News From GT

December 18th

Thank you

It's hard to believe that an entire semester has already passed (and that we all survived SSEP!). Thank you so much to the GT community of students and parents for making me feel so welcome and being so supportive. I am very happy to be here.

I hope that everyone has a fun and relaxing break and is able to make great memories.

Thank you,

Ms. Hanna

6th Grade GT Field Trip January 13th

On Tuesday, January 13th, 6th grade GT students from West Ridge and Hill Country will visit the Chemistry department at UT for a chemistry demo. Afterward, we will go to the food court at Dobie Mall. The 7th and 8th grade GT students assure me that they loved this field trip.

The students will meet in my classroom at the beginning of 1st period. We will take attendance and begin loading the bus. We will go to UT, view the demonstration and walk to Dobie Mall, weather permitting. Otherwise, we will ride the bus. Students should wear appropriate footwear for walking around campus, and bring a coat if the weather requires it.

Food options at Dobie Mall include:

Hoa Hoa (Chinese & Vietnamese)

Burrito Factory

Conscious Cravings

Niki's Pizza

Oma's Kitchen (Korean & Japanese)

Oishi Japanese Fusion

Flip Jack Crepes


Verts Kebap

Students should bring money to purchase lunch. We will return to campus in time for the beginning of 6th period. Students should meet with their 1st - 5th period teachers prior to the field trip to discuss missed work.

Permission forms will be distributed after the winter break.

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Save the Date: Opera Night January 22nd

Once again, the Eanes ISD middle school GT Students will have the opportunity to attend a performance of the Austin Lyric Opera. As part of the Access Opera program, we will have the opportunity to attend the final dress rehearsal of Romeo & Juliet on Thursday, January 22nd, at 7:00 PM.

The performance will be in French with English subtitles. The week prior to Opera Night, a docent from the Austin Lyric Opera will visit to educate students about this particular program.

Students are asked to "dress up" for the opera. I will have hanging racks in my classroom for students to leave clothes on during the day. After school, they may work on homework and change.

At 5:00, we will have a catered Italian dinner from Mandola's in the cafeteria. There will be vegetarian and gluten free options available. Look for an online ordering form in January. Additionally, we will ask parents to donate drinks and provide tablecloths for the evening. We will also need parent volunteers to assist with set up and serving of dinner. Look for an online sign up in January.

At 5:45, we will board buses and head to the Long Center. The performance will begin at 7:00 and end at approximately 10:00. Afterward, we will board the buses and return to Hill Country. Students will be encouraged to call and/or text their parents from the bus to alert them to the arrival time.

The cost for this evening will be $20/student. This will cover both the cost of catering and bus fees. Additionally, students may bring money to purchase drinks and/or snacks at intermission. Permission slips will be distributed in January after the break.

Unfortunately, there are boys and girls basketball games that night, so those students will not be able to participate. At this point, no other conflicts exist on the HCMS calendar.

HCMS Hour of Code Recap

Last Friday, HCMS participated in its first "Hour of Code." Over 250 students attended throughout the day, some multiple times.

Some of the comments shared included:

  • Coding is a fun way to learn about computer technology. I like it because it helped me realize it's not as hard as I had thought it was.
  • Awesome! I thought it was really boring but I really enjoyed it.
  • Coding is something that I have been doing ever since summer but I haven't been able to practice since school started. So far the curriculum is fun and it explains things better than digital media academy.
  • One of the best things I have done
  • Fun and educational.
  • A lot of work but still fun.
  • Not as hard as it looks.

Mrs. Flood and Ms. Hanna are planning to offer more opportunities for students to explore coding (and possibly robotics) in the spring.

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UIL Sign Ups Are Available

Students may sign up to try out for the UIL Academic Competition Teams on the bulletin boards outside the cafeteria. Students may try out for up to 12 events, but can only participate in 1 or 2.

Events and Coaches

Chess Puzzles: Chris Lofgren (Rm. 406)

Ready Writing: Rhoni McClennahan (Rm. 313)

Number Sense: Avi Fisk (Rm. 211)

Mathematics: Krista Bradham (Rm. 507)

Calculator Applications: Tyson Dobinsky (Rm.304)

Listening: Crystal Boyd (Rm. 301)

Spelling: Kristen Vengler (Rm. 505)

Oral Reading: Pam Friday (Drama Room)

Maps, Charts & Graphs: Larry Embrey (Gym or Rm. 402)

Music Memory: Matthew Beebe (Rm. 108)

Dictionary Skills: Amber Funderburgh (Rm. 303)

Social Studies: Laura Haneman (Rm. 215)

Art: Kathie del Hierro (Art Room)

For questions about a specific event, please see the coach of the event. For general questions about UIL and the competition, you can view the information PowerPoint here, or contact Ki-Mi Fields, UIL Coordinator.

Sixth Grade: There are lots of spots open for Mr. Beebe's Music Memory event!

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Join the Teen Programs at the Thinkery, the new Austin Children's Museum!

You are invited to fill out the application form, located below, to be a Volunteen Trainee at the Thinkery.

If selected, you must commit to completing 100 hours of volunteer service between Spring 2015-Spring 2016. This commitment consists of 40 hours of training/volunteer service over a Spring Session, which requires an additional 60 hours throughout the following year (based on applicant’s availability).

It is mandatory all selected Trainees attend all required and assigned dates of selected program if accepted into the program. Participants who commit to continuing their service beyond their service may become eligible for paid employment.

Volunteen Application: Weekend crew, Spring 2015
To fill it out, visit:
Deadline: 5pm on January 14, 2015
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TEDx Youth at Austin

TedxYouth@Austin will be held February 14, 2015 at the Westlake High School Performing Arts Center. Doors will open at noon, and the closing party is from 6:00 to 7:00.

What is TEDxYouth@Austin?

A group of youth and adult speakers and performers are coming together to share their “ideas worth spreading;” TEDxYouth@Austin is an annual forum created to bring high school and middle school students from the central Texas area into the TEDx movement. With engaging stories, inspiring performances, and intriguing presentations, we will explore the theme of (in)visible. Learn more about the theme here!

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxYouth@Austin, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxYouth@Austin event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.


Registration for TEDxYouth@Austin is now open. Click here to register. Registration is free, but the organizers ask that all attendees volunteer 4 hours of their time to the organization of his/her choice prior to the event.

A great way to volunteer is to sign up to volunteer at the HCMS FLL Robotics Tournament this Saturday.