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Friday, October 31, 2014

Comic: Anno Dracula by Kim Newman

Looking for a good book?  Try reading this comic-style book talk of Anno Dracula, by Kim Newman.
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Student Review: This Song will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

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A girl named Elise Dembowski tries to change herself growing up as a child so that people will like her. She tried everything--reading magazines searching the web--but still no one seemed to like her. One day, she decides she wants to kill herself so she finds her father's Exacto knife on the table and goes to the bathroom and slits her wrist. People then made a website or a diary. Later she discovers a club named Start and meets new people where she feels she can get away from school when she's around them. She also falls in love with a DJ and later starts DJing herself. Later in the book, she realized the girl who called the ambulance saved her life because she did not want to die - that nothing in her life would have happened if she wasn't alive. Another thing she realized is that changing yourself to become someone you're not is not going to get you anywhere because people will not like you either way because they will always want you to be someone you're not. I recommend this book because it is a life changing book, and it has some parts of the book that are involved with people's lives. You would like this book if you like stories or life events.

- Esperanza, RRHS Student

Monday, October 27, 2014

2014 Coins for Coats Drive

Winter Is Coming.

Even though the mercury still flirts with 90 here in the fading days of October, rest assured: winter is coming. But long before the longest night of the year marks the start of the sidereal season, temperatures will drop. And even if we can be reasonably certain that our Haunnukawaznsmas won’t be white, it won’t be long before the winds howl and any chance of precipitation makes weekday mornings a vigil awaiting a school delay or cancellation. Fortunately, most will be well-insulated at the bus stop or hustling between buildings by toasty winter gear: dashing scarves, cute earmuffs, stylish gloves, and most of all, a warm, weather-busting coat.

But not all will be so snug as bugs in proverbial rugs.

Some will feel the bite of the wind and any polar vortices that spin our way more than they should. We can, however, do something about that: this
Coins for Coats drive is in its final few days, but you can still help! Along with the rest of your 6th period class, shake the sofa cushions and entreat your friends and neighbors to help raise funds to purchase coats to be distributed through the Round Rock Area Serving Center to RRISD students who need them. In the process, earn an entry for a drawing to win a donut party for your class (and an Amazon gift card for your beloved instructor) for each $10 y’all raise.

- RET3, Guest Blogger

Friday, October 24, 2014

Comic: Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell

Looking for a good book?  Try reading this comic-style book talk of Monster on the Hill, by Rob Harrell.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Video: I Kinda AM Batman

Texas Book Festival: October 25-26

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The Texas Book Festival was established in 1995 by then First Lady Laura Bush and Mary Margaret Farabee to honor Texas authors, promote the joys of reading, and serve to benefit the state’s public libraries. This annual celebration is one of the premier literary events in the country, takes place in and around the State Capitol in Austin, and hosts hundreds of authors each year. Participants enjoy author readings and presentations, panel discussions, book signings, cooking demonstrations, live music, local food, and exhibiting vendors from across the state. Moreover, the festival, a nonprofit corporation, is a 501(c) (3) organization that has partnered with others to present quality programming to Texans and has donated more than $2 million to Texas libraries over the years.

For more information, visit the festival's web site and stay abreast of news via the Lit Blog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Texas Teen Book Festival: Saturday, October 18, 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM

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This year marks the 5th anniversary of the Texas Teen Book Festival which began its life in 2009 at Westlake High School under the guise of the Austin Teen Book Festival and has, since then, grown to such excess that it was moved from the high school, to the Palmer Events Center, to the Austin Convention Center, and now to its newest home--St. Edward’s University. The festival aims to foster "a community effort to celebrate and promote reading and writing by connecting teens to local and award-winning authors, whose writing spans across genres and interest levels."  

This year's keynote speaker is James Dashner of The Maze Runner fame, the featured author is Scott Westerfeld, the gameshow headliner is Marie Lu, and the closing speaker is Lauren Oliver.  Moreover, there are lunch speakers and a blackout poetry writing workshop in addition to panel discussions.  In short, Saturday's festival promises to be the best yet.  For more details, click HERE

Student Review: Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden, ctd.

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This 17 year old boy, who lives in an orphanage with these nuns, is constantly getting himself into trouble with fights at school and associating with the wrong kinds of people. Unfortunately, he's about to turn 18 and doesn't have the option of staying at the orphanage any longer but with a caretaker who sees his ability to become a professional boxer, a friend who wants to expand his not so legal business, and a teacher who sees his talented writing, his options are piling up. I would recommend this book more towards boys because it comes from the perspective of a boy. But also with a bit of romance involved, the girls could enjoy seeing the view point from a boy's perspective. You would like this book if you like… The Probability of Miracles.

- Estrella, RRHS Student

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Student Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

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May 1943, Louis Zamperini and the rest of his crew were hurtling straight towards the waters of the Pacific Ocean, trapped inside the burning shell of a heavily damaged B-24 bomber. Seconds later, impact. Louis and the others in the crew fought to get another breath of air, untangling themselves from the coils of wires and escaping from shards of metal. Only Louis and two others survived.

