Occupying Space in my Brain | March 30

A brief description of things that I've been thinking and learning about recently. (An idea stolen directly from Tim Calvin's "SitRep" posts. Also, you should subscribe to his email newsletter).

  • Sharing. I used to share my thoughts, reflections, and resources much more often than I have the last few years. Several factors have affected this (more stringent district policies, twitter got weird, having a child), but I do miss the active engagement with the education community that occurred through this active sharing. As evidenced by this post, I'd like to be more proactive on this front. As I've been thinking again about how important open sharing has been for me, I always head back to Dean Shareski and his thoughtful writing. His recent piece includes the phrase, "Sharing in its purest form is a moral imperative." And thus here I am, trying to figure out what that sharing should look like in 2017, when blogs are so 10 years ago, Twitter is huge and impersonal, and does anyone even social bookmark anymore?
  • Reflecting & Reading.  Specifically, I'm inspired by the depth (and quantity) of reflection Brian Frank does in public. His recent post on problem solving with forces is just one example. His reflections also include references to physics education research, which I'd like to get back to reading more often as well.
  • Baseball Rosters. For whatever reason, I've been fascinated for some time by the way a baseball team's makeup changes throughout the season. Originally this thinking was inspired by a throwaway comment from the long defunct Up and In podcast that "the team that starts the season is completely different from the team that ends the season" (loosely quoted). I've had in my head the idea for an infographic showing the movement of players between the various levels of a baseball organization, but I don't have the graphic design chops, tools, or skills to really pull it off. My best effort was in 2012 when I made this spreadsheet tracking the Tigers players at all levels. I've tried other years and other formats haven't worked out so well. This year I'm going to track just players on the 25-man Active Roster, which will hopefully make the task more manageable. Also, if anyone has an idea for a tool that I can use to turn this data into a beautiful graphic that uses ribbons showing the movement of all the players. It seems like JSON or something might work well for this, but my skills with that are pretty much zero. If you're familiar with resources that would help me learn how to use JSON (or some other format) to generate infographics, please share!
  • StatCast Metrics. I like baseball and the start of the baseball season is upon us, so bear with me. For the 2015 and 2016 seasons MLB rolled out an advanced system of tracking player and ball movement called StatCast. Now that there's been a couple years of data they've started rolling out some fascinating statistics: Hit Probability and Catch Probability, for example. Catch probability looks at the hang time of the batted ball and the distance an outfielder needs to run to make the catch to determine what probability the outfielder has of making the catch. This is some fascinating next level statistical stuff. As a bonus: The data is all publicly available. Go play!
  • A Big Move. Finally, I'm no longer a Connecticutian. For my wife's career, we moved back to the MidWest (I'm originally from Michigan) in January and I now live about 45 minutes north of Chicago (or 45 minutes south of Milwaukee, for my Wisconsin readers). I was able to find a job for the spring, and am adjusting to being the "new" teacher. It's an odd position to be in as a veteran teacher, and perhaps I didn't realize the level of leadership I had among my colleagues at my last position now that I'm starting fresh.