspired by Jessica Hagy, Celeste and I set out to create a graph that describes our vision of success. We like to fix things so they aren't broken anymore, and, while working with a student might be a long-term commitment, we aim to send each student back into the world fully equipped, ready to conquer whatever comes their way. So we have created a little graph to show the three tutoring options.

Independence Curve

Coming out of the Doldrums

Summer vacation has a special place in our annual experience. While our students see the world or just spend days at the skate park, we take time to gather our wits about us and create the perfect opportunities for our budding scholars. Slow, quiet days quickly give way to brisk breezes in August! Our back to school prep and review courses help our students stand out in class from day one. They will already have a firm grasp of first concepts and walk into the classroom with a handful of pithy questions to impress the teacher. Be sure to stop by and learn about our back to school workshops. Your subject is our specialty.

Our passion. Our dream.

"What's your relationship with math?" I asked my new student. "I'm an artist, so the technical parts don't excite me."

I showed him a beautiful way to visualize algebra with a grapefruit and a piece of graph paper. His eyes lit up with curiousity and, after homework, we spent a little time each session exploring the beauty and wonder of numbers.

A mere three weeks later, his mom emailed me, "Here's an email from his geometry teacher. Your work with him is paying off!" After failing nearly every test that year, he earned a 99%! Every student needs a little fascination to keep it interesting.

This is our passion. Our dream has been to create a space where students can feel free to discover new fascinations. This dream came true last May when we opened Golden Gate Tutoring Center in downtown San Anselmo just behind Marin Coffee Roasters! Swing by and see us! hardhatarea.jpg