Random Thoughts on a Friday, vol. 2

© shoutingforha
1.  I found this drawing the other day in a pile of random papers.  I'm not sure how I missed it before but I think it might make the perfect Christmas card for next year.  

What says Christmas better than a bloody knife wielding snowman with an eye patch.  Ho! Ho! Ho!

2.  All four of the baby robins are dead.  While I don't miss being dive bombed by the mother bird every time we walk out the back door, I am a little sad.  The circle of life can be a bit cruel sometimes.

The mama bird built an especially small nest this year and, as the little birdies grew, there simply wasn't enough room to hold them all.  As a result, three of the creatures fell out of the nest and were most likely snatched by one of the many hawks that circle the skies above our home. 

The fourth bird seemed to be fine when I checked the nest on Wednesday afternoon, but by Thursday morning the nest was empty.  My guess is that the giant Great Horned Owl that I've seen sitting in the trees surrounding my yard plucked the little guy out of the nest during the night.

I am hoping that the robins elect to build their nest in a more secure and secluded spot next year.  Why they though it was a great idea to build their home out in the open, on top of a porch light no less, is beyond me.

3.  My boy starts the dreaded TCAP standardized test today.  Around here it is more commonly referred to as T-CRAP or the Tennessee Child Abuse Program.  As you can tell my child is looking forward to the next four days.

In the past, my boy has never really worried about the test, however, this year is a different story. The state of Tennessee decided to make the test count for 15% of the student's overall grade and a weighty 35% of the teacher's total evaluation, a fact that the principal and teachers have never let the kids forget.

For months, the boy has been coming home saying things like, "If I mess up on the test, they will make me repeat 5th grade again and Mrs. B. will get fired."  In my opinion, that seems like a heavy burden to place on a bunch of elementary students.

I heard a report on NPR the other day stating that the reason for the decision to make the TCAP scores part of the student's overall grade was because the state thought "elementary students weren't taking the test seriously enough."  That may be the case in other counties, but here in our school district, where students generally score in the advanced or proficient range, it seems like overkill.

Despite my feelings, the test must go on.  The hubby and I have done everything we can to put the boy's mind at ease and to alleviate some of the pressure that's been heaped on his shoulders.  I've tried to make sure he has a variety of tasty and nutritious foods to take for lunch and snack and I even picked up an ample supply of bubble gum to be chewed during the test (one of the special privileges granted during TCAP).

I keep reminding the boy that once TCAP is finished, it will be smooth sailing into summer vacation and then 6th grade.  The remainder of the year will be filled with exciting field trips, the 5th grade musical, field day, the 5th grade picnic, the talent show and graduation.  It's going to be a busy month.

4.  The hubby is taking the boy to see Van-Halen in concert tonight.  I wouldn't call either of them super-fans, but the return of David Lee Roth was just too much to pass up. 

I, on the other hand, will be enjoying a quiet evening at home with the old fur-ball.  

What about you, dear readers?  Do you have any exciting plans for the weekend?

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