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Every spring in Texas, STAAR (State of Texas Assessments for Academic Readiness) tests are given to all students enrolled in public school for grades 3-12. The number of STAAR tests your child takes will depend on their current grade. In preparation for Spring and the season of standardized testing, we want to make sure you and your children are as prepared as possible for what is to come.

A Little Bit About STAAR…

The purpose of these standardized assessments is to measure how well each student has learned state curriculum standards in their grade and to determine if they are ready for the next grade. Assessments are taken in the core subjects of mathematics, reading, writing, social studies, and science.

By giving these tests, schools can see if each individual student is getting their educational needs met. Schools, parents, and the community can then come together to ensure that each child is given the best chance at academic success.

Test Preparation Tips…

OMR sheet marking

Photo Credit: Alberto G. from Flickr

Here are some great tips to ensure that your child is ready for STAAR this year:

Know what to expect. Most teachers send home some sort of info about the format, length, and types of questions on each test. Go through this with your child so neither of you are surprised on test day.

Get a good night’s sleep. It is recommended that children get, at the very least, eight hours of sleep. For younger students, 3-6 graders, 10-12 hours of sleep each night is needed for healthy brain function.

Eat a good, healthy breakfast. This is not the morning for sugary cereals or Pop-tarts. Instead, eat yogurt with fruit or granola and toast. Something light that will fill your child up and ensure they are able to focus and not crash after a sugar high.

Be positive and encouraging. These tests cover topics your child has already been taught and should know. If she has a tendency to get nervous, teach her to count to ten slowly or give her deep breathing tips to relax during the test. This simple acronym created by our Texas staff has also been a great help to many students:

I know, I need to know: Read and reread the question for important information.

Try to think of my answer before looking at the choices.

Examine all the choices.

X-out answers I know are wrong.

A  Analyze all answers: Take a closer look at the leftover choices and pick the best one.

Satisfied? No Silly Mistakes: Am I satisfied with my work? Go back and look for silly mistakes.

Be physically prepared. Have pencils, erasers, calculators, paper, etc. all laid out the night before, ready to go when the time is right. If he wakes up feeling poorly that morning, let him stay home. He will be able to retake it at a later date when he is at his best.

Encourage good study habits. If you have helped your child consistently with homework and daily activities, these tests should simply be a review for her. Encourage reading whenever possible and ask him to talk about it often to develop healthy thought processes.

Here at Best Brains, academic success is our passion for each and every child. That is why our Texas learning centers hold classes each year in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics specifically for STAAR test preparation. If you are interested in a little extra test help, please contact us today.

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International Day of Friendship is an initiative which follows the proposal made by UNESCO and taken up by the UN General Assembly in 1997 as per the act - A/RES/52/13, which defined the Culture of Peace as a set of attitudes, valuesand behaviors that reject violence and endeavor to stop conflicts by addressing their root causes with a vision to solve the problems.

However, the resolution of 1998, proclaim the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World from 2001 to 2010 as per the - A/RES/53/25 Act, later the General Assembly recognized that the massive harm and suffering were caused to children through different forms of violence. It emphasized that the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence should be instilled in children through education. The main aim to start this initiation is to make the children learn to live together in peace and harmony; as it will contribute to the strengthen the international peace and cooperation.

The Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace Act - A/RES/53/243 was adopted in 1999 and set 8 areas of action for nations, organizations and individuals to embark on in order to promote a culture of peace to overcome and:

  • sustain economic and social development
  • respect for all human rights
  • make sure equality between women and men
  • advance democratic participation
  • move forward understanding, acceptance, and unity
  • support participatory communication and improve the free flow of information and knowledge sponsor international peace and security

However, the International Day of Friendship is also based on the appreciation of the relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and precious sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world.

We face many challenges in every aspect of our lives,  this type of initiation will always be there for the people to confront them from those challenges. But everyone should be active and help the organizations to understand the actual root causes of such challenges; so that they can be addressed properly and by promoting such initiatives you can help the people you find in trouble.

Defending a shared spirit of human harmony that takes many forms - while the simplest of form is friendship.


What Do People Do?

We see groups or individuals encouraging the governments, and organizations to hold events, activities, and initiatives to promote solidarity, mutual understandingand reconciliation.


