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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

December is coming...

Student Review: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Image from RRHS Catalog

Frey recounts his six-weeks in rehab. His story is full of discovering new friendship, love, and hope. Readers will experience an emotional roller coaster as they read and, by the end, will feel grateful for taking the ride. You would like this book if you like…intense drama like Monster, Breaking Night, and A Child Called It.

- Abby, RRHS Student

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hour of Code

With tears streaming down my face, I delivered the bitter-sweet news, choking on the explanation. I’d been accepted into an internship program for the next year--my senior year--and would have to forgo the second year of Computer Science in order to be a student intern for a French and English teacher at a nearby middle school.

“But Christina, this is what you want: To teach. French and English. At high school. You’ll get to test-drive your dream before committing money and years to study, perhaps only to realize that you’d rather do something else” Mr. Schram reasoned.

“But I’ve successfully written more lines of code than any of the boys in class! Plus, I’d planned to be your lab assistant during my off period.” The strained silence persisted until, accepting what I knew to be true, I meekly excused myself and walked away.

Being the daughter of an engineer with 26-years at Texas Instruments, I grew up learning to use a computer at a time when 8 megabytes of RAM was an impressive amount of memory. Smart phones, tablets, and wearables were the stuff of science fiction. People didn’t take their computers to the Genius Bar to be repaired because most people didn’t even have a computer. Daddy and his colleagues WERE the Geek Squad, and repairs were negotiated through bartering, creating an elaborate economy of favors. This was my ordinary world, and it is only recently, as a seasoned educator, that I’ve realized that I was privileged.

Computers are now everywhere, used by everybody, everyday. While using them is all but unavoidable, a deep understanding and knowledge of Computer Science is not, and the stereotypical Geek Squad of old is in need of a makeover to better include women, minorities, and anyone for whom a lucrative high-tech career might seem like a distant dream:
  • Women who try AP Computer Science in high school are ten times more likely to major in it in college, and Black and Hispanic students are seven times more likely.
  • A computer science major can earn 40% more than the average college graduate.
  • Computing jobs are the #1 source of new wages in the United States. These jobs are in every industry in every state, and they’re projected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs.

Hour of Code originated as a humble sixty-minute introduction to computer science, demonstrating that anybody can learn the basics. It has since grown into a global Computer Science Education Week event supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators.

No participant in Hour of Code will go from novice to expert programmer in the span of an hour. But between December 5th and 11th 2016, she can get a taste, a glimpse, an inkling of what she could do and say “Hello World” to something new.

Comics: The Best Written Medium Ever!!!

Comic from

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Comic: Steve Lichman, volume 1

Comic from

Student Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Image from RRHS Catalog

Violet Markey and Theodore Finch meet on the ledge of the bell tower of their school, both contemplating suicide, in the novel All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Finch, who has long been labeled a freak by his classmates, recognizes Violet’s pain as she tries to deal with the loss of her sister in a car accident. Finch, meanwhile, struggles against a mental illness where he is one moment on top of the world and the next in a depression so deep he can’t even leave his house. Themes of dealing with death and loss, the stigma of mental illness, bullying, and the power of love are all addressed through the course of the novel in which these two teens try to help one another through problems bigger than they are. A person with a mental illness or who has overcome a mental illness would find a beautiful connection to this book.

- Emily, RRHS Student

Student Review: Beowulf, Translated by Seamus Heaney

Image from RRHS Catalog

This book tells the story of a prince, traveling through the ocean blue in search of the most terrifying creatures. He comes across a town that is being attacked by an evil monster. He does the town a favor by slaying it. Thinking that the problem was over, but they did not know that the beast had a mother who swore revenge on whomever killed her child. You would like this book if you like… action-packed, medieval books.

- Saul, RRHS Student

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Comic: Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team by Daniel O'Brien

Looking for a good book? Check out this comic-style book talk of Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team by Daniel O'Brien.

Comic from

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016

As I sat at my desk—a deer in the headlights—I blinked confusedly as the faceless teacher bore down on me, trying to make sense of what she was saying.  In a sandpaper voice that belied her 26 years, she’d caught me mid-flight and demanded an answer.  Electricity ran down my back.  I immediately started to avoid eye contact, looking at the plain walls with no decoration all around the room and hoping that she would not force a response.  The loudly ticking clock seemed to mark not only the passage of time but also the dramatic increases in temperature. Suddenly, I heard my name being called.  Fear rushed through me again, and I began to tremble.  What would everyone think when I say that I don’t know.  You’re stupid!  Why don’t you pay attention?  You’re hopeless!  With that in mind, I whispered, “I do not know this NaNoWriMo.”

50,000 words. 30 Days. 1,667 words per day.

November 1, 2016 marked the 18th year of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This annual celebration is the largest writing event in the world - with an expected participation of nearly 500,000 people to start a 50,000-word novel, guided by this year’s theme: Your Novel, Your Universe.

Last year, NaNoWriMo boasted...
  • 431,626 Participants
  • 633 Regions
  • 6 Continents
  • 40,000+ participants who met the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month

This year, not only can participants receive weekly inspirational messages and mentorship from well-known published authors, but also NaNoWriMo unveils a brand new website for its Young Writers Program (YWP). Students will be able to draft their novels and track their progress directly on the site as well as use the inspiring resources that are provided. In addition, teachers have access to virtual classroom spaces to facilitate the program, free Common Core-aligned curricula, student workbooks, classroom resources, and virtual classroom tools. Furthermore, NaNoWriMo sends out 2,500 free classroom kits each year to help teachers offline as well. Finally, with the help of local businesses, libraries, and community centers, 930 Municipal Liaisons will coordinate hundreds of local, in-person writing events throughout the world.

Up until a few few years ago, I’d never even heard of NaNoWriMo, but with those six words, I was awakenedunderstanding that help was available if only I was willing to ask for it. So whether you’re an aspiring writer or just looking for a outlet for your creativity...tell your story. Write your novel. Build your universe!

Wondering how to survive this challenge, now that you’re committed? Check out Trent Cannon’s advice.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Student Review: It by Stephen King

Image from RRHS Catalog

This novel is written by one of the greatest authors of all time, Stephen King.  This book is packed with a tremendous variety of suspenseful, thriller, and horror scenes. The unknown It is a clown who haunts and kills little kids who wander off by themselves. The clown is a creepy creature killing machine who haunts these kids all their lives. They soon come to defeat him once and for all!
You would like this book if you like… suspense, horror, and thrillers.
- Antonio, RRHS Student