TEA study guide excerpts for the TAKS test

Study Guide pp 1-131 (open this on a computer or iPad, do not print) before answering questions

Answer Key from pp 140-151 (password protected)


Way back in the earliest days of the world wide web I was entranced with the notion of being able to publish information that could instantly be viewed around the world. This concept still amazes me, though to kids like my daughter it’s as natural as air being available when you breathe.

My first personal web site was created in the mid-90’s and hosted by America Online. I’ve archived it for posterity. For a trip back in time you can check out Spanky’s Spot. You can even read my senior paper for the UT College of Communication: Auteurist Style and Ideological Views in the Beatles Films of Richard Lester.

When my former Order of the Arrow Lodge disappeared in a merger in 1996 I was saddened to see all traces of its history and tradition vanish from the web. So I built a web site to document their emblems that has grown to include far more. Kecoughtan Lodge Emblems and History now includes emblems and history related to Kecoughtan Lodge 463, Chanco Lodge 483 (that it merged with), and Wahunsenakah Lodge 333 (the Lodge resulting from the merger), as well as the Councils they served as well as the Area and Sections they belonged to.



In 1999 I created a simple site as a tribute to my Father, Colonel Arthur Leo Chase. I’ve been pleasantly surprised over the years by email from people who knew and worked with him sharing their stories and memories.


In the Fall of 2000 I was motivated to create a site that would serve as a directory of web resources related to the hobby of collecting Scout patches when a fellow collector posted a message to a mailing list asking for help recovering his bookmarks after a computer malfunction. The Scout Patch Collector’s Base Camp debuted in November of 2000 on Election Day and continues to receive over 1,000 visitors a month.


I was a founding member of Capitol Macintosh, the Austin Macintosh Users Group, and created a new web site for them in 2002. The site was revised a few years ago but you can see my original design courtesy of the awesome Wayback Machine at The Internet Archive. I am especially proud of the Apple buttons that changed color on mouseover!


In 2004 I decided to set up a web server on my 1993 vintage Macintosh Color Classic, so colorclassic.com was born. It’s been online ever since. Uptime has been very good with the exception of power outages caused by spring thunderstorms since it’s in my office at home!


Sometime in the late 90’s I volunteered to take over administration of my neighborhood association web site. At the time it was hosted on a site run by the local newspaper that had the most clunky and frustrating content management system I have ever experienced. I quickly migrated the site to main.org and it lived there for many years until our content outgrew their space requirements so we parted ways amicably and moved to our own dedicated host. The site was originally located at bhna.net but when bartonhills.org became available in January of 2010 we decided to use that domain. The original site was revised from static content to use WordPress in February 0f 2010. You can still find remnants of the prior version on pages like this with the picture of me strolling my then almost one year old daughter in the annual 4th of July Parade.


When my daughter entered sixth grade at Barton Hills Elementary in 2009 she joined the Barton Hills Choir, led by the new music teacher Gavin Tabone who came from Palm School. The Choir rehearsed all summer to prepare for their appearance at the world-reknowned Austin City Limits Music Festival. I volunteered to create a web site to document their accomplishments and provide notices of their upcoming performances. The Barton Hills Choir web site features video, music, pictures, and stories about the choir and receives constant traffic from all around the world. Although my daughter has moved on to middle school  I continue to maintain and update the site as a contribution to our exemplary neighborhood school that is truly the heart of Barton Hills. I am indebted to helpful volunteers, parents, and director Gavin Tabone who provide me with captivating content to keep the site fresh.


ranchochase.com went live in 2006 when I got frustrated with the limitations of Blogger and other online services. Unfortunately it suffers from long periods of neglect while I concentrate on all the other web sites I’m working on.


Also registered in 2006 was readytoswitch.com which I knew would be a domain name that some sharp marketing person would want for a hot new product campaign. I’m still waiting on the offer.


One of my favorite web projects was creating and maintaining a web site for my daughter’s softball team, the South Austin Swinging Bats. The site featured schedules, rosters, season stats, game recaps with photos and spanned two seasons. The site is private but you can view a PDF of a page here to see what it looks like.


I created classicmacs.org in December of 2008 to keep track of my growing collection of classic Macintosh computers and document their restoration.  It also serves as a repository of helpful links to sites I’ve discovered with vital information about vintage Apple products.


My latest effort is VA-OA.org, devoted to documenting emblems and history related to the Order of the Arrow lodges based in Virginia. To date it includes the pow-wows, conclaves, and similar gatherings of the Virginia lodges, but I have high hopes to expand the scope of the content. While I was inducted into the OA in Louisiana (Ouxouiga Lodge 264), most of the Scouting and OA experience occurred when I lived in Virginia, so I enjoy documenting the rich traditions and history of the lodges based there.

That’s all for now; more sites are in the planning and I’ll share them as they debut.

I’ve been tasked with a project related to my the graduation of my daughter’s sixth grade class at Barton Hills Elementary. Part of it involves finding appropriate music. When I’ve done this in the past I’ve had a specific song in mind long before starting the project. This time around I’m just lost. Here’s what I’ve found so far that might work (links are to iTunes previews).

