Learning Commons Lowdown

December 2014

Multiliteracy Night @Tex Hill

On the evening of December 3rd, 2014, the Learning Commons @Tex Hill Middle School hosted its first Multiliteracy Night in connection with the fall book fair. This evening event was an opportunity for the Tex Hill MS community to learn about the variety of digital resources, multimedia applications, and tech tools utilized on campus to develop their students’ 21st Century Literacy skills. The book fair was also open late that night to accommodate browsing and shopping between sessions.

The Multiliteracy Night menu included four 30-minute sessions in four rotations, so attendees could pick and choose to attend any session in any order.

Learning Commons Librarian Teresa Diaz offered a session titled “Go Beyond Google,” where attendees participated in a scavenger search through the diverse, current, and quality digital resources available 24/7 on any topic/subject for use in homework, projects, research, and general learning. Teachers Caleb Hood and Dan Dolce co-led a session covering ThingLink and other cool Web 2.0 tools for students to use for creating, presenting, and sharing their own content. Instructional Technology Specialist Scott Mayer shared the basics on how Tex Hill students and teachers are utilizing Google Drive and Classroom to collaborate on and share assignments and projects, and NEISD Library Services Coordinator Dee Dee Davenport guided attendees through using OverDrive to download eBooks and audiobooks through the district’s online portal.

The Learning Commons @Tex Hill MS is working on future events such as this one, with plans for a special community night in connection with YALSA’s Teen Tech Week in the spring of 2015. Check out the Learning Commons’ homepage for upcoming events and learning opportunities at http://neisd.libguides.com/welcome_hill_library.

Fall 2014 Book Fair a Royal Success!

Tex Hill's first book fair was a successful event! All reading classes visited at least once, and students were able to come on their own before/after school and during lunches to browse and shop!

The total sales were just over $4,000, which is a decent amount for the size of our current enrollment. The Learning Commons earned 25% profit on the total sales, which will go toward funds for programming, activities and events for students, including makerspace activities this spring.

Multiliteracy in Action: WWII & Holocaust Joint ELAR Project

This November/December, 8th grade students in reading/English engaged in a multi-process research project centered on World War II and the Holocaust as part of a larger curricular unit in both classes.

After immersing in an online exploration experience designed by LC Librarian Ms. Diaz, students self-selected topics or focus areas to then develop their own essential questions and guide their research through their reading/ACL classes. Students used their NoodleTools accounts to cite sources and develop digital notecards to synthesize their ideas.

Their research culminated into expository essays using Google Drive (English) or into persuasive speeches using VoiceThread (Pre-AP English). On January 8, 8th graders will have the lucky opportunity to hear guest speaker Anna Rado, a Holocaust survivor.

To learn more about the project, visit the WWII/Holocaust project guide (PW: war).


Tex Hill will host author Gordon Korman on May 7th!

All faculty and students are encouraged to read at least ONE of Korman's books before he visits! Stay tuned for more promotional activities before then!

Resource Spotlight: TuvaLABS

TuvaLABS seeks to educate students about data literacy. The creators of the site are supporters of the open data movement and believe that it can be used to teach students analysis, interpretation, and visualization skills.

The open access datasets that TuvaLabs provides come from NYC Open Data. These datasets are organized into four major categories: community, development, culture, and sports. Each dataset is accompanied by activities for teachers to use in the classroom. The activities consist of four questions that students can answer by using graphing tools to help them visualize the data. For each activity, the site displays the type of data skills that students will learn. Teachers and students can sign up for free access.

Relevant Data Interpretation TEKS for Science, Math, Social Studies, ELAR

TuvaLABS Slideshare

About TuvaLABS

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Article Resource: Smithsonian Tween Tribune


The Smithsonian hosts four daily news sites:

TeenTribune, TweenTribune,TTEspañol and TTJunior –where you'll find the most compelling, relevant and interesting news for 55 million kids in K-12 and their 3.5 million teachers.

Check out this piece about cyberbullying for a timely example of the types of articles available.

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Google-friendly Tools to Try: Screencastify & Movenote

The Google Chrome Store recently added these 2 great extensions/apps for converting a static project into a dynamic multimedia video--AND they work on Chromebooks!

Screencastify: A simple video screen capture software (aka. screencast recorder) for Chrome. It is able to record all screen activity inside a tab, including audio. Students can use this to narrate their own Google slides, or demonstrate how to use a site or any other digital document.

Movenote: Present docs, slides and more as a video. Add your favorite content from whatever source you want, and record video alongside to it with your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Get Your Learning Commons T-Shirt!

FRONT of Shirt: LC Logo with graphic of Tex Hill saying: "Where learning takes flight!"

BACK of Shirt: Quotation by Leonardo da Vinci: "Learning never exhausts the mind."

COLOR: Columbia Blue

COST: $15

Sizes: S - M - L - XL - XXL - XXXL

100% Cotton pre-shrunk

Make CHECKS out to: Tex Hill Middle School

T-Shirt Order Form