In 2011, the United Nations proclaimed International Day of Friendship with the thought that friendship between peoples, groups, countries and cultures can motivate peace efforts and build bridges between communities. While the UN wanted for the day to involve young people, as future leaders to be part of such thought in community activities which include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.


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National Junk Food Day falls on July 21st every year; this day is dedicated to everyone who loves to add junk foods in their daily routine. Junk foods are usually high in fats, salt, sugars and calories. They also contain very little dietary value. While for some of us, every day is Junk Food Day; but for the rest of us, National Junk Food Day is a chance to guiltlessly eat our favorite junk food. So, how many of you out there are waiting for this day?

Eating junk once in a while is good, but as per dietitians, it is not a good task if you love to have it daily. Not only the food which is high in calories will make us sick; the foods that are high in salts, fats, and sugars will harm your health.

Origin of National Junk Food Day

This day was most likely created by a diet conscious individual or perhaps a group of people who desire to eat junk food, with no guilt, at least one day a year.

What do people do on this day?


You can grab anything you wish to eat on this day. There won't be any restriction and you get to eat anything you want and any amount that you would like to as well. Start with donuts to potato chips, candy bars and lollipops, ice cream and milkshakes, jelly beans and much more. Just keep your major goal as to enjoy this day by adding your favorite guilty delights for one day without worrying about all the empty calories you're consuming. But, do remember that tomorrow, however, will be there to remind you to go back to a healthy diet.

Celebrate this day with no guilt..

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Cow Appreciation Day

Emmett Lee Dickinson; Emily Dickinson's third cousin, twice removed -- at her request has set July 15thas Cow Appreciation Day. Being a famous writer he wrote about it in his now-classic poem "A Bovine's simple Fame". This poem inspired the third cousin Emily to pen her own poem "A Clover's simple Fame."




Most people know about Emmett Lee Dickinson’s love towards corn, but only a few know of his appreciation towards cows. While Dickinson was also a great admirer of Gelett Burgess, the poet who wrote a famous poem about the cow - “I never saw a purple cow.”  To pay respect to Burgess, Dickinson penned many poems about cows in the style of Burgess, and established July 15thas “Cow Appreciation Day” this day was originally called “Purple Cow Appreciation Day."

In July 2013, the Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum which is located above the coin-op Laundromat on Dickinson Boulevard in historic Washerst, Pennsylvania; hosted a unique show, "What Rhymes With Purple Cow", which became very famous then.


Cow Appreciation Day is sponsored by the American Library Association, and on July 15th, librarians greet all of their customers with the official Cow Appreciation Day greetings, - Lang may yerlum reek-- which means "May you live long and stay well."

As you pass people on the streets on July 15th, people join with the ALA and greet the passers - by with "Lang may yerlum reek."

A Brief History of Cow Appreciation Day

The "Cow Appreciation Day” was sponsored by the American Library Association and is officially celebrated on July 15th.  However, it is not affiliated with Chick-Fil-A’s unauthorized “Cow Appreciation Day,” which always scheduled on the second Friday of July.

You can see the image of the - The National Headquarters for the American Library Association, proud sponsor of Cow Appreciation Day.  The monument in the front of the building is of Emmett Lee Dickinson, Emily Dickinson's third cousin, twice removed at her request.

This day was established on July 15 as “Cow Appreciation Day” in the late 1800's as a tribute to great poet Gelett Burgess. This holiday was originally dubbed “Purple Cow Appreciation Day,” but the “Purple” was then dropped in 1878 in the midst of an emotional family feud.

There is a story that a few years earlier, Emmett Lee’s cousin Alvina Dickinson, daughter of Merton Dickinson, wedded a wealthy chicken tycoon then Charles “Chic” Fillay, The Fillays own a chain of fried chicken restaurants called “Charlie's Chicken Coop.”  However, Alvina and Charles divorced when Alvina caught Charles in what came to be branded in Washerst and around the country as the “Spring Chicken Scandal."

Out of bad feeling, “Chic” Fillay established “Chicken Appreciation Day” to put a stop to Dickinson’s “Cow Appreciation Day.”  Angry, Dickinson then penned and published the following poem:


However, the above poem became an overnight sensation and incensed the Fillay family. Worldwide press coverage of the family dispute brought Charlie’s Chicken Coop to the edge of financial damage. It forced to change the name of the family business to Chick-Fil-A, Charles Fillay -- in a move to spite the Dickinson family -- it also changed the name and concept of “Chicken Appreciation Day”  and created a rival “Cow Appreciation Day."

