Today, a student emailed me and asked: “Should the facts of the event go in order?” Let me ask you, my students, if you leave your house in the morning to go to school, do you go straight to school or skip around? Well, yes, I can see that some of you might not go straight from home to school. However, the events of history don’t exactly work like a simple trip to school.
Our forefathers declaring independence was a long and lengthy process, a road. In the beginning, the destination was unknown. But as each event unfolded, American colonists recognized the signs that told them there was no turning back, no standing still, nor staying with England. Below is a link to the road the colonists were on; it’s a timeline.
You will see in the “Road to Independence” timeline, that there were numerous events. Each event has its own start and finish. Like in a party that you attend with family and friends, what happened at the party has a beginning and an end. Things happen along the way. Typically, what happens first leads to what happens second, then third, and so on. You don’t skip to the when you go home and then back up to the middle. An event in history is like a party.
The same is true when you watch a movie or a TV show. Of course, with streaming you can skip to the end and see how it turns out; yet, you probably missed all of the good scenes in the middle. And if you skip around, the movie doesn’t make a lot of sense. The same is true with history. If you skip around, the events don’t make any sense because they are taken out of context.
Therefore, you must state the facts of each event in order.
Every day on the morning announcements we are reminded to follow the Eagle Code. What does each of us do after the announcement? Do we each soar like an Eagle throughout the day? Or, sometimes, do a few of us fly like the noble American bird, a turkey? Or, do some of us not fly at all? Recently, I learned some pearls of wisdom to remember when soaring gets tough. The first is a YouTube video from Rick Rigsby’s commencement speech. The other is from baseball coach, John Scolinos. After you review these two pearls, I hope you will better understand why each of us should from time to time recite these words and get back to soaring like a Eagle.
“Stop! Count to ten r-e-a-l slow. Think again. And then, by all means necessary, do the right thing, even when no one is watching or listening to me, or so I think.”
Rick Rigsby: “The Wisest Person I Ever Met in My Life, a Third Grade Dropout”
In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention. Nineteen times since, many of the same professional, college, high school, youth, and a slew of international coaches from passionate and developing baseball nations have gathered at various convention hotels across the country for two-and-half days of clinic presentations and industry exhibits. Sure, many members of the American Baseball Coaches Association have come and gone in those years; the leadership has been passed, nepotistically, from Dave Keilitz to his son, Craig; and the association — and baseball, in general — has lost some of its greatest coaches, including Rod Dedeaux, Gordie Gillespie, and Chuck “Bobo” Brayton.
I have attended all but three conventions in those nineteen years, and I have enjoyed and benefited from each of them. But ’96 was special — not just because it was held in the home of country music, a town I’d always wanted to visit. And not because I was attending my very first convention. Nashville in ’96 was special because it was there and then that I learned that baseball — the thing that had brought 4,000 of us together — was merely a metaphor for my own life and those of the players I hoped to impact.
While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”
Who the hell is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter, I was just happy to be there.
Having sensed the size of the group during check-in, I woke early the next morning in order to ensure myself a good seat near the stage — first chair on the right side of the center isle, third row back — where I sat, alone, for an hour until the audio-visual techs arrived to fine-tune their equipment. The proverbial bee bee in a boxcar, I was surrounded by empty chairs in a room as large as a football field. Eventually, I was joined by other, slightly less eager, coaches until the room was filled to capacity. By the time Augie Garrido was introduced to deliver the traditional first presentation from the previous season’s College World Series winner, there wasn’t an empty chair in the room.
ABCA conventions have a certain party-like quality to them. They provide a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with old friends from a fraternal game that often spreads its coaches all over the country. As such, it is common for coaches to bail out of afternoon clinic sessions in favor of old friends and the bar. As a result, I discovered, the crowd is comparatively sparse after lunch, and I had no trouble getting my seat back, even after grabbing a plastic-wrapped sandwich off the shelf at the Opryland gift shop.
I woke early the next morning and once again found myself alone in the massive convention hall, reviewing my notes from the day before: pitching mechanics, hitting philosophy, team practice drills. All technical and typical — important stuff for a young coach, and I was in Heaven. At the end of the morning session, certain that I had accurately scouted the group dynamic and that my seat would again be waiting for me after lunch, I allowed myself a few extra minutes to sit down and enjoy an overpriced sandwich in one of the hotel restaurants. But when I returned to the convention hall thirty minutes before the lunch break ended, not only was my seat not available, barely any seats were available! I managed to find one between two high school coaches, both proudly adorned in their respective team caps and jackets. Disappointed in myself for losing my seat up front, I wondered what had pried all these coaches from their barstools. I found the clinic schedule in my bag: “1 PM John Scolinos, Cal Poly Pomona.” It was the man whose name I had heard buzzing around the lobby two days earlier. Could he be the reason that all 4,000 coaches had returned, early, to the convention hall? Wow, I thought, this guy must really be good.
