Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Sunday, August 27, 2006


I was amused to read recently about the vision correction trials and tribulations of San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy. He is legally blind without his vision correction. I know THAT story, I am in the same boat; without my contact lenses, my vision is a step above being legally blind. And my eyes seem to be getting worse, as they do as one navigates through their 40's and beyond....

Anyhow, how do you handle your students in class, who cannot see? Teaching junior high, I annually get several students who have vision problems. At the start of each school season, I develop the first of several seating charts. I always ask my students for several bits of information, including the question of "Can you see the boards from where I seat you?" For those students who will tell me about their not being able to see, I try to find the best place for them to sit in my classroom.

But, not all of them will freely revel such information. Throughout the year, those silent about their vision difficulties will usually be reveled in several ways; I will see them constantly looking at what their neighbors are copying from the board or I will find out from a parent that they have glasses and often chose not to wear them. Occasionally they revel that their lack of work is due to the fact that they can't see well enough to do their work, or that yes, they do need glasses and need to either get new ones or get their current glasses fixed. At times, I have brought this issue to school administration when parents have said that they cannot afford glasses for their kid or don't have the money to pay for fixing the glasses. There are social services to help these families. [ An aunt of mine once told me that as a child of a poor family, she had to wear poorly fitting glasses provided by "the welfare" people and this was part of her motivation to get an education (which she did: She graduated from the Univ. of Chicago with her LLD in 1945 ---- and she is STILL practicing law in Chicago!) ]

Likewise, I have to take my own vision problems into consideration with my students. It is a rule in my class that if I cannot easily read their work, I will return it to them ungraded and they must redo it in a form that I can read.

Vision. Just one of the many aspects we teachers must take into consideration in working with our 200 or so students each year.

Thanks for reading my blog! As always, I welcome your comments!

Friday, August 11, 2006

What to Do ????

This morning, I went through my two "World History" poster/board display boxes to separate them into the 'stuff' I use on a regular basis and the 'stuff' I no longer use or haven't used in quite some time.

However, I have box of "US History" poster/board display stuff. I have not taught US History in quite a few years now. Should I just keep this stuff in my garage ? OR, should I let several of the newer teachers teaching US History at my school use it ? OR, should I let several of the newer teachers teaching US History at my school have whatever they feel they can use of it ? [(Note: None of this stuff belongs to the school; I purchased or acquired it myself. ]

I am a packrat. It is hard for me to part with things such as teaching stuff. "What IF I decide or have a need to use it again????" Many of you KNOW just what I am talking about. I still have binders and boxes of science teaching stuff out in the garage. WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET RID OF THINGS SUCH AS THESE ?????

Thanks for reading my blog! I welcome your comments and suggestions regarding these matters.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


We (the Polski3 family), just returned from a roadtrip to view some of the sights of the American southwest. In our whirlwind tour, we saw Boulder Dam, Grand Canyon, fossil dino tracks, a meteor crater, cliff dwellings and an old state prison.

We started off heading for the Las Vegas area, but had to detour into Arizona as part of the road between Blythe and Needles was our of use. It was ok with me as I'd never been to Lake Havasu City. I was shocked at how big Lake Havasu City was, and it contained several of the markers of civilization that I look for in a town, that being several of my favorite places to eat ---- In-N-Out and Red Robin. Neither of these places is anywhere near where I live. We also saw London Bridge. It was not too impressive. It was different, but none of us was very impressed by it. My lovely wife did think the lamp posts were unique and decorative.

Wife liked Henderson, NV., where we stayed after driving a good chunk of the day. Her favorite rib place was there, as well as several of the stores she likes to shop. The next am., we visited Boulder Dam. The boys were impressed with it. My youngest discovered that the updraft coming off the dam would take a mouthful of water up into the air with a colorful visual effect. For my classroom, I have obtained a new "Dam Cup" (the plastic soda cups they sell; I keep scrap pencils in it for my classroom....of course students get a kick out of telling their classmates who arrive in search of a pencil to "check the Dam cup!"). My prior Dam Cup is about 13-14 years old and a bit faded, so it will be retired.

Grand Canyon was our next big stop. Boys were impressed with it. We also hiked a few hundred yards down the Bright Angel and Grandview trails to get that "in the canyon" view and feeling. If any of you have not been to Grand Canyon, you really must go down into the canyon when you do visit. I have hiked far down into the canyon, back in my younger, pre ankle/foot surgery days, but my wife and boys had never been down into it. My wife was really awed by this experience. I bought an interesting book, ("Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon" by Ghiglieri and Myers) about the people who have died/been killed at Grand Canyon.....falling off edge, river accidents, murdered.....signs in the gift shops said it was the number one selling book at GCNP. A highlight for us was also going on a ranger led hike to view fossil marine organisms found in the limestone. I never knew these fossils were there and we all had a good time searching the outcrops for the various types of fossils (corals, crinoids, brachipods, bivalves, sponges). Seems these all lived in an ancient Pangean bay that extended from what is now eastern Grand Canyon to Las Vegas. We also saw living wildlife; the usual begging squirrels, ravens, a turkey vulture, lizards, and some elk. Lots of foreign tourists too....German, Russian, Italian, Japanese and Chinese.

Unknown to many people, there are some exposed fossil dinosaur tracks in northern Arizona. They are found at a "private" area just off highway 160 between US 89 and Tuba City (in the Navajo Nation). I am a bit surprised that the feds or state or even the tribe haven't taken over this exposed bit of ancient history. A Navajo guy who lives nearby and who claims that it is part of his family land allotment was our informal tour guide. I'd visited these tracks before, but not in the 'detail' that he showed us. He used a bottle with water to highlight the tracks, most of which were from three-toed hunting/predatory type dinosaurs. There was also a partially exposed bit of a skeleton. My youngest son is a junior dinosaur expert really thought this was a great place to visit.

We visited the famous Meteor crater. It was impressive. They also have a good display with educational activities for people to do.....and it all worked, unlike what we seem to find these days in many public museums. They have a teacher packet available for teachers which I signed up for.

We visited two sets of "ancestral puebloan" ruins on this trip (apparently the term "Anasazi" is no longer used, but the cultural regions are [Chacoan, Mesa Verdan, Kayenta, Fremont, Mogollon, Hohokam, etc]), the ruins of a small pueblo at Tusayan in the eastern part of Grand Canyon NP and the cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua culture near Camp Verde that is known as Montezuma Castle. I had been to Montezuma Castle before, but it has been expanded; I found out that what is viewed at Montezuma Castle was the smallest part of the ancient village that the Sinagua people built. There had been a larger pueblo structure built at the base of the cliff 50 yards away from the cliff dwelling, and that out of view for visitors, were at least 25 cave homes the people had carved into the cliff.

Almost home, we stopped by the famous (infamous?) Arizona Territorial Prison at Yuma. This Arizona State Park has been much restored and much improved over what it was years ago. Interestingly, along with murders, forgers, and burglars, the prison also held some Mormans convicted of bigamy, some Mexican revolutionaries convicted of violation of US neutrality laws, a guy imprisoned for "seduction and failure of a promise to marry" and a couple convicted of child abuse. Some prisoners got in trouble for drugs, marijuana and morphine, and inmates were more severely punished for talking back to a guard or failing to obey a guards order than if they fought with each other, refused to work or refused to bathe.

But, it is good to be home.

Thanks for reading my blog. As always, your comments are welcome!