Advanced Academic Services is part of the Austin Independent School District. This blog provides information, activities, and events regarding advanced academics and high ability children and teens. Smart without compromise. Potential without limits.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Free Winter PopUp Library 12/16/2016-01/02/2017

Free Winter PopUp Library provides 650 eBooks for PreK-8 during the winter break courtesy of Fable Learning. Books available in English and Spanish and have a read aloud available. All books stream over the Internet. No check-in or check-out required. No user identification or registration required. To get started go to Everyone loves a good book!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

High School Student Startup Competition

SXSWedu Expo
March 6-9, 2017
A Free Event for Learners of All Ages

Apply Now for the Student Startup Competition »

Student Startup Competition
powered by LaunchGen

All Central Texas high school students are eligible to apply. Selected finalists will pitch their startup idea on the NEXT Stage in the Expo for a chance to win $1,000. Learn more.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Critical Thinking Skills

One of the “buzz” words in today’s education is critical thinking. Teachers are encouraged to have their students use critical thinking skills throughout the day across all disciplines and content areas. Critical thinking skills are vital to the success of your children in the classroom, on standardized tests, and in real-world applications. How can parents, grandparents, and others help their youngsters improve critical thinking skills?

Here are a few examples of easy things you can do with your children to enhance their critical thinking skills:
Ask open-ended questions. Asking questions that don't have one right answer encourages children to respond creatively without being afraid of giving the wrong answer. Try answering a question with a question!

Categorize and classify. Classification plays an important role in critical thinking. This type of thinking requires identification and sorting according to a rule, or set of rules, that kids must discover, understand, and apply. If you play classification games at home, be sure to follow up the activity with questions about the similarities and differences between the groups. You can sort everything from dirty laundry to Legos to produce to doll clothes in order to promote critical thinking.

Make decisions. Help your child consider pros and cons, but don't be afraid to let them make a wrong choice. Ask your child, "How do you feel about your decision? What would you do differently next time?" Evaluating their decisions and discussing these decisions validates your support of their thinking process.

Find patterns. Whatever you're doing, whether it's going to the park or watching television, encourage your child to look for patterns or make connections for critical thinking practice. For example, relate a favorite television show to a real-life situation. Or, while driving in the car, have your child identify different shapes in roads signs and in the windows and roofs of passing houses. 

Whether you are driving in the car, or talking with your child around the kitchen table, we encourage you to discover new ways to think critically with them. Critical thinking is not just a “buzz” word, but a life skill that will serve children well in school and in the future.

Adapted from: 

Check out our November GT Family Activity: Problem Solving Iconic Austin!  It is not too late to participate.  Simply email

Monday, October 24, 2016

Problem Solving through Iconic Austin

Family Fun Event!

  • Who: AISD GT students and their families
  • What: Explore iconic Austin using riddles, logic and problem solving skills
  • When: Any time between November 3, 2016 and December 9, 2016
  • Where: Online and around Austin
  • Why: To enjoy problem solving together as a family
  • How: Send an email stating your family would like to participate to:

An email will be sent to you with a link to the online list of activities and instructions. Complete at least two activities and email photos of your family in action completing the activities by December 9, 2016

Sponsored by: Austin ISD Advanced Academics Team

  • Quién: Estudiantes de AISD GT y sus familias
  • Qué: Explorar iconic Austin con acertijos, lógica y habilidades para resolver problemas
  • Cuando: Cuando entre el 03 de noviembre de 2016 y el 09 de diciembre de 2016
  • Dónde: En línea y alrededor de Austin
  • Por qué: Para disfrutar juntos como una familia de problemas
  • Cómo: Enviar un correo electrónico indicando su familia le gustaría participar en:
Un e-mail será enviado a usted con un enlace a la lista en línea de las actividades y las instrucciones. Completar al menos dos actividades y fotos de su familia en acción completando las actividades de 09 de diciembre de 2016 por correo electrónico

Patrocinado por: Académicos Avanzados de AISD

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Critical and Creative Thinking

Have you ever wondered, “How can I teach my children to think critically and creatively?” These important skills can be learned at a very young age and be enhanced throughout life. There are many methods of teaching critical thinking, and we encourage both parents and teachers alike to employ these strategies. Some helpful strategies are:

  • Don’t immediately answer every question from your child. Sometimes it’s fun and builds thinking skills to answer a question with a question! Give your child the opportunities to problem solve their own answers to their questions. Ask your child open-ended questions, and think with them.
  • Provide plenty of opportunities for your child to explore and discover new ideas and experiences. Pretend play and discovery often lead to creative and critical thinking.
  • Encourage multiple answers to questions or unique and different avenues to find answers to questions.

As your child grows, learn to help them grow their thinking as individuals and include the family in thinking activities. For more information on this topic, check out the following articles and websites:

Have fun thinking with your child!