I had no idea.
In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.
Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?
After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.
Then, finally …
“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”
Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”
Another long pause.
“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.
“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”
“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”
“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.
“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”
” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him, do we widen home plate?
The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”
Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.
“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross.
“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”
I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”
With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.
“… dark days ahead.”
Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.
His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”
NOW! Here’s Momma Snider’s message for March 31st….
As students already know, it is no April’s Fool Day joke that Monday this week we are moving on. Finally, students will start the last unit for 8th Grade, the American Civil War. This means there is no more class time to finish what should have been done by Friday, March 29th. Due dates have been adjusted for the last time. AERIES is up-to-date with both correct due dates and work that definitely should have been turned in thus far your student does NOT have an “A+” or “A” right now, please know that s/he has had every opportunity to complete and turn-in his/her completed Manifest Destiny Rough Draft. The “MD Spot Check” was only a fraction of the full Rough Draft. In years gone by, 8th graders would have completed the rough draft, Kahoot, and the Manifest Destiny Map/LUKCAS prior to the March Break; not so this year. Students were given all of last week to do the same. By mid-week, it was clear that too many students would not be successful by Friday. For whatever reason, too many students continue to only work on assignments in class and do little or no homework. NO matter what subject, this work habit is deadly in high school. There are indeed a good number of students who currently have earned an “A+” or “A”. To those students, please keep doing what you are doing. You are exactly what your future high school is looking for in all students. Parents, the only way to know what your student is doing is to check AERIES for all classes at least three times a week. Your student should check daily. Use the “+” sign to see assignment details. Look at the comments section of the assignments. I’m not the only teacher who uses this field to provide amplifying information. For my U.S. History, please check http://mrssnider.edublogs.org. There is a calendar for your student’s class showing the up-to-date due dates. This week the Manifest Destiny Map/LUKCAS worth 500 Quality points is due on Friday, April 5th, done or not. Today, have your student show you his/her progress on this assignment. This is the one your student had all week last week to work on because their Manifest Destiny Rough Draft was really due Tuesday, March 26th. Again, there is no more class time to spend on what was due last week. We will be doing other things during class.
I hope everyone has been enjoying Spring Break. Even though we have a couple more days, it is time to start gathering things and make preparations for 4th Quarter. Here are a few things to think about in the upcoming days. First, students should restock school supplies; earbuds and colored pencils continue to be daily musts in history class. Second, for students who have not yet finished the “Manifest Destiny Kahoot-IT Project Rough Draft,” it is time to complete this assignment and turn it in on Google Classroom. Any student who posts his/her “complete” rough draft to the correct Google Classroom assignment prior to noon on Sunday March 24th will earn TRIPLE Turn-in points. The rough draft is due Tuesday March 26th. Very detailed directions for this assignment may be found here at http://mrssnider.edublogs.org as well as in Google Classroom. Second, students will work on both the Manifest Destiny Kahoot game creation and their Manifest Destiny Map/LUKCAS next week. Students received their map paper and directions prior to the March Break. Both the Kahoot game and Map/LUKCAS are due, Friday, March 29th. Please review http://mrssnider.edublogs.org. As Miss Maltos starts her solo teaching next week, my website has undergone some changes that I hope will make online communications with students and families clear. 3rd and 4th Periods will be working with Miss Maltos while I will continue to work with 1st, 2nd, and 6th Periods. The website will be the best place to get information outside of any Blackboard Connect communications Miss Maltos or I make. I hope you thoroughly enjoy the rest of your Spring Break. See you next Monday.
Sometimes, I think students are ready for “X” when indeed they are not. The “Manifest Destiny Kahoot-IT Project 2019” is one of those times. Therefore, this coming week, students will only be completing the rough draft for their project. Below are the details of what students will do during class this week.
While students might work with period classmates for ideas, completing the rough draft is each student’s responsibility. This rough draft will be used to complete and share a Kahoot showing what the student knows about Manifest Destiny. Associated with this assignment is the Manifest Destiny LUKCAS that will be assigned on Monday, March 25th. The student’s Kahoot and LUKCAS will be due on Friday, March 29th. The rough draft, Kahoot, and LUKCAS are all 4th Quarter grades.
