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, April 27, 2008

Some Favorate Songs.....Rock and Country Edition

There have been several lists, long lists, recently about the worse songs. I happen to like several of the songs that were on those lists. But anyhow, here are some of Polski's all-time favorite songs, of the rock and country variety, in no particular order.

"Amarillo by Morning" by George Strait. Waltzing slowly in a country bar....or even in my living room with my wife.....great song. Gotta have some fiddle.

"Pancho and Lefty" Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. I don't know why, just a GREAT tune.

"Backstreets," "Prove it All Night," "The River," "Jackson Cage," "Downbound Train"....Bruce Springsteen....THE BOSS. Tunes with SO much emotion, songs about life....Damn, I regret selling my tickets I had to see him and the E-Street Band back in 1981.....but I needed the money for my senior year of college....dang book prices !

"Gone Away" "Gotta Get Away" THE OFFSPRING.

Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude," "Come Monday," "He went to Paris". Jimmy Buffett. Songs to just kick back and relax to.....

"King Nothing," "Whiskey in the Jar," "Ain't my Bitch," Metallica. KRANK IT UP !

"Some Memories Just Won't Die," "HonkyTonk Man" Marty Robbins. Golden voice of the Phoenix Valley.... Did you know that he is really of Polish heritage too ?

"Everywhere," "Like we Never Loved at all" Tim McGraw with help from his wife. More tunes to slow dance to with my wife.....wherever.

"Hells Bells," Shook Me (All Night Long)," Dirty Deeds" AC / DC. KRANK IT UP !

"Refugee," "Running Down a Dream," "Zombie Zoo," "Need to Know," "Woman in Love," Skeeter and the Monkey Man*," "King of the Hill**," "Last DJ," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Ok, so not all of these is TP & HB's.....* was Traveling Wilbury's and ** was Petty with Roger McGuinn..... Some great rock and roll !

"1000 miles from Nowhere," "Streets of Bakersfield," " Ain't that Lonly Yet," Dwight Yokam.

"Amanda," Wurlitzler Prize," "Dreamin' and Drinkin'," "America," "Waltz me to Heaven"....Waylon. The only Waylon that ever was, or ever will be.

"Guess things happen that way," "Ballad of Ira Hayes," Highwayman*," "Man in Black," "Sunday Morning Comin' Down".....Johnny Cash. ( * Cash with Waylon, Willie and Kris)

"Beth," "Love Gun," "Rock and Roll all Night," KISS.

"Rocket Queen," "Sweet Child o'Mine," "Welcome to the Jungle," Guns & Roses...KRANK IT UP !

"Funeral for a Friend," "Saturday Nights Alright for Fightin'," "Crocodile Rock," "Sad Songs Say So Much," Elton John.

"Long Distance," "Misfits," "State of Confusion," Rock and Roll Fantasy," 'Hollywood Boulvard," The Kinks.

"She Used to love me alot," The Ride," "If that Ain't Country," David Alan Coe.

"Heart of Gold," "Rockin' in the Free World," "Old Man," "Like a Hurricane," Neil Young.

"Touch and Go," "Since I held You," "Doncha Stop," "Dangerous Type," The Cars.

"Richard Cory," "Beware my Love," "Medicine Jar," "Jet," "Band on the Run"....Paul McCartney and Wings.

"Beaches of Cheyenne," "Wild Horses," "Much too young (to feel this damn Old," "Friends in Low Places," "If Tomorrow never Comes," Garth Brooks.

There you have it, SOME of Polski's favorite tunes. Someday, I ought to get an iPod. I suppose I could figure out how those work. Are they durable ?

Thanks for reading this blog. Are any of these YOUR favorites? Tell us. What might you add to this list, if this was YOUR list?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Helpful or Coddling?

Teaching 7th graders, every school season I get a good number of them who have absolutely NO organizational skills. Our school gives each student a binder and dividers at the beginning of the school year. Most have backpacks to use for lugging their school stuff. The vast majority of students at my school come from self-contained classrooms where they have a desk to keep all their stuff. I don't know how much "battle" is waged by elementary teachers about students keeping their desks contents neat and organized, but as I said, many arrive to us with no organizational skills. I get the impression many of their parents are not active in helping them keep their stuff neat, organized etc.

The main problem many have with this is that when it comes time to turn in their work, they can't find it. Their assignment might be in their backpack, crammed amongst the remains of who knows what else in the pile of mulch found in many of their backpacks. Their assignment might be someplace in their binder, if they have a binder. But most have not been taught to take the five seconds it takes to open the binder, turn to the section of the binder for the class, unsnap the rings and put their assignment there. I and many other junior high teachers try to get them to do this, but with the high numbers of students we deal with, we are not always successful. And from the student point of view, it does not seem to matter too much to many of them. There are also those who simply shove their papers into the front pocket of their binder, or even worse, cram their papers into already bulging sheet protectors. OR, they just don't know where it is and cannot find the assignment anywhere in their neighborhood.

I wish my school gave us teachers more time to work with these kids, because for many of them, this lack of organization is killing them academically. One idea I am contemplating, for some of my students, is classroom folders. Folders they put work for my classroom and keep it in my classroom. But, this does not help them learn much responsibility. Nor does it work for any work they have to take home to complete that they did not complete in class or have for homework. Is this coddling them too much ? I can create some storage space in my classroom, if I need to. I have spaces that are being taken up by stuff I don't use and may never use or need. Getting rid of it is hard, since I tend to be a hoarder, but If I try, I can create space for student work folders.