At a point, Alvina Dickinson Fillay, one of the founders of the American Library Association, sprang to act by enlisting the help of librarians across the country.  She convinced the ALA to endorse July 15th as the official “Cow Appreciation Day.”  This is the time the libraries planned to organize a variety of events to celebrate the day, some were cow rides for “children of all ages.”  Also, in the 1890s, the Board of Trustees of the ALA,  headquartered in Washerst, inaugurated a spectacular "Parade of the Librarians” on Cow Appreciation Day, a custom that continues to this day.


How Will You Celebrate this day?

Follow the three traditional ways to celebrate Cow Appreciation Day:

  • The Herbivore Way:  Take a cow ride at a local or regional library with your family
  • The Carnivore Way:  Enjoy a juicy steak arrange a family gathering
  • The Omnivore Way:  Ride a cow at the library, Dress up as a cow and you’ll win yourself a free entrée

Did you know?

That Emmett Lee Dickinson invented the Moon Pie?  The Purple Cow Moon Pies Factory; which is the world's leading producer of Moon Pies.

Another great way to celebrate this day is -  Enjoy a Purple Cow Moon Pie!!!

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International Yoga Day

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) onDecember 11th 2014 declared International Day of Yoga. While the International Day of Yoga or commonly and unofficially referred to as Yoga Day, is celebrated annually on June 21stevery year since its beginning in 2015.

By practicing yoga you can keep your mind calm and that helps everyone to concentrate on their daily routine. Yoga is proved to be the best practice to your body and even mind. However, Yoga is a physical or mental, and spiritual practice attributed mostly to India and now it is slowly spread in the world. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his UN address recommended the date of June 21st2017, to be the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares special significance in many parts of the world.

International Yoga Day


The idea of making Yoga day as "The International Day of Yoga" was initially proposed by the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi in his speech at the UNGA, on September 27th2014.

International Yoga Day

Following the above initial proposal, the UNGA held informal consultations on the draft resolution entitled "International Day of Yoga", on October 14th2014, while these consultations were convened by the delegation of India and thus the day was approved to as International day of Yoga.

When did it happen?

On December 11th2014, India's Permanent Representative AsokeMukherji made the first draft resolution in UNGA. The draft text then received broad support from 177 Member States who sponsored the text, and this was then adopted without any vote. While this initiative found support from many global leaders and a total of 177 nations co-sponsored this resolution, which is the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA resolution of such cause.

When proposing June 21stas the final date, Modi said that this date was the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and shortest in the southern hemisphere, having special significance in many parts of the world. However, if you see from the perspective of yoga, the summer solstice marks the transition.

International Day of Yoga

Find Free Workshops In Your City

On the occasion of International Day of Yoga, you will have many events related to yoga in your city, just find an event and go as you will enjoy your time.While these workshops are held for 30 minutes or 90 minutes sessions and you will be guided through a set of practices customized for health, peace, joy, love, success and more.

Benefits of Yoga:

As many of us have a hobby you can make Yoga as the hobby too. Yoga is a best practice to make you calm. It embodies the unity of mind and body, thought and action will be in your control, restraint, and fulfillment, a holistic approach towards health and consciousness will be developed.  Find which Yoga type is good for you a start it today.

International Day of Yoga

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Father’s Day

People in the United States and all over the world are getting ready to celebrate Father's Day on the third Sunday of June. This is a special day to show your love and affection to your dad, plan this day and make it lovely. The contribution of every father is unique in their own ways and we aschildren should be proud to make it more beautiful; so figureout how you are going to celebrate!

What Do People Do?

Father's Day is an occasion to celebrate and mark the contribution that your father has made to your life. Plan this day by sending a great card, gift of something he loves or anything you wish to give him on this special day. While the common Father's Day gifts include sports items, clothing, electronic gadgets, some outdoor cooking supplies or tools for household maintenance.

