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BAD International Pi Day

The Bay Area Derby Girls opened the 2015 regular season on International Pi Day. Berkeley won the first bout against San Francisco (photo gallery here), and Oakland defeated Richmond in the second bout. (photos here.) Four people competed in a pie eating contest, which the audience won. The derby and sunset were grand, as was the marching band. I searched for circles.

The San Francisco ShEvil Dead and the Berkeley Resistance  opened the Bay Area Derby Girls 2015 season at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA on March 14, 2015. Berkeley won 259-122. (bryan farley)

Pi Day is a real thing. In case you forgot the formula for measuring the area of a circle or cylinder, you can find it on the page International Pi Day page. I learned the origin of the joke that “Pies aren’t square; they are round.” I also learned that there was a such a thing as a Pi joke.

The San Francisco ShEvil Dead and the Berkeley Resistance  opened the Bay Area Derby Girls 2015 season at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA on March 14, 2015. Berkeley won 259-122. (bryan farley)

I am too literal to laugh at math jokes. I tried to photograph the first several numbers of Pi, but I couldn’t find the necessary skaters after #31. (I wanted a series of skaters so that I could reproduce 3.14159…..

The San Francisco ShEvil Dead and the Berkeley Resistance  opened the Bay Area Derby Girls 2015 season at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA on March 14, 2015. Berkeley won 259-122. (bryan farley)

When my daughter walked outside, I found a series of squares (see 25 and 49 on the sail), but we have already learned that pies are not squares. The painted bicycle wheels seemed more lonely next to squares. You can’t fit squares into circles, especially on International Pi Day.

 Richmond Wrecking Belles hosted the Oakland Outlaws in the 2015 season opener for both Bay Area Derby Girl teams at The Craneway Pavilion on Saturday March 14, 2015. Oakland won 131-127. (bryan farley)

During the second bout, I found more circles and squares. Demanda Riot is sandwiched by two squares. This time 36 and 64 surround 000.

The San Francisco ShEvil Dead and the Berkeley Resistance  opened the Bay Area Derby Girls 2015 season at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA on March 14, 2015. Berkeley won 259-122. (bryan farley)

At the Fist of Flour Pizza vendor booth, I found a Fresh Hot Pi. Is this a round pie?

The San Francisco ShEvil Dead and the Berkeley Resistance  opened the Bay Area Derby Girls 2015 season at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA on March 14, 2015. Berkeley won 259-122. (bryan farley)

The Greek letter Pi and the number 3.14 change shape in a mirror. People who study these things claim that 3.14 spells pie when reflected in a mirror. The Greek letter creates a slice of pie. I do not understand it, but I not very smart about these things. I was disappointed that my daughter did not enter the pie eating contest…  until I photographed it.

Richmond Wrecking Belles hosted the Oakland Outlaws in the 2015 season opener for both Bay Area Derby Girl teams at The Craneway Pavilion on Saturday March 14, 2015. Oakland won 131-127. (bryan farley)

When we celebrate the next big International Pi Day in 100 years, I hope this guy competes… and the next time, I hope he wins. After he wins, I hope he does a “Craneway Leap” into the crowd. It was our victory, but mostly because we remained clean.

Richmond Wrecking Belles hosted the Oakland Outlaws in the 2015 season opener for both Bay Area Derby Girl teams at The Craneway Pavilion on Saturday March 14, 2015. Oakland won 131-127. (bryan farley)

When I was younger, I loved math, but I do not know if I saw the world as a mathematician. Yesterday was Emmy Noether’s 133rd birthday. (You may have noticed her when you opened your Google browser.) She visualized the world in a way that I cannot begin to understand. I see circles, numbers and square roots; she sees a sonnet or symphony.

Or maybe I can hear music and she sees numbers. Regardless, I like my numbers simple and slightly dyslexic (like my favorite Taylor Swift song titles). I love that my son and daughter enjoy going to roller derby.

 

EDIT ALERT!!!:!:!:!: As if to prove my point that “I like my numbers simple and slightly dyslexic,” originally I planned to conclude with a comment about yesterday being “International Poker Wheel Day” (or International “Inside Straight Day.”) I inserted a photo with 8 skates and the number 8 (for 8 wheels) AND I started writing how the date (with the numbers 1,2,3,4, and 5) created a straight called a “wheel.” (It’s in Wikipedia, so it must be true.) THEN my slight dyslexia kicked in. Instead of writing 3/24/15 I wrote 1/24/15 and assumed that I had been wrong while preparing the post. This morning I realized I had been correct. Sometimes life is like a circle; other times it is like a crazy 8… now that would be a cool song.

Mills Healing Plant Tour

On a standardized test, what does a leader look like? How do you build standardized assessments that reward collaboration and creativity? If you wanted to identify the next Julia Morgan, would you rely on the SAT?

 (bryan farley)

The two 5th grade pioneer classes from Melrose Leadership Academy visited Mills College in Oakland, California. Mills College is in our neighborhood, so the students walked to Mills. Melrose fifth graders are the architects who have built MLA into a model for urban education. This year, I photographed Ms. Jessica’s 5th grade students during their neighborhood field trip to Mills. In April of 2012, I photographed the 2011-2012 kindergarten classes  for their expeditionary learning project at the campus creek. That was also our the last year that MLA was at the old Elizabeth Sherman site. The walk was shorter.