1. All The Way Up – Emily Osment (3:12) – fast

2. At The Beginning – (from “Anastasia”) – 3:36 – slow

3. Do You Remember – Jay Sean (3:30) – medium fast

4. Find Yourself in You – Everlife (Music from Hannah Montana) – fast

5. For Good – Music from “Wicked” (5:06) – very slow

6. Graduation (Friends Forever) – Vitamin C (5:39) – med slow

7. I Believe – Fantasia (5:02) – slow

8. In This Diary – The Ataris (3:50) – fast

9. Make it Shine – Victoria Justice (3:07) – fast

10. Miles Apart – Yellowcard (3:32) – fast

11. Smile – Uncle Kracker – 3:21 – medium slow

12. The Climb (Guitar Intro) – Miley Cyrus – 3:56 – slow

13. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield (4:15) – medium fast

14. U Smile – Justin Bieber (3:16) – slow

15. We Are Tomorrow – Bleach (2:52) slow then fast then slow

16. You Set Me Free – Michelle Branch (3:11) – medium fast

All of these add up to almost an hour of music which is far more than I need or will be allowed to use, so I’m going to have to do some winnowing and editing. What do you think should make the cut?

I recently created a web site for my daughter’s elementary school choir, and selected the open-source publishing system WordPress as the basis for it. It’s been over a year since I first installed WordPress to build ranchochase.com, and I was overwhelmed at the many improvements and additional features that have evolved in such a short time.

I was really amazed at the vast array of plugins that have been written to extend the functionality of an already dynamic publishing system. In particular, the ability to integrate content from other sources like flickr, twitter, and RSS feeds means WordPress can serve as an ideal container for all kinds of remote media.

This makes it ideal for a web site that needs to feature audio, video, and photographs. I am still trying out different ways to present the content, though. I’d dearly love to move away from using a Flash player for the audio – in fact, I’d like to be able to include content without having to worry about the end user having any third party plugins at all. Novice Windows users especially are very reticent about installing software they aren’t familiar with and their OS throws up so many warnings during the process they are actively discouraged from doing so.

So I am eager for the day to arrive when the modern browser alone can handle displaying stylish controls for playing audio, video, and zooming pictures with cool effects like those implemented with highslide or lightbox.

I came across a brand new plugin for wordpress that claims to do just that using HTML5, letting the browser take responsibility for the above tasks but degrading to lightweight Flash players if the browser isn’t able to. It has the catchy name of Degradable HTML5 audio and video plugin and here’s an example of what it can do with an audio link:

Annie Medley


This is what the flash player looks like (borrowed from the WPAudio plugin):
Annie Medley

This is what it looks like if you just insert a song into a WordPress post or page:

I really like the first option but it relies on your site visitor to be using a very recent browser. It also demands two formats of audio for each song (ogg and mp3) since Firefox and Safari look for content in different formats.

You can hardly scan a news source in January of any year without seeing a “best of [insert prior year here] list. I reviewed a few “best of” music lists for 2009 and decided to put together my own list of music released last year that I enjoyed hearing over and over.

Then I realized that some of the albums were actually released in 2008, but took me awhile to become aware of. That kind of delay happens when you aren’t a teenager and have responsibilities other than keeping up with the latest tunes. Anyway, here’s my lists, in no particular order of preference, along with a few comments interspersed along the way for your enjoyment.

Favorite albums of 2009

Barton Hills Choir – Holiday Songs ’09

What can I say other than there’s nothing more uplifting than a children’s choir singing bouncy Christmas songs? I guess in the interest of honest journalism I should disclose my daughter is in this choir. You can download the entire album with a printable cover at the Barton Hills Choir web site.

The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love

This album is one that demands to listened to from start to finish since it tells a story. Both narrative and orchestral, it’s something that has to be experienced to believe. Few people have time or feel compelled to spend it listening to “concept” albums nowadays, but the range of musical styles is vast and the story complex, so each additional listen brings deeper understanding and appreciation. Favorite track: The Wanting Comes in Waves

Demi Lovato – Here We Go Again

So here I have to admit that my daughter’s love of Disney Channel artists has apparently warped my brain or the “Camp Rock” star has talent. I’d like to believe it’s the latter.  Favorites include: Falling Over Me, Here We Go Again and the catchy So Far So Great.

The Leisure Society – The Sleeper

The best record you’ve never heard of. This has been described by some as “British folk,” but ultimately it’s melodic and features a fascinating collection of instruments. Hard to listen to this without relaxing and just enjoying the beautiful harmonies and clever lyrics. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.

Favorite albums of 2008

Priscilla Ahn – A Good Day

This singer has the most amazing voice I have heard in a long, long time. Favorite cuts: Red Cape, A Good Day (Morning Song).

Lenka – Lenka

Another female singer with a voice that captures. This cheerful record is one you can’t help smiling to while listening. Favorite cuts: Trouble is a Friend, Knock Knock, We Will Not Grow Old.

The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing

I first heard the Ting Tings by way of a live NPR broadcast and was knocked over by their energy and hypnotic rhythms. The studio version loses none of the energy and leaves you amazed that all of that sound could come from just two people. Highly recommended. Favorite cuts: Keep Your Head, Shut Up and Let Me Go, That’s Not My Name.