Students will three class periods to complete the rough draft. March 4th, 5th, and 6th.
The student should be sure to include the following in his/her rough draft:
1. The CENGAGE NatGeo Chapter 12 Vocabulary on pp.380. This vocabulary may be part of a question and/or an answer the student creates using the “Manifest Destiny Kahoot-IT Project 2019” GREEN assignment paper handed out on Wednesday, February 27th.
2. The student must highlight each CENGAGE NatGeo Chapter 12 Vocabulary on pp.380 as it is used “correctly.” For each question, the student must highlight the correct answer.
3. Each question must have four plausible answers.
4. The student must highlight the correct answer.
Education is one of the few professions where we can say “Happy New Year” more than once. At the start of a school year, we start anew. January 1st, we welcome a new calendar year. Then, in February, we celebrate a new year with our Asian family and friends. This year is the Year of the Boar, aka. pig. Happy New Year!
While all 8th graders have a lot in common, being a Pre-AP student is a unique distinction. Pre-AP is NOT about assigning more work. a Pre-AP class is about giving students those uniquely engaging assignments that prepare them for Advanced Placement classes in high school. Therefore, Mrs. Snider’s Pre-AP U.S. History students need their unique calendar here at http://mrssnider.edublogs.org. Starting this week, Mrs. Snider’s Pre-AP students and their families have a unique spaces in Google Classroom and will receive unique weekly calls and web-based updates. Like the colonists established colonies in the “New World,” the Pre-AP students have their own “state” in Mrs. Snider’s Classroom, the “State of AP.” Welcome home.
For the rest of my wonderful and amazing students, please do not feel sad. Now that the Pre-AP students have seceeded from “Mrs. Snider’s Classroom Calendar,” you, too, have your own unique space and get your own unique weeklly calls and web-based updates as well.
Chapter 2 Vocabulary, Part 1 Update!
Good evening! This is Mrs. Snider from Christa McAuliffe Middle School with a special message regarding the Chapter 2 Vocabulary, Part 1 assignment. First, I want no student to spend more than 30-minutes on this assignment tonight. Tomorrow is another day. Second, Tonight’s homework is about using two features of the “new” textbook, the Glossary and the Index. In using the “new” textbook at home to find the vocabulary word terms on the list, please start with the Glossary that starts on page R-72. If you do not find the vocabulary word term in the Glossary, please try using the “new” textbook’s Index that starts on page R-94. If the vocabulary word term is not in the “new” textbook’s Glossary or Index, move onto the next vocabulary word term in the list. Third, parents! Your student has, at most, nine vocabulary word terms to look up using the Glossary and Index. If that takes 30-minutes, s/he is done for tonight. Fourth, students do know they will need an Internet definition and a picture sketch for each vocabulary word term. Without going over 30-minutes, students can work on these parts. Finally, working with our “new” textbook is a work in progress. Students have elected to try not carrying the textbook to school every day. But as you can see by tonight’s assignment, we just might have to carry a textbook until our digital textbook is ready. Thank you to all my students and their families for their patience as we learn how to work with our “new” textbook. I look forward to seeing everyone at Back-to-School Night tomorrow, August 8th.
Thank you for taking a moment to check out http://mrssnider.edublogs.org. As mentioned in the course syllabus your student received, this is your place to be connected to my classroom 24/7, receive announcements, and engage in special family activities. While I regularly use Blackboard Connect to update you on class and school activities, within Google Classroom, students can earn weekly extra credit for helping families stay informed and connected with school. Despite offering extra credit, more and more studies show that family time is extremely short, less than one hour a day in some cases. Therefore, I hope this website will be a resource that helps your student and your family have a better connection to my classroom and Christa McAuliffe Middle School.
To go behind the scenes and get a better look inside your student’s U.S. History class, I hope you will join the 2019 Guardians of Room 213 Google Classroom group. To join, please complete this Google Form, https://goo.gl/forms/yLIhnxaplZ6oRztu1. When you submit the Google Form, please look for the Google Classroom code you will use to join the group. http://classroom.google.com Your student can earn extra credit by helping you complete the form and join the correct Group. NOTE! All family members whom you consider to be a mentor or guardian of your student as s/he travels through 8th grade may join the Google Classroom group.
I look forward to meeting you and the rest of your student’s family at Back to School Night on Wednesday, August 8th.