 (bryan farley)

During both visits, students learned about native plants and the natural environments supported by a native ecosystem. This year, Mills College students taught MLA students how to remove invasive plant species so that natives can return to the creek bed. Future leaders taught future leaders, so that older leaders could be replaced.

 (bryan farley)

Mills College has been recruiting and training leaders since the late 1800’s. When Mills first opened, many US colleges excluded women. Women were not seen as leaders, at least not the same way that men were viewed. Young men would not have wanted to attend Mills, because … well, because Mills was a “girls school.” Some folks would not want to attend Melrose; it does not look right. The school does not sound right, especially when the students speak Spanish. Outsiders can’t easily measure the school’s value, or outsiders choose to value something else.

 (bryan farley)

And yet, history proved that Mills created and recruited world leaders. As a photography teacher, I am continually amazed that Imogen Cunningham walked the same Mills campus that students walk today. (Imogen was neither a student nor instructor at Mills, but she was inspired there.) When I visit the Mills College Art Museum, I remember that Mills recruited visiting artists during WWII who might have otherwise perished in Europe. Mills College graduates influence the world of politics, educations, art, and other fields.

 (bryan farley)

When educators create standardized tests, we ask questions about the origin of Oakland’s name. When we look for leaders, we look upward and see an Oak tree blossoming. Britta Bullard, the Mills College sustainability coordinator, showed our students something new. The kids paused as their imagination expanded. This is another example of pioneers seeing something that most people will miss.

 (bryan farley)

Friday would have been Fred Rogers’ birthday. Rogers, who asked “won’t you be my neighbor?” may have enjoyed the short walk to Melrose from my house early Friday evening.  Drums echoed through the neighborhood as drummers and dancers rehearsed for the San Francisco Carnival parade. Inside the school, about 100 people assembled for movie night. (There was popcorn and ice cream.)

When you measure API (Academic Performance Index), how many points does your school receive for Friday Night Movie Night… with drums and popcorn?

 (bryan farley)

My favorite plant on the healing plant tour was “The Placebo.” Standardized tests are the placebos of education. Some people feel better when they take them… and some people take a lot of placebos. Do placebos measure leadership or aptitude? If being Julia Morgan were important, wouldn’t we search for the children who are already pioneers?

and watch them blossom?

MLA Song and Dance

On Thursday March 5th, Melrose Leadership Academy held the first TK-5th Grade Choral Concert in Oakland, California. (You can view a photo gallery of The Choral Concert here.) Earlier this school year, MLA held its annual Dance-a-thon. (I have included dance-a-thon images at the bottom and a gallery here.) Since today is International Women’s Day and yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, I thought that I would revisit a quote painted on one of the murals where my two children attend school… the quote is about dancing across bridges.

Si no puedo bailar tu revolución no me interesa – Emma Goldman

 (bryan farley)

Melrose Leadership Academy is a dual immersion public school in Oakland. (It is not a charter school.) The kids at MLA are smarter than I am. I can only speak English, and I often forget how to speak and write in my first (and only) language. When my daughter translated the Goldman quote into English for me, I understood that Goldman was advising advocates that social movements needed charisma. If you can’t dance at the revolution, why bother?

 (bryan farley)

We bother. We dance and sing at Melrose Leadership Academy. We enjoy ourselves, but we also work hard. The kids work hard too. When we have events (and we have many), students prepare. When events finish, students clean up. It takes a village to cross bridges.

 (bryan farley)

Oakland has been called “The New Brooklyn.” I don’t know what this means. When I hear the reference, I think that someone is fixing to sell me a bridge. No offense to Brooklyn, but it isn’t even Harlem (or Selma). On my other blog, I have been contemplating whether Oakland is becoming the New Topeka. Some decent New Oaklanders learned how to maintain a segregated school system by any means necessary, either by crossing a bridge to another district or by building a bridge that would separate their children from lives that matter less than their own children.

 (bryan farley)

Would I have been brave enough to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge 50 years ago? I doubt it. Is public education the Pettus Bridge of today? I am less certain of this question, but it feels like a bridge to cross. In the East Bay, we have built another segregated school system. We might call our New Topeka “school choice” or “neighborhood school” or another term that does not pass the smell test, but we know that our grandchildren will ask us in 50 years where we stood.

 (bryan farley)

Life Magazine covered Bloody Sunday. You can almost hear the clubs striking the bones. You can feel the attitudes changing when the images became public. The news reports yesterday were overwhelmingly positive. The marchers inspired everyone, or nearly everyone, from Fox News to MSNBC.

 (bryan farley)

The time changed during the night. We lost an hour (or we gained an hour.) Time changes that way. We lose an hour and we gain an hour… and then we seem to give it back again. We lose and gain. As children grow up, they watch adults. Children learn from our actions and benefit from our sacrifices. There have been many Bloody Sunday’s. The band U2 wrote a song about a different Bloody Sunday that includes the line,

“We eat and drink so tomorrow they die….”

It’s tomorrow.