Iced In

Yesterday school was closed in Baltimore City and the surrounding counties due to active sleet + freezing rain, and icy conditions. What with Martin Luther King Day on Monday, a professional development held at Morgan State University for me today, and the possibility of another storm coming Thursday night into Friday morning, this could end up being a 1 day week for me! Not, of course in terms of me only working one day: I worked significant amounts on Tuesday while iced in, today was a full day that began with a 6:15 trip to the office (i.e. school), and Friday will include time spent grading and preparing for the new semester courses no matter what else it entails. But Thursday might be the only day this week I interact with students [in person].

Often when there are snow days, I try to communicate with students by e-mail, about something they can be doing to keep up the work in my class. Certainly not every student has access to the internet or checks his/her e-mail on a snow day, so the e-mail contains a suggestion or extra-credit assignment, not required work.

This Tuesday communication was especially important as it was the last review day before final exams. So I sent out the following pair of e-mails to my Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) class:

E-mail #1

Hi CIM students!

Due to the bad weather, I won’t get a chance to see you all today, so I’m writing down a few reminders.

1) I’m beginning to go through and grade your online portfolios now.

2) Your Handshaking Project Reports (which were to be due today at 2pm) need to be turned in by noon on Friday. I will grade leniently and have given you this extension because of the snow day today, but since each group has at least three members, you absolutely should be able to complete the reports you’ve already begun and submit them before the quarter ends.

3) Our final exam is Thursday 9:10 – 10:40am. Make certain you arrive on time, and don’t forget to bring pencil, eraser, and a 1-page (8.5″x11″) single-sided sheet of handwritten notes which you will be allowed to use during the exam.

Hope you’re all enjoying the icy weather, and see you Thursday!

Mr. Yates

E-mail # 2

Also, for the iced/snowed-in, here are two CIM-related videos you might enjoy:

1) A clip on the TV show Bones where they use rapid prototyping (stereolithography) to add layers that build up a full skeleton is at,vepisode,1,0 from the 10:40-12:15 time slot (Note: video link will expire in two days). A critique of that clip, with photos of a real 3D printer recreating King Tut is at .

2) A video here ( shows Chris Yates (no relation) using a laser CNC machine to cut out robots (final product here

Mr. Yates

Do you do anything work-related on snow days, or just relax in the day off?



Filed under teaching

3 responses to “Iced In

  1. We don’t get snow days. In fact it has been in the 60s (Fahrenheit) this week. I did work all through the 3-day Martin Luther King weekend, grading senior thesis and evaluating grad school applicants.

    • nyates314

      Do you ever get other-types-of-weather days? Like I remember the first three days in a row of summer school here last summer were called off (I forget if they were totally off, or just an early dismissal) on account of heat.

      • This time of year we usually get alternating weeks of heavy rain and nice weather. In the “summer” we get slightly warmer weather (highs in the 70s, dropping to 50 at night, instead of highs in the 60s dropping to 40 at night), with an occasional day of “very hot” weather in the 90s). The day-night variation is much larger than the summer-winter variation. Even the random fluctuation is larger than the seasonal variation.
        The only time schools close are when there are mud slides or floods (which only affect one or two schools once a decade) or big earthquakes (a couple times a century).

        One interesting thing is that our hottest months are usually September and October, just when school is starting.

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