Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 23 - One Last Sunrise at General Washington's Mount Vernon

So today is my final day as a Mount Vernon Life Guard Teacher Fellow.  It has been a rewarding and satisfying experience.  I'm sure I will do a reflective blog post later when I have time to get settled back in at home and look back at the last three weeks.

Several of you have asked about the project I've been working on.  The project is essentially done and I'm doing a few modifications here and there before it is ready for prime time.  The lesson I created is a two day lesson for middle school students which teaches some fundamental concepts in archaeology while exploring the Slave Cemetery Survey site at Mount Vernon which is an active archaeological site.  I will definitely be giving it a test run with my own 8th graders in September this fall. I will be posted it once it is ready.  I think it is a very interesting way to both teach Mount Vernon and he tools used by archaeologists.

I am actually writing this blog post at Reagan National Airport in DC.  My flight was scheduled to be gone already but we have a 5 hour delay due to mechanical issues so I've been hanging out and working on a couple of items in the meantime.  I was surprised to run into Denver Brunsman, Associate Professor of History at George Washington, at my gate waiting for a different flight. Denver and I visited last week at Mount Vernon so it was nice to chat while we were both waiting for flights.

My last big activity at Mount Vernon was watching the sunrise one last time before leaving. If you've been following the blog you know that I love to get up early, walk to the piazza at the mansion and watch the sunrise.  It is an amazing view, the Potomac stretched out in front of you and sun rising just off to the left above some trees on the property.  I typically get up at around 5:30 on days that I want to see the sunrise and then reach the mansion a little before 6:00 AM.  It is not crazy early, about the same time that I get up during the school year, but since it is summer without any pressing engagements it is always a bit of a mental struggle to ask myself if I really want to get up to see the sunrise.  

I haven't done it every day here at Mount Vernon - probably about five times in the three weeks that I was here. I have also done it the past over the years staying here for various teacher workshops. Each day is a little different, and some days might be a little bit more dramatic than others. They all look a little different based on the clouds.  Today was a beauty. Probably one of the best I can remember ever seeing here. Mother nature giving me a tip of the hat perhaps on my final day. One can believe it so, right? 

I took all the pictures this morning with my Nexus 6 phone. Usually I bring both my phone and my camera but I actually forgot my camera back at the house this morning. I have developed several places that I like to take pictures. There are a couple of angles that show just the Potomac, some that include the house and some that are from standing on the piazza behind the chairs and looking out on the scene through the columns.  The mansion is currently undergoing some significant renovations right now so I took a couple with just the side of the mansion and the landscape. Some are panoramic and some a traditional. No one else was out this morning on the lawn except for a couple of workers on the mansion getting a head start before the heat of the day hits.

I waited until I took plenty of pictures after the sun peaked out above the trees and then walked a little in both the lower and upper garden for the last time on this trip.  The sun was just clearing the trees in next to the upper garden when I walked through the gate from the bowling green.  The sun was shining and when I did some postproduction on the photo in Snapseed this afternoon it came out really nicely. I also took some pictures of some flowers.

My morning was a perfect way to say goodbye to Mount Vernon for this trip and I can't wait to come back again, to sit on the General's back porch.

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