What do you do ? I am open to suggestions. I probably won't begin anything new in the remainder of this current school season, but I am trying to think ahead for the next batch of kids we'll get. Please share your ideas !

Thanks for reading my blog.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

College Admissions...for some ?

Over on a super blog, Elementry History Teacher, she has a post featuring questions about growing up in a privileged household. This got me to thinking about this. According to the questions on ELEMHISTTEACHERS Blog, I sure did not grow up "privileged". I have a goal for myself, to be able to do better for my son's than my folks were able to do for me (and my siblings...there were four of us). And according to ELEMHISTTEACHER's privileged home blog, I am, so far, meeting my goal....at about the "above proficient level".

Further jumbled thoughts led me to blog about an article in Saturday's San Diego Union-Tribune about the number of "local" college freshmen who must take remedial coursework. According to this article, "Students Deficient at being Proficient", 37% of the incoming freshmen in the CSU (California State University) system are not proficient in math, 46% are not proficient in English. Locally, 48% of incoming freshmen at Cal State San Marcos are not proficient in math, 53% not proficient in English. At San Diego State, it was 25% deficient in math, 32% in English.

I always thought that it was only the superstars, the really bright, the real "go-getters" who were able to be admitted at freshmen at most universities. Maybe those are the students who get in to the "higher" level Universities; Stanford, Harvard, Yale, MIT, exclusive private schools, etc. Not the state schools. Anyhow, I know it cost the university system millions of dollars a year trying to prep high schoolers for college and then, when they get to a state university, to provide remedial coursework for freshmen students. The article states, "The CSU system pours millions of dollars into outreach efforts aimed at making high schoolers more prepared for college, and it often bails them out with remedial classes when they're not. But the past seven years have produced only modest improvements in math among Cal States 23 campuses, and there have been no changes in English." So, are high school class expectations being watered down to get students through high school? One student quoted in the article said, "They don't make you think critically."

Do most students who think they want to go to college really do what they must do to be prepared for college ? For most, I doubt it. I know I didn't. I didn't take any challenging classes in high school. Unfortunately, in my home growing up, it wasn't expected. We were told to try, don't flunk anything, stay out of trouble, graduate and during senior year, also work. And I had to work harder in college to make the grade. Of my buddies from high school, of the gang of six of us, there are only two of us who are college graduates. Are things really much different today, than they were back in the late 1970's ?

My next question is, how are these students getting into these universities as freshmen with such deficiencies? Are these not the students with 4.0+ gpa's, lots of community involvement and perhaps some true athletic talent ? The statistics indicate otherwise. Is their admission the result of affirmative action? Years ago, a student, Backke or something like that, sued for admission to Cal Berkeley because affirmative action excluded his admission, even though his test scores made him much more qualified than many of those who were admitted because of their "ethnic background". Here in 2008, do this current statistics mean acceptance to a California State University still depend upon "who you are," not if you are qualified ?

Something to think about and pay attention to as my son's progress towards high school.

Thanks for staying with this rambling post. Yer comments is welcome!

Book Meme

I got tagged by ElemHistTeacher....called Book Meme. Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the next three sentences
5. Tag five people and acknowledge who tagged you.

1. Nearest Book: My History 7 Textbook, McDougal Littell: "WORLD HISTORY: Medieval and Early Modern Times" which just happens to be sitting on the computer desk with me because I am supposed to be creating a "Pre-Reading" activity for my students, instead of playing with my blog and reading other teacher blogs.

2. Page 123, Sentences 6-7-8: "In addition to being a poet, Omar Kyayyam was a great mathematician. He drew on Greek ideas to further the work of al-Khwarizmi. He also wrote an examination of Greek studies on geometry."

I tag CaliforniaTeacherGuy, Coach Brown, Chanman, Mamacita, and MsCornelia.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What Hazards Lurk in YOUR classroom ?

Today, as I wandered my classroom full of students (34 of 'em in period 4), recording packet scores, I performed one of my ballet moves.....because I tripped on someones backpack and did a three hop down the narrow aisle on one foot. Thankfully and proudly, I have yet to fall down in my classroom due to tripping on a backpack, or kids foot or rip in the carpet. But I am sure many classroom teachers face such hazards. It is something that must be encountered at times in a crowded classroom of active junior high students.

Anyhow, I got to thinking of the other little hazards I have encountered this and every school year; paper cuts, cutting a finger or hand on a staple on a poorly stapled student paper and having an allergic reaction to some kid dousing himself with some nasty brew of "hot woman attracting" scent in lieu of showering or wearing clean clothing. I have also nearly slipped on wet concrete sidewalks because our custodial or gardening staff water these sidewalks. Actually slipping or tripping is a concern to me, my aging joints are already bad enough and I once nearly tore my left ACL. We must simply be carefully.

Fortunately, I don't think I have mold or mildew in my classroom. I don't know about asbestos. But I do think teachers deal with more hazards in their "workplace" than many working folks encounter. I have no idea when the last OSHA inspection of my school took place. At my school, we have never received training on avoiding "work-place hazards."

So, what hazards lurk in your classroom or at your school ?