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Interim in DC with 77 8th graders!

Wandering the Capitol with your middle school students is a unique opportunity to see and share the rich history of our nation, and to get better acquainted with these disparate souls.  The sights are always a highlight, and are fodder for conversations about history, culture and with the Smithsonian’s, even science.  Sometimes some of the most memorable moments occur after the sights, tours and plays have finished for the day. One such moment occurred this year. When the room checks and wake ups were made to start day 2 in DC, the planned occupants of the first room I checked nervously indicated that there was a problem that occurred the night before. One student in front of his three roommates said that they had discovered a passageway between their room and the adjoining room. The students had come together and that they had watched a ball game.  However, during the game, the door between rooms closed and locked the others out/in.  At this point in the story, one by one the occupants of the other room emerged from the shadows and filled the room.   The rooms were secure and no one was harmed, so it became a comical situation to have that many boys in one hotel room. Great way to start the trip!Jefferson memorial

Coincidence or Winds of Fate?

Saturday was a strange day indeed.  I was umpiring at Murphey Candler Park in Dunwoody and had to be there bright and early.  Since I had worked until 9:30 pm on Friday, I decided to sleep in and grab my morning coffee at Starbucks.  I am grabbing a cup of coffee at about 7:20 am, and who do I see, but MS math teacher and recycling guru, Ben Hendry. We chat for awhile acknowledging that neither of us makes Starbucks a routine in our lives.  I go on to umpire 7 games and think I will get dinner at Willy’s on the way home.  I am having an incredible salad, when in walks Ben Hendry!  Ben was actually getting his kids a smoothie at the shop a few doors down, but saw me and popped in to say hello.  So we weren’t at the exact same location, but close enough. We laughed at the space oddity (and time oddity for that matter) and went our merry ways.

I submit it to you for your approval…was this merely a coincidence, or was there something else at work?  Was it just a pair of chance encounters, or were the winds of fate driving us together for some mysterious purpose? This is not the Twilight Zone, so I’m chalking it up to what Popeye would call a coinkydink.

Riffing on Rainbows (Scientific Concept Alliteration)

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The above four tweets from Neil deGrasse Tyson were from a series of seven tweets about rainbows.  Tyson is first and foremost a gifted scientist, but is also an incredibly savvy user of social media to promote science and scientific literacy.  His brilliance is in his approachable yet matter of fact delivery of information.  Many tweets are playful and incorporate pop culture into the fray, while others are intended to stir a sense of wonder or appreciation of the beauty of the universe and the laws that govern that beauty.

Summer Softball Workouts

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Members of the Varsity softball team prepare for conditioning work at their summer workouts.  Week 2 of softball summer workouts started this morning and it was a game group.  The morning starts with agility work, then softball skills, then strength building and topped off with conditioning.  The team has responded well to the challenge and are putting forth a strong effort to get better & stronger.  By attending summer workouts players get a jump on the season and are able to hit the ground running once the season starts.  High School softball in Georgia is strange in that it is a fall sport and games start after the first week of official practices.  Therefore, it is very important that the team gets prepared over the summer.  These six will be ready!

Maker fun

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Thanks Amy for the tour of the maker space on the founders campus today!  It was a fun afternoon of creativity and conversation with many middle school faculty.  The studio space was explored, sans cowbell.  The end result was that inspiring (inspiraling in my case) stickers were made. At least the stickers were printed. the labor intensive work of separating the image from its background presents its own challenge.

Softball Tournament part 2

Part 2 of my reflection on the softball umpiring experience deals with the social aspect of it.  At the tournaments over the past two weeks I have encountered many people, and overwhelmingly the experience has been favorable.  There have been a few instances of parents getting very upset and lashing out in anger at the umpires.  That will happen, especially on the close plays, half the people will be happy and the other half, not so much.  There were many positive experiences over the course of the tournaments.  Among them was bumping in to coworkers and former coworkers at the parks.  However, the greatest experience was observing Mustang softball players in action.  There were several girls from our middle school team on many different teams.  It was great watching them compete, often against each other.  It is reassuring that we have many talented and passionate softball players that will one day play varsity ball for our school.

Softball Weekend Part I (mechanical)

This weekend I had the pleasure of umpiring 15 softball games in a 48-hour stretch.  This has basically been all I’ve done in that time period, so my blogging has taken a hit.  I will be doubling up over the next few days to catch up.  This part one will look at the technical or mechanical aspect of my umpiring while part 2 will include more of the social aspect of the event.  This weekend was hot and at times humid, physically draining, but also a lot of fun.  I have been fortunate to affiliate with an umpire association this spring, and have umpired a  number of games at the local recreation parks in the North Metro area.  It has been interesting to see the game from a different angle (I have been coaching softball for the past 17 years, including the last 11 at Mount Vernon).  I feel like my judgment on calls and my positioning has been good from the start, but the transitions from one position to another has come much more slowly.  Learning how umpires see the game will benefit me as a coach in both preparation for play and on game day.  As summer softball workouts have begun, I am excited to implement this newfound advantage!