Wearing the maillot jaune

The best thing going during the first couple weeks of the school year has been the Tour de France. Every morning (except Monday, rest day), I can get up in the morning and watch the race live, and then come back later in the day to watch the last 30km and the finish. I know that bicycle racing is not so well-known among Americans, so that you might not know the significance of the 4 special shirts that 4 special riders wear each day. First off, the Tour de France is a team event: all the riders belong to a team, and each has it’s distinctive ‘kit’ (bicyclese for uniform).

But every day except the first, there are four special shirts awarded for achievements the previous day. The maillot jaune, the yellow jersey, goes to the race leader, the best overall rider at the moment, the one who has gotten to wherever they are the fastest. The polka-dotted jersey goes to the rider who has been fastest over the mountains. Mountains and hills of different steepness and length are worth different numbers of ‘king of the mountain’ points. The green jersey goes to the rider who is fastest in the sprints — sometimes at the end of a day’s racing, sometimes in the middle of a stage. For the best young rider (under 23, I think) goes the white jersey.

I am going to award these jerseys to the best students in different categories at the end of a stage (like the Plague stage), to see if will incentive all of you to pull harder, and will also provide some recognition to those who do pull the hardest. The yellow jersey will go to the best overall rider for the week, with respect to our three basic kindergarten criteria: show up, work hard, play nice. The polka-dot jersey will go to the Discourser who comes early to the discussion, and stays late, and is always in the mix. The green jersey will go to the person whose individual project, or whose energy, work-rates, and cooperation in the group project, stands out above all others. And the white jersey will go to the most-improved student (rider) for the week, because everyone deserves a second chance. I will consult with Moon and Stella in these decisions, and will announce the current leaders every day or two, in sync with the work we are doing.

Discussing creativity

As of this moment — 8:17 am, Friday morning — here’s how the polka-dot jersey competition is looking over in the world of Discourse: eight of you have entered the discussion, and there have been some good responses to the questions posed, but not a lot of attention paid to the signage at the beginning of the course! There’s only one person who has successfully asked the requested question in the requested format, and that’s Jake. It was a very good question, with a well-chosen quotation from the text. Picture Jake in a polka-dot jersey.

There were some great ideas offered yesterday, in the green jersey competition, but I think it’s still too early to give anyone the shirt quite yet. I had one student in mind for the white jersey, the most improved, but she has yet to show up for the Discourse discussion, and another rider has perhaps overtaken her. I also have some ideas for early overall leaders, but lets wait a day to see whether the sprint off the line is sustained.


Here are the official rosters for this week’s groupings. Sorry about the confusion I by putting people in the wrong break-out rooms during our Zoom meetings


  • Lucas
  • JT
  • Preston
  • Matthew
  • Jake

Blue Herons

  • Wendy
  • Madeleine
  • David
  • Willie
  • Chloe


  • Emily
  • Sumin
  • Christy
  • Tera
  • Ziggy

Dark-eyed Juncos

  • Blaine
  • Brian
  • Jack D
  • Jack T