News from GT

January 13th

2016 Passion Project Guide and Due Dates

This week in class students received the Pathway to Passion Guide to the 2016 Passion Projects. Sixth graders will discuss this at greater length next week when Ms. Hanna returns. A copy of the guide can be found on Ms. Hanna's website.


Key Due Dates


  • Week of February January 25th – 29th: Topic Due
  • Week of February 8th – 12th: Five (5) sources due, must include statement of evaluation, and correct MLA citation. See resources on Appendix F
  • Week of February 29th – March 4th: Project Research Summary and Proposal due. See Appendix C
  • Week of April 4th – 8th: Final Checkpoint Due.
  • April 20th: GT Exhibition Project due. Evening Exhibition. Attendance is mandatory.
  • April 21st: Morning Exhibition. Students will miss class.
  • Week of April 25th – 29th: FRED Talk due

Save the Date - April 20th & 21st

Just a reminder that the 2016 Passion Project Exhibition is Wednesday, April 20th from 6:00 - 7:30 pm. Students are required to attend and exhibit their projects. Students will also miss their morning classes on Thursday, April 21st as they exhibit to teachers and their classes.

VEX Robotics Tournament Volunteers Needed

We will host our 2nd VEX Robotics Tournament here on Saturday, January 30th. It takes a lot of volunteers to put these tournaments on. If we are not able to get more adult volunteers, we will no longer be able to host tournaments at Hill Country. Middle and high school student volunteers will be given credit for service hours.


Please visit the online signup to volunteer.

Ms. Hanna out Thursday & Friday

Ms. Hanna will be out Thursday and Friday. She will have little to no internet access until she returns to work on Tuesday, January 19th. Please be aware that there will be a delay in responses to email.

Children's Mental Health Awareness Creative Arts Contest

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and Texas System of Care are proud to announce the 2016 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Creative Arts Contest! Texas elementary, middle and high school students are invited to submit their best work highlighting why Children’s Mental Health Matters.


The three categories for entries are:

  • Creative Writing
  • Poster Art
  • Video Art


Winners in each category will receive special prizes and have their work displayed in the Texas Capitol during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week in May and on both the DSHS and Texas System of Care Websites. All entries must be received by March 1, 2016.


More information can be found here.

Important Dates/Schedule Changes

There is a lot on the calendar for January, which means some schedule changes, cancellations, etc.


Thursday, January 14th

  • Ms. Hanna out.
  • 6th grade classes will go to library with sub for lesson with librarian.
  • No lunches in GT room.


Friday, January 15th

  • Ms. Hanna out
  • Open Door Day and lunches as per usual with sub.


Tuesday, January 19th

  • School-wide PBL all day.
  • No GT Classes Meet.
  • No lunches in GT room.


Wednesday, January 20th

  • 7th grade 2nd period meets.
  • 8th grade classes meet as per usual.
  • No lunches in GT room.


Thursday, January 21st

  • Ms. Hanna out with student presenters at Eanes Elementary Science Day.
  • No GT classes meet.
  • No lunches in GT room.


Friday, January 22nd

  • No Open Door Day due to makeup classes.
  • 7th grade 4th period meets.
  • 6th grade classes meet.
  • No lunches in GT room.


Wednesday, January 27th


  • 6th grade classes meet
  • 8th grade classes meet
  • No lunches in GT room.



Thursday, January 28th

  • Ms. Hanna at district GT Meeting.
  • No GT classes meet.
  • No lunches in GT room.


Friday, January 29th

  • Ms. Hanna out with student presenters at Bridge Point Elementary Science Day.
  • No Open Door Day
  • No lunches in GT room.

Spring Stock Market Game Sign Up

The spring Stock Market Game sign up is available. The spring session will run February 8th - April 15th. Student teams of two to five students may participate. More information can be found on Ms. Hanna's website.


In conjunction with this, we have been invited to participate in the Capitol Hill Challenge for the first time. This is by invitation only. This competition is fourteen weeks, rather than 10 weeks, there are a few more stipulations on portfolio holdings, and the top 10 winning teams in the country will receive:


a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet their Member of Congress and be recognized at an awards reception on Capitol Hill. During their visit, students and teachers will meet with business, government, and education leaders to learn about fiscal policy making, the role of the capital markets, and global economic trends. The winners will also have the opportunity to tour financial landmarks and national monuments.

TEDxYouth@Austin Fast Pitch Competition

Have an entrepreneurial idea? Want to spend three minutes pitching it Shark Tank-style to some of the top business professionals from Austin? If you are a high school or middle school student, here is your chance to make your big idea seen! This year TEDxYouth@Austin Full Circle, in partnership with Entrepreneurs Foundation, will be holding a fast-pitch competition for 20 big ideas.

For this competition, you do not need to have an already formed company or organization. An idea or inspiration is totally great! With only 10 spots left for the pitch competition, it is important to sign up as soon as possible!

Once registered, you will be invited to a workshop to develop and craft your pitch, as well as receive great resources for a future in business and entrepreneurship. This workshop will take place on February 6th at Capital Factory (more details once you're signed up!).

The Fast Pitch will occur during the xLabs portion of the 2016 Full Circle event. You MUST be registered for the full TEDxYouth@Austin event to sign up for the pitch competition. Entrepreneurs from Entrepreneurs Foundation and Capitol Factory will act as judges for the Fast Pitch, as well as help mentor youth! Nervous to apply by yourself? Don't be! Grab a friend and both of you sign up!

TEDxYouth@ Austin 2016

Uniquely designed to engage, excite and connect Austin’s most curious high school and middle school students, TEDxYouth@Austin invites you to dive into important and inspirational topics with highly successful doers + thinkers; to be entertained by passionate performers; and to directly experience a wide range of one-of-kind opportunities in the truly interactive xLabs with students from all over the city.

Each year a theme guides the work of the TEDxYouth@Austin team, and this year they will explore all the meanings of Full Circle — connecting big ideas across time, geography, generation and discipline — often in surprising ways.


To learn more, you can visit the TEDxYouth@Austin site.


This year's event is Saturday, February 13th, from 1:00 - 5:00 at Westlake High School. As always, this event is free to attend. There are a limited number of spots for both students and adults, so register now.