Cyd Rogers
Austin ISD Advanced Academics Team
State Director Texas Future Problem Solving Program

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

United States Senate Youth Program - Due 10/15/2016

Texas will select two student leaders as delegates (and two alternates) who will join others from across the nation in Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long educational program. Delegates will be immersed in leadership activities and interact with high-level officials, hearing major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials of the Departments of State and Defense, as well as other federal agencies. The program is sponsored by the Hearst Foundations, who fund all delegate expenses for Washington Week (transportation, hotel, meals). Each delegate is also awarded a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship, with encouragement to pursue careers in public service.
Please see the Texas Education Agency (TEA) USSYP webpage for more information:
Application due date: October 15, 2016
For more information about this program, please contact Kelly Ocasio by email at or by phone at 512-936-6060.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

NaNo Prep for NaNoWriMo: Plan for It!

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) nears! Check out your imagination and write a novel in November. NaNo Prep for it in the months of September and October. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Free Gaming Workshop - 9/17/2016

Free Gaming Workshop by Beta
Presented by Black Women in Computing
September 17, 2016
Free. Application to participate required.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hacks for Study Skills

Check out these Austin ISD Advanced Academics' Smores promoting positive study skills! Make some goals to start the year out right!

Study Habits







Memory and Learning Strategy

Monday, July 18, 2016

Austin ISD Back to School Bash - 8/06/2016

Austin ISD Back to School Bash

August 6, 2016
9 a.m.–Noon
Palmer Events Center
Free shuttles at locations throughout the city.
  • Presentations on safety and education, nurses from Dell Children’s/AISD Health Services will provide free vaccinations (families must present student shot records), and Kids Vision for Life Central Texas may be providing free vision exams and eyeglasses.
  • Free backpacks! Austin ISD students must be present to receive a free backpack filled with school supplies, while supplies last.

For more information, please contact Elsa Perez at
or 512-414-1771. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Google+ Maker Camp - Online Summer Camp

Maker Camp is a free, online community for young Makers interested in DIY, making, creating, crafting, hacking, tinkering, and learning. It combines the best parts of camp and with sure-fire starter projects, so that young Makers across the country and the world can make together. More information at

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Slowing the Summer Slide

Looking to slow down the summer slide and keep your children's brains learning? Check out this series from Austin ISD's Advanced Academics.
Part 1:
Part 2:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

#gtchat Summer Schedule

#gtchat powered by TAGT  on Tuesdays at 7pm Central. Follow @gtchatmod and @txgifted to learn more.

TODAY! June 21: "Where's the 'OFF' button?" Helping Parents of Young Gifted Children
June 28: Your Rainforest Mind with Author, Paula Prober
July 5: No Chat
July 12: Genius Hour with Guest, Andi McNair - Summer PD Series
July 19: What is Twice-Exceptional?
July 26: How to Get the Most Benefit from Gifted Conferences - Summer PD Series

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Blues on the Green -- 6/22/16

Blues on the Green features Wild Child and Max Frost on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at Zilker Park. This free, kid-friendly event is a great way to expose your kids to the Blues genre of music. Go to Blues on the Green for more information.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Star Gazing through UT's Telescopes

Public viewing nights occur throughout the year while the university is in session. Typically spring semester viewing runs from late January to early May, summer sessions viewing runs from early-to-mid June to mid-August, and fall semester viewing runs from early September to early December. Check the page for each telescope for specific information on the current session's schedule. Viewing times change throughout the year so please check this page for current times before planning your visit. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information. (This line is updated approximately 30-45 minutes before the scheduled start time). No reservations are required and there is no charge for viewing. There is no age limit, although adult supervision is required at all times for young children.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Altitude Trampoline Summer Reading Club - Earn Jump Time

Altitude Trampoline will be opening in south Austin near the intersection of Westgate and William Cannon in early June. Austin ISD students are encouraged to fill out the attached form as they read over the summer- 600 minutes (10 hours) of reading will earn 1 hour free admission to the trampoline park. More information about Altitude Trampoline at

Austin Public Library Summer Reading Program

Summer Reading

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Camp Google - Online Summer Camp

Camp Google is a free summer camp that gets kids learning through fun, interactive science activities and adventures. Led by experts, the activities have been designed to encourage kids to ask questions, setting them on a lifelong journey of exploration and discovery. Ages 7-10. More information at

Friday, May 20, 2016

Camp Wonderopolis - Online Summer Camp

Camp Wonderopolis is a free online summer-learning resource fueled by the imagination and expertise of the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL). Designed to pique both a child and adult’s natural curiosities about the world through Maker activities, 42 Wonder lessons, and lots more fun along the way. Grades 2-8.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Junior Ranger Youth Explorer Program

Texas Parks and Wildlife has a program to engage children with nature.  Pick up a free Junior Ranger Journal for your child when you visit a state park. Complete a certain number of activities (depending on her age) to earn a Junior Ranger pin. And, checkout Junior Ranger Explorer Packs at park headquarters. Each backpack comes with a pair of binoculars and a magnifying glass; an animal tracking key and guides to flowers, birds, butterflies, trees, rocks, wildflowers and plants; and pencil, crayons and watercolors along with a journal and sketchbook. More information at

Thursday, April 21, 2016

ApplyTexas Essay Prompts Available

ApplyTexas Essay Prompts A, B and C 
For U.S. Freshman and International Freshman Applications 

Slated to replace current ApplyTexas essay choices A, B and C For inclusion in ApplyTexas applications for the 2017-2018 cycle (Summer 2017, Fall 2017, and Spring 2018 - opening 8/1/16)

Essay A:
What was the environment in which you were raised? Describe your family, home, neighborhood, or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person.