Father's Day is a relatively modern holiday; so you see different families have a range of traditions. These can range from a simple phone call or greeting card; or throw large parties honoring all of the 'father' figures in a particular extended family. However, father figures include fathers, step-fathers, father-in-laws, grandfathers and great-grandfathers and even other male relatives. So you can do it with your family or invite everyone in a common place and celebrate the day. Before weeks day or in the days before the Father's Day, we see that many schools and weekend schools help their pupils to prepare good handmade cards or small gifts for their fathers.

Father’s Day

Father's Day is not a federal holiday;  organizations, businessesand stores are open or remain closed, just as they are on any other Sunday in the year. While public transit systems run to their normal Sunday schedules. If you are planning to take your father to lunch or dinner then pre-book your table as restaurants may be busier than usual.

Background and Symbols

You have a range of events, which may have inspired the idea of Father's Day. One of these was the start of the Mother's Day tradition in the first decade of the 20th century. Another was a memorial service held in 1908 for a large group of men, many of them fathers, who were killed in a mining accident in Monongah, West Virginia in December 1907.

Happy Fathers Day

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Flag Day

People across the United States celebrate Flag Day on June 14th each year to honor the United States flag and to commemorate the adoption of the flag, which happened on June 14th, 1777, by the declaration of the Second Continental Congress. On the same day, the United States Army also celebrates its Birthday. While Congress adopted "the American continental army" after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole in the year June 14th, 1775.


In 1916, the president of the United States issued a proclamation which officially established June 14th as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was recognized by an Act of Congress. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday. On June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first U.S. state to celebrate the Flag Day as a state holiday, beginning in the town of Rennerdale. New York Statutes designate the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday. While the first and oldest continuing Flag Day parade is in Fairfield, Washington. Beginning in 1909 - 1910, Fairfield has held a parade every year since, with the potential exception of 1918, and then celebrated the "Centennial" parade in 2010, along with some other commemorative events.


On June 14th, 1777, the Continental Congress replaced the British symbols of the Grand Union flag with the latest design featuring 13 white stars in a ring on a blue field and 13 red and white stripes – one for each state. Though it is not convinced, this flag may have been made by the Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross, who was an executive flag maker for the Pennsylvania Navy. while the number of stars increased as the new states entered the Union, but the number of stripes stopped up at 15 and was later came back to 13.

In June 1886 Bernard Cigrand made his first public suggestion for the annual observance of the birth of the flag when he released an article titled “The Fourteenth of June” in the old Chicago Argus broadsheet.  However, the Cigrand’s effort was to ensure that the national observance of Flag Day finally came when President Woodrow Wilson granted a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of the event on June 14th, 1916. Yet, the Flag Day did not become official until August 1949, when President Harry Truman signed the legislation and proclaimed June 14thas Flag Day in 1966. Going forward congress also requested that the President issue an annualproclamation designating the week in which June 14th would be National Flag Week.

Moreover the President was requested to issue a proclamation each year to recall the government officials in the USA to present the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Flag Day; and to advise US residents to observe Flag Day as the anniversary of the adoption on June 14th, 1777, by the Continental Congress of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States.

What do people do on this day

The Flag Day falls within National Flag Week in the United States and this is the time when Americans reflect on the foundations of the nation’s freedom. The flag of the United States represents freedom and has been a lasting symbol of the country’s ideals since its early days. Throughout both events, Americans also remember their loyalty towards the nation, and repeat their belief in liberty and justice and observe the nation’s harmony.

You can see many people in the United States honor this day by displaying the American flag at their homes and everywhere else. Other ways to best observe this holiday include flag-raising ceremonies; school quizzes, Flag Day services;  and essay competitions about the American flag; and in many places you get to see musical salutes; street parades; and awards for special recognitions.

However, the National Flag Day Foundation is one of the famous organizations in the United States which actively participate on this day by coordinating and arranging activities centered on the event and keeping the flag’s traditions active. Following Flag Day is to honor America Days, a 21-day period throughout to Independence Day which isJuly 4th. During this period, people hold public gatherings and activities to celebrate and respect the nation.

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Valentine's Day

Every February 14, is Valentine’s day is celebrated across the world and in the United States. Candies, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this saint, and where did these traditions come from? Let us find out more about this day which is a centuries-old holiday, and came from the ancient Roman rituals to the civilization of Victorian England.

About the legend St. Valentine

About the legend St. Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day and the story of the legend saint are masked in mystery ever time. But, we know that February has long been famous as a month of love, and St. Valentine’s Day.

