Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Caught Doing Something Good

Sorry for the delay in blog posts.  Truth is, I've had a lot to write about since then but couldn't bring myself to reengage.  Here we go!

SBG.  The district has bungled its implementation so bad that it looks like a twisted mess of dog poop and earthworms.  Everyone likes a comeback though, and here it comes.  The first step in the reclamation process is an adjustment to the grading scale.

Frankly, the grading scale has been such a distraction and source of morose stupefaction for our teachers that something had to be done.  I suggested a return to non-uniformity, but this may be better.  Here are some things I like about the document:

  • It's concise (this has not always been the case).
  • It's based in research (this has not always been the case).
  • It clearly addresses staff concerns (up until now it was our fault - we need to be "trained" more).
As critical as I've been publicly of our district administration, it's only fair that I call them out when they do something right.  Good job, and keep the positive momentum!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Guarding the Door

In our district, seniors get done earlier than the rest.  This year they were done on Tuesday and we have finals with the rest of the students Wednesday and Thursday.

Our admin finds it necessary to assign duties to those teachers with senior classes; I surmise they are concerned with seniors coming back into the school to cause trouble.  They ask these teachers without students to guard doors and bathrooms - and report any funny business.  It is a very important duty that our teachers take very seriously.

These are the daily reflections of one such soldier.
There is an eerie silence as I begin the first shift at my old friend; Door E. Returning to this post brings with it a warm familiarity akin to that of a steaming bowl of Brussel sprouts. As I look out the smudged glass of the beleaguered door, I am reminded of the experiences of yesteryear with great fondness. The dandelion ensconced softball field, the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn Boulevard, the occasional bathroom customer all serve to remind me of the glories of the past.  It is with guarded optimism that I look forward to what my post has in store for me as the 2013 school year comes to a close. Would it be students trying to use the bathroom without a pass or perhaps intruders trying to re-enter the building to conduct a re-take of a failed test? Whatever the case, my attention is keen. My ear is drawn to the sound of scratching. I turn to see a small, brown, field mouse gnawing innocently on a well-worn sneaker near the gym door. I say, “hi little buddy” as he continues gnawing unfazed by my presence. Re-focused on the job at hand, I review the preparations that I have done for today’s task. It started yesterday with a trip to Coco Beauty Supply where I met with the manager to go over the schematics of their physical plant. The intent was to understand how their infrastructure interfaced with that of Park Center. I surmised that this knowledge could save lives. With that knowledge in hand, I began my shift at precisely 0930 a.m. by securing the perimeter of my post assuring that all access and exit points were well within my sight lines. Once satisfied with the safety levels surrounding Door E, I settled into the misty morning with the calmness that comes from careful and faithful planning. Rest assured, no ill will come to Park Center via Door E.
There is a pall in the air shrouding Door E this morning fueled by the shame of a failed mission. It is with great sadness and humiliation that I pen this morning’s log. The subject of this entry is one that I never anticipated writing given my storied tenure as guard of Door E. The morning began, as most mornings, with a walk around the perimeter (both inside and out) of my area, a check of all locks and door hardware, a security ‘visual’ of CSB (Coco Beauty Supply), a BWT (Bathroom Walk Through), and a cheery good morning to the night custodian as he mounted his bike for the damp pedal home. All appeared well. Upon returning to the well-positioned chair of my post, I slunk to begin my watch. Eyes fixed, head on a swivel, all was as it should be. That is, until the laughter began! As if etherized, I opened my eyes and ears to the sound of laughter…the laughter of students who were pointing and jeering as I struggled to lift my head off the desk. Yes, I had fallen asleep at my post; a Sentry’s worst nightmare! Not since Macbeth had a guard fallen asleep at his post. I quickly shooed the students; with them, went my dignity, my pride, my self-respect. I had failed at my mission. In those sleepy moments, although few, Park Center became vulnerable at Door E! Granted, not a soul has ever passed this door during my watch, and in all likelihood, no one ever will. But, it is the ‘perceived’ threat that matters most. What if…yes, what if a threat posed itself while I slept dreamily at my station? For this, I apologize. As a penance, I am committing myself to a 24 hour vigil. Although the rest of PC will retire this evening with thoughts of summer, I will remain a constant beacon shining a light of safety on Door E. Long live the Pirates!
Reproduced without permission from an earnest & anonymous warrior.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Basketballs

I was watching the Heat & the Pacers the other day and a question popped into my head. I innocently tweeted this question in its infancy:


That small question grew into a larger broader question: given the differences in hand size and ball size, do men or women gain the greater advantage?  

Things to consider:

  • Hand spans.  Men have larger hand spans then women do.  This data is searchable on the internet, but I might find it much more interesting to survey my class and use that distribution of hand sizes.
  • Basketball sizes.  The WNBA basketball is between a half an inch to an inch smaller than the NBA basketball.  It varies for some reason while the NBA ball does not.  I wonder if the size of WNBA balls are normally or uniformly distributed?
  • Hoop size.  It doesn't change.  But a smaller basketball is more likely to go in.  Is that half inch to an inch enough to make a difference?  I imagine the distribution of shots around the hoop to look like this.  (The dot represents the center of the basketball looking overhead.)

  • Scoring.  All of this aside, the strategies employed by WNBA teams vary significantly from their NBA counterparts.  And I'm sure other physical attributes make a really big impact.  Still, is there a way you could parse the data in a way that allow us to make an inference about whether the size of the ball affects scoring?  Probably not.
All in all, this will float around in my head this summer.  I'm not sure I could make this into a great lesson, but someone out there can, I'm sure!