So began the trials of Louis Zamperini. As a child, he was a mischievous boy, burglarizing homes, running away from his own home, and always getting into fights. As a teen, he transferred all his defiance into something new: running. He ran his way through high school, setting records, earning a scholarship to USC in track, and qualifing for the Berlin Olympics. A prodigy, Louis made headlines across the nation calling attention to the young man’s success. It wouldn’t last.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, America was at war. Headlines and spotlights shifted away from Zamperini and focused on the ever-growing conflict of World War II. The Oslo Olympics were cancelled, and Louis had nothing to run for. Within the next few weeks, Lieutenant Zamperini enlisted to serve in the Armed Forces, leading to his dire situation, floating at sea on a small raft.

Thousands of miles of water surrounded Louis and the two others that had survived. As the days at sea went by, the machine gunner of the plane wilted, and died. It was just Louis and the plane’s pilot, known as ‘Phil’, left. They knew that one of them was next. After 47 days in the open waters, they were on a ship, sailing to shore. But it wasn't the salvation they so dearly wanted; the ship flew the Japanese flag, and it was headed to a Prisoner of War camp.

Follow Louis on a true World War II story of suffering, perseverance, courage, and the quest to remain Unbreakable.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read. It is a very compelling story, and is written extremely well. It keeps the reader turning pages from beginning to end. The story in very inspiring as well, telling the tale of a man who has cheated death on countless occasions and persevered through the toughest of time to stay alive. It also educates the reader passively, taking the reader through the happenings of the war without boring them. It is a wonderful book, and is pretty much a must-read. You would like this book if you like… adventure and compelling stories. Also, it is a very inspirational book, and can certainly inspire you to persevere.

- Adithya, RRHS Student

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Student Review: The Sacrifice by Charlie Higson (Enemy Series #4)

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The Sacrifice is the fourth science fiction book in Charlie Higson’s The Enemy series. All of the books are set in a messed up world where all of the adults turn into zombie-like people that have a tendency to eat children. The Sacrifice is about children that live in London that try to survive in this world. Most of the children have formed independent groups that live together in a building, including the House of Parliament, a furniture store, or a museum, in order to survive isolated from the diseased adults. The main characters are Shadowman, Ed, Sam, and the Kid. They live in modern day London, and there is a disease that makes all of the adults want to eat children. The Enemy series is about the children trying to survive in this diseased world. Despite Ed’s protests, Sam and the Kid try to find Sam’s sister, Ella. Sam and the Kid go through the “forbidden zone” , which is full of diseased adults, to find Ella. After Ed finds out that Sam and the Kid have left, he enters the “forbidden zone” to try and find him. Meanwhile, Shadowman follows and elite group of zombies, called The Fear, to try to learn more about them. Shadowman attempts to warn other kids about how dangerous The Fear is, but no one listens to them. I would highly recommend this book. Higson kept the reader interested in the book at all times. There was never a point in the book where it was boring. After one group of adults attack Ed and his gang, another army of adults attack them. When Ed tries to escape the massive wave of vicious children-eating monsters, more adults block his exit. Every time Ed and his small army manage to conquer one obstacle, something else stands in their path. No matter how many adults Ed kills, more take their place. The Sacrifice is like a never-ending roller coaster. The action never stops. There are more than enough “zombies” to entertain the reader.

In addition to writing an action-packed book, Higson did a tremendous job of developing his characters. At times, the stupidity of the children will make the reader want to laugh out loud. Ed is smart and vicious when he is on a killing spree. On the other hand, Sam is hilariously dumb and could not kill a zombie to save his life. Without the Kid and the Kid’s quick thinking, Sam would be dead after the first few pages. Another character, Mad Matt, is another entertaining character. He has invented a stupid religion. Matt believes that the “Lamb”, who looks suspiciously like Sam, is a God, and shall save all of the children when the “Goat,” who looks like the Kid, is sacrificed. Matt has managed to convince hordes of kids that he is correct even though he is nuts. You would like this book if you like…fast-paced books with tons of blood and gore .

- Duy Nguyen, RRHS Student

BIMM, DIMM, and PIT -- Oh My!

Mrs. Pavone and Mrs. Taylor, our campus librarians, used a combination of different technologies to introduce the logistics of digital copyright protection to students in BIMM, DIMM, and PIT.

This lesson marked the maiden voyage of the iPads that the library received as part of the Next Generation Digital Classroom (NGDC) initiative. Mrs. Pavone and Mrs. Taylor combined the tablets with Blendspace, Google Drive, and WeVideo to provide a lesson that not only engaged the students but also allowed teachers to differentiate the instruction to meet students’ needs. Finally, because the entire lesson was platform agnostic, using online tools, students were able to work at their own pace...beyond the confines of the physical classroom...from anywhere they had Internet access.

Many students commented that they enjoyed the lesson and thought it was a lot better than last year’s, which was not nearly as interactive nor heavy in technology.