Several stories are associated with the various Valentines that were associated with this day, and were later added to many martyrologies that include a popular biographic of Saint Valentine of Rome which indicated that he was jailed for performing weddings for soldiers who were prohibited from marrying and for ministering to Christians, who were later victimized under the Roman Empire. According to a legend, during his imprisonment, Saint Valentine healed his jailer’s daughter, Asterius, and before his execution, he wrote her a letter and signed "From your Valentine" as a farewell; this is a famous expression which is still in use today. Though the reality behind the Valentine legends is dark, these stories emphasize his appeal as a kind, heroic and most importantly a romantic figure by the Middle Ages, possibly thanks to this reputation, Valentine has become one of the popular saints in England and France.

What do people do on this day?

Valentine's Day is not a public holiday. Stores, government offices, schools and other organizations remain open as usual. While public transit systems run on their usual schedule. You can see more crowds in the restaurants than usual as many people go out for an evening with their spouse or loved ones. This day is also a very popular date for weddings.

Signs & Symbols

Valentine's Day

The most common Valentine's Day symbols are the heart, items that are coloredin reds, and pictures or models of Angels. Many people gift their loved one's flowers, chocolates, toys and red roses.Cupid is generally portrayed as a small winged figure with a bow and arrow.According to mythology, he uses the arrow to strike the hearts of people. It is a saying that people who fall in love are sometimes said to be 'struck by Cupid's arrow.

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Super Bowl Sunday - Patriots vs. Falcons

Super Bowl Sunday is the day on which the annual championship game for the National Football League is played. It is generallyplayed on the last Sunday in January or the first Sunday in February and is occasionally referred to as a holiday. The 50th annual event, called Super Bowl 50 was played on February 7, 2016. Celebrations for Super Bowl Sunday will classically involve groups of people gathering to watch the game. Both "Super Bowl Sunday" & "Super Sunday" are registered trademarks of the National Football League.


Although it isnot an official holiday, the Super Bowl Sunday is atime when many families and friends gather jointly to watch the game, including those who are not usually football fans. You'll see that all of the sports bars and clubs are busy on this day. It is becoming more common for people to watch the game from home rather than going to a stadium, this is due to the increasing size of home televisions in the United States, as well as the attempts of budget conscious consumers that are trying to save money.

Super Bowl Sunday

Watching the Super Bowl is very popularall over the United States and people wait for this day very eagerly.  Stores are empty during the game, particularly in the regions that arerepresented by the two teams playing in the Super Bowl. The water usage will significantly rise during halftime and after the game, as fans use the bathroom. Many churches cancel afternoon or evening services on Super Bowl Sunday sometimes and hold football themed charitable drives, or bring sermons designed to appeal to male members of the congregation.

On this particular day the NFL executives call for a three-day weekend off in order to letthe fans celebrate the event, and there is a thought to be a loss of productivity in the American work force on the very next day which will be Monday after the event. The game will be shown on the following networkssuch as;CBS, Fox, or NBC. While the game will more often than notoffer the entire day's programming schedule, with unlimited pregame shows, NFL Films retrospectives of the earlier season, and special versions of the Sunday morning talk shows in the morning and afternoon hours foremost into the game. However, the competing networks, due to the severe loss of audience to the Super Bowl celebrations, generally choose to run low-cost counterprogramming events such as reruns, marathons, infomercials, and innovation shows like the Puppy Bowl.

All about Super Bowl 2017 and its location

The Super Bowl 2017 is more commonly known as Super Bowl 51 , and is almost three days away and will feature the AFC champions New England Patriots vs.the NFC Champions Atlanta Falcons. The Super Bowl this season will go back to indoors at Houston's NRG Stadium, as we know that the Super Bowl in 2016 took place in the elements of Northern California and Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium.

super Sunday

The Patriots remain asthe favorites to reach and win Super Bowl 51.Here are the latest odds:

  • Patriots: +130
  • Falcons: +275
  • Steelers: +450
  • Packers: +450

Who will be the performer of this Super Bowl Halftime show in 2017?

Lady Gaga is going to headline the Super Bowl halftime show, or the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl Halftime Show as it will formally be called.It will be Lady Gaga's second time performing on a Super Bowl stage after she sang the national anthem at Super Bowl 50.

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