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Math Help...


The links below offer math help through video overviews of each lesson's salient points. These videos are probably best used when viewed by parents to inform their help strategies.


Courtesy of Pleasanton parent Duane Habecker. Go Duane!!


Click on the link below..


Fourth Grade Videos


But, wait, there's more!


Click the button below and you'll be linked to a smorgasbord of Math Help alternatives. In fact, more than you'll likely use, but here you go...



Mouse click on the icon below for Vocabulary Pre-Test



SpellingCity Login!!

Mouse click on the icon and off you go to the login page. 



Digital Reading Log Live Link


Click on the Spook and your reading log entry page will magically appear. :)


Please complete the form, then click the blue "submit" button at the bottom.


Find A Book!

If you need to find out whether a book might suit you, start here.


Click on the logo, then once you're at the site, go to the UPPER right hand corner and keyboard the book title into the search field and click "search."




Books Are Just A Click Away!

Scholastic Book Wizard can help you find your next book or just locate the Guided Reading or Lexile "level."

Click on "Find Books" and you'll go directly to the search page.


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Socrative Surveys and Quizzes lInk ~ Get Some :)

>>>> Click on the icon below, sign into room MRC201, and test yourself!

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Text Structure Videos... Get Some


Narrative Nonfiction. Now THIS is Awesome!

Mouse and click on the cover below.

There is a link to the pdf, which will open on your Chromebook.


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This just in...

Building the Foundation for Success

Six years ago I set out to better understand my impact in the classroom. Reflecting on my own work habits, then unpacking what other educators were doing in their classrooms (notably, from the UK), I immersed myself in learning what worked better than what I was doing. Most importantly, I wanted to know what I could change in my pedagogy (a fancy word for how we teach) to make a bigger difference in my kids' learning.


Along the way, encouraging more intellectual risks, nurturing perseverance in overcoming setbacks, and teaching kids that mistakes are just feedback (not something to beat yourself up over) ultimately lead to adopting "Fail Better" as our class motto. Significantly, far from original, the idea of viewing "failures" as important opportunities for learning and discovery are an integral part of the worlds of science and business. 


Over time, "Fail Better" became the cornerstone of our self-evaluation protocol: What Went Well, Even Better If and What Happens Next (again, a grateful nod to the edufolk in the UK). The central idea here is to view your own work with a fair, but critical eye, acknowledge your successes, identify areas for improvement, spell out an action plan for getting better, then following-through with your plan. It's a simple, plan, really, but it works a treat.


Let the adventure begin!




Click on the image below to launch the Prezi. 



Back to School Night Slide Presentation...sans narration

Please click on the image below and it will launch the presentation. Remember to click to advance the slides.



Classroom Policies Prezi

This is one of two "Back to School" Prezi's I'm posting this week.


This Prezi is the "Nuts & Bolts" version; a brief rundown of classroom policies.


Please click on the image below to launch the Prezi.


Gold Rush Primary Sources

Mouse over and click on the image below and you'll be linked to the California State Library's section on the Gold Rush. 


Build your background knowledge here. :)



From the PBS series, American Experience

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From the 


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Theory and Revelations About How We Learn with Robert A. Bjork

The Critical Distinction Between Learning and Performance...

In my constant search to better understand how we humans learn, one of the blogs I frequent (as a reader) lead me to Robert A. Bjork, a cognitive scientist who researches how learning occurs. His work was an eye-opener...provided you can make it through his videos. They're brief, but a bit dry. At any rate, I find it interesting and thought it would give you all more insight into why I do what I do in the classroom.


Read and watch more here... 

UCLA Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab Applying Cognitive Psychology to Enhance Educational Practice

There's not doubt about. I need to return to photography as a hobby. ;) 

More on the Science of Learning...



In his book, Make It Stick, co-author Dr. Mark McDaniel, makes accessible to us layfolk, the theories and empirical findings of people like Bob Bjork (see below). In particular, he has brought these not-so-radical ideas to life with compelling case studies and examples of how learning occurs in the human brain. 


        √ Highly Recommended 

 (click dust jacket below for description and reviews)





Two books to consider...

The first title, Peak: Secrets From the new Science of Expertise, based on 30 years of empirical studies and research by preeminent Professor of Psychology, Anders Ericsson. His groundbreaking studies in expert performance in a variety of skill-based domains, such as music, chess, medicine, and sports, has shed light on how expert performers attain their superior performance by developing complex cognitive mechanisms through extended deliberate practice. 




The second, Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success challenges the conventional wisdom that "failures" are something to be avoided, offering as a basis for comparison the stark differences between the health care and airline industries as the products of their practices and mindsets around learning from mistakes.


My Amazon review of the book...


"Having listened to this book twice through, then read the reviews posted thus far, it’s difficult to imagine adding to what has already be written by way of summary. So rather than a review, this is more a reflection of personal experience which I hope proves insightful.

My goal in downloading this book was the hope of drilling down into the concept of “failing better;” an idea borne of Samuel Beckett’s oft cited quotation. And though my initial intention was not to validate my own opinion about the efficacy of introducing my students (I’m an educator) to the idea of iterative progress, I wanted to know whether “success through failure” was more than an empty promise. I was not disappointed.

Matthew Syed is a compelling storyteller. His keen eye for our cultural biases toward kneejerk blaming and scapegoating, overvaluing perfection and underestimating the transformative power of “learning from your mistakes” illustrates how reasoned evaluation can been hijacked by expediency and need for tidy (but misguided) explanations when things go badly wrong.

In my view, the most valuable takeaways from Black Box Thinking include, but are likely not limited to, the following:

• Understanding the complexity of a situation requires decelerating the evaluation process if for no other reason than for the sake of making time to take a broader view.

• Ignoring variables doesn’t make them go away, but does make for an incomplete formula that begs for inaccurate conclusions.

• Intuition-based assumptions are generally self-serving and, for the most part, accurate by pure chance alone.

• Data is a four letter word that needs to be part of decision-making. That it may appear as inconvenient truths or mitigating circumstances doesn’t invalidate it.

There are no doubt additional important insights that I’ve not listed, not the least of which is the book’s underlying premise that success is an iterative process which must include failure, and even repeatedly so. The bottom line is that Black Box Thinking is well worth the read -- all 300 pages of it -- and particularly worth the listen as an audiobook (well-narrated). The thought-provoking storytelling alone is worth the price of admission. More than food for thought, the well-substantiated assertions and suggestions are inspiring signposts along the path forward."