Essay B:
Some students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. If you are one of these students , then tell us about yourself.

Essay C:

You've got a ticket in your hand - Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Self-Guided Walking Tours in Austin

These self-guided walking tours are included in the iOS app "City Maps and Walks (470+ Cities)" in iTunes and the Android app "Austin Map and Walks" in Google Play. Or retrieve them at

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz | A Tribute to Mexican Women - 4/16/2016

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican-American Cultural Center

An Arts Festival of live music, exhibitions, films, performances that pay tribute to Mexican women artists, educators, and scientists for their contributions!

Interactive Theater Workshop
3:30 pm in the Auditorium
Explore Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz through interactive theatre in a one time workshop facilitated by experienced Latino performance instructors. Register online or call for more info: 512-974-3785. Free workshop for ages 13 & older.

Gallery Opening: Petro-Poems by Mery Godigna Collet
6 pm in the Community Gallery
As part of the program for our annual event celebrating Sor Juana Ines de La Cruz, the ESB-MACC will be opening the exhibition “Petro-Poems” by Venezuelan artist Mery Godigna Collet. For the last 20 years, Collet has been working with Crude Oil. She uses crude oil and its byproducts as her creative medium. Read more here.

Super Xicana Power Hour 
8 pm in the Auditorium
A live performance conceptualized and performed by artists Marisela Barrera and Jane Madrigal with a focus on cultura, la mujer y la nueva onda for the growing brown demographic. Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

College Visits - Make the Most of Them

Visiting college campuses is an important component of learning about the environment and the programs available. These visits can begin as early as middle school and are very important in high school. In order to make the guided tours more than just walking tours, students should prepare for the visits. The College Board provides a useful Checklist for planning and a Score Card for use during the visits. Additional information is available at

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Youth Fiction Writing Contest - Due 7/01/2016

Middle and high school Texas students may submit original fiction, no more than 2,000 words in length. The submissions are judged by Texas Book Festival authors, local educators, and leaders in the publishing industry. Each year the Texas Book Festival provides a unique theme, this year that theme is Note to Self. Three divisions: grades 7-8; 9-10; and 11-12.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Austin ISD GT Games Day

Elementary gifted students, bring your favorite board game or card game and join other GT students in having some fun!

Parents, spend time networking with other GT parents.

Saturday, April 9
9:00-11:00 a.m.
Baker Center Cafeteria
3908 Avenue B
Austin TX 78751

Open to the first 75 students who are registered at:

Print your EventBrite ticket and bring to the event to be eligible for door prizes.
Call 512-414-0155 for more information.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Contest - Due 4/4/2016

Do you have a child in the age range of 8-12? Help him or her submit a recipe that supports the MyPlate nutrition guidelines for a chance to attend a Kids' "State Dinner" with Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C. More information at PBS Parents. Recipes are encouraged to include foods grown, produced, or representative of your state, territory, or community. Click to see MyPlate, MyState for Texas.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Taking the AP Exam

Sure, succeeding on an AP Exam is mostly about working hard in your AP class, but it also involves knowing what to expect on exam day. Learn everything you need to know about taking the exams, from signing up to showing up.

Spot illustration for Taking the Exams - About the Exams item - paper with AP logo emblazoned on it

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Zilker Trek Multimedia Scavenger Hunt

Check out the Zilker Trek, a self-guided, multimedia tour of Zilker Park. Using free content from, trek the park and create a nature journal and a natural sculpture.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Contest to Meet Michelle Obama - Due 3/14/2016

All Austin ISD seniors are eligible to win a chance to see Michelle Obama by completing FAFSA by 5 pm March 14.  To be eligible to win, students must:

1. File FAFSA no later than 5 PM Central Time on Monday, March 14th.
3. Paste the Tweet below to their personal Twitter account:
o   I filed my FAFSA, have you? File by 3/14 to meet @FLOTUS during #SXSW! @austinchamber @ReachHigherATX contest here:
If selected, student winners must scan and submit their FAFSA confirmation page to Andrew Feller at

Eligible school districts include: Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Elgin ISD, Hays CISD, Hutto ISD, Leander ISD, Lockhart ISD, Manor ISD, Pflugerville ISD, Round Rock ISD, KIPP Austin Public Schools, Harmony Public Schools, and NYOS