Friday, February 24, 2006

TAKS Test: First Attempt

This week my oldest child took her first TAKS reading test for 3rd grade. She's had plenty of practice tests and done rather poorly on them. She keeps falling for the almost correct answer. Oh, not that I'm worried if she passed, but getting three questions wrong freaks her out.

Here's a sample of the story test she brought home this week:
Dear Sir or Madam:

I am a ten-year-old girl. I live in the Ballard neighborhood. I want to start a new P-Patch on my street. You might think someone my age can't handle a P-Patch. That's why I am working with a group of neighbors. We all have the same dream.

There are 20 neighbors in my P-Patch Planning Group. Sixteen members are adults, and four members are kids. We have taken field trips to four Seattle P-Patches and talked with the gardeners. The gardeners showed us how they work in their gardens. I've learned a lot. For example, I know how important it is to have good soil. I've even learned to use a tiller to stir up the hard dirt.

I have also learned what happens to the food grown in P-Patches. Every year, up to ten tons of food goes to needy people. I think that's neat! I would feel very good knowing that I grew food to help others. Some people on my street don't have much money. They would like to use the garden to grow food for their own families. I think that's neat, too.

My group found the best place for a P-Patch. I know P-Patch gardens should be at least 2,000 square feet. A church at the end of our block has been closed for three years. Nobody takes care of it. There are weeds all around. It's ugly and dirty and makes our neighborhood look bad. It would be nice to have a P-Patch there. The garden would look nice there, and it would be a nice place for neighbors to spend time together. There are no tall buildings around the old church, so the area gets plenty of sun. The sunflowers I want to plant there would be so happy!

Four people in my group know about organic gardens and will teach the rest of us. They will pay special attention to the kids (including me). So, we will learn how to be responsible gardeners. This kind of teamwork is a great idea!

Every person on my P-Patch Planning Group is writing a letter to you, too. I hope you will see how eager we are. We take the P-Patch program very seriously. Our neighborhood needs it!

Thank you,
Ellie Lewis.

She got the main idea question wrong:

1)Ellie wrote her letter mainly to-

X- show how much she knows about
making a garden.

correct answer was: give reasons why her group should
be allowed to start a P-Patch.

So she got pretty close there.

This question I really didn't expect
12. In which word do the letters er mean the same as in gardeners?

X- Flowers

Correct answer- Builders

It's a good question because students need to know that but I don't remember that ever being taught.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My Fuzzy Warm Pajama Pants are Blue

Its weird reading the newspaper sometimes. You can be happy, learn new stuff, and sometimes, get your fuzzy warm pajama pants shocked off of you. Well, that's what happened to me today. It seems somebody just up and decided to RENAME MY HOME! Yup, apparently "Fondren" was too passe and they needed to "breath life" into the area. Seems the ghosts of the Fondren family failed to guard the city so officials need to have them exorcized from the area. The officials think they can make the hookers on the corner wither way from boredom by renaming the area one of the those mundane neighborhood names that corporations always think of. Soon, the hookers will grow roots where they stand and become the next generation of beautiful Oak trees that will stand out against the many other thousands of Oak trees in the city of Houston.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Officials of a management district in Fondren Southwest hope the new moniker they have recently created for the entity will help breathe life into the area.

The management district board on Jan. 31 unanimously approved "Brays Oaks" as the district's working name although "Harris County Improvement District No. 5" will continued to be used for legal purposes.

The new appellation was culled from nearly 30 suggestions that an ad hoc committee received from residents through e-mail and postal mail since November, said Elaine Gaskamp, a member of the board who chaired the committee.

The board and the committee held a town meeting on Nov. 17 to solicit a new name that would give the district a distinct identity and improve the area's image.

The committee sought a name that is timeless, ties communities together without references to any specific subdivision or neighborhood but expresses a proud sense of ownership by those who live or work in the area.

Gaskamp said many names suggested identified Brays Bayou with
references to the natural environment of the area, including the abundance of
live oaks.

And I seriously doubt that most of the area even knew that there was a name change being considered.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bathroom Reading Publication 17

Hey, who knew that IRS Publication 17 could be so entertaining!

"If you receive a bribe, include it in your income." pg.85

"You must include kickbacks, side commissions, push money, or similar payments you recieve in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or SChedule C-EZ (Form 1040), if from your self-employment activity" pg. 87

"Illegal income, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040..." pg. 87

"You cannot deduct the cost of a wristwatch, even if there is a job requirement that ou know the correct time to properly perform your duties." pg. 195

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Childhood horror stories

While playing online, my friends began discussing a whole lot of funny stories, worthing of being immortalized online forever. I've copied and published them here so that you can enjoy and laugh as hard as I did.

faerienne: when I was born on his 6th bday, my mom said happy bday, you have a baby sister, and he said take her back, I want a bike!

Josiah: When my mom was going to announce that she was pregnant with me, she told my sibs that we were getting a new addition. My brother John blurted out "a puppy?!".

The Mother Of All That Is Evil: my middle sister tried to squish my youngest sister "back to where she came from" by sitting on her
and bouncing a lot.

HarmonyGrace: My sister used to tell perfect strangers that Elvis was her dad

tivolimom: we told my little sister that mom found her in the back of an amc gremlin at the salvage yard.

tivolimom: mom wasn't happy

hamster_sandwich: my brother made me believe i was hatched once

insanelark: When I was born & the my mother told the nurse my name, she left to give my mom a chance to think about it. (I'm Jasa)

Lizita: my brothers varied between telling me I was adopted and that I was the first test tube baby.

Being thought we lived at K-Mart and would tell strangers that :/

belsonc: my siblings used to make faces at me when i was on my back in the crib, then slowly move around the crib until they were behind me, making my eyes roll back in my head...

tivolimom: my daughter used to tell perfect strangers that her daddy was at home drunk. again. funny thing? he doesn't drink.

faerienne: my brother told me I was the free one in the buy one get one, and that my parents bought our toilet and found me floating in it when it was delivered

hamster_sandwich: when my dad used to make me mad in public, i'd start yelling 'rape' as loud as i could

tivolimom is ashamed to admit that she taught tivlet the elder to yell 'whoo hoo mama' out the car window.

Lizita: my brothers also used to put clown masks on, turn out all the lights, and chase me around the house.

Lizita: I still remember shuddering in the corner and saying "clowns are nice" and my brother saying "not this clown" right before he attacked.

veranique: my kindergartner son wrote a paper for his teacher that told about our kol new year's party saying that he dressed as a sauceror and his sister was a demon ninja

Josiah admits that he taught his son, albeit unintentionally, to say "I'm going to eat that friggin' dog" one day. Long story.

faerienne: my brother held me in a chair and made me watch the exorcist when I was little, then hid under my bed and shook it, then bit my hand when I had it down beside the bed

Friday, February 10, 2006