Monthly Archives: July 2015

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The Great Book Swap

As part of our Middle School Book Week celebrations, the Year 7 Service Committee at Brisbane Grammar School again supported the Indigenous Literacy Foundation in its massive effort to provide books and literacy resources to remote Indigenous communities, and raise community awareness of Indigenous literacy issues. We ran a Great Book Swap, where students had the opportunity to swap their pre-loved books for a donation of $2 per book. We are delighted to announce that this year we raised $969, making 2015 one of our most successful years to date in supporting this very important cause.

Taking part in the Great Book Swap has again helped our students to understand how important it is for our First Australians to have access to quality reading and writing materials, regardless of where they live and how remote their communities may be. As city-dwellers, we often take for granted the enormous number of literacy resources which are easily available to us, and fail to recognise that not all communities have such access to books. Well done and thank you to all students who donated and bought books on the day, as well the Service Committee members who assisted in collecting and selling the books.

Brisbane Grammar School looks forward to supporting the Indigenous Literacy Foundation for many years to come.

(This article was written by Year 5 teacher and Service Committee Coordinator, Mr Justin Shears, for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation website).

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Lego in the Library

The creative spirit is alive and well in the Middle School Library with Lego taking over a section of the space each lunchtime. Boys have welcomed this activity with a dedicated group waiting eagerly at the door to come in and build each day as well as the more casual participants dropping by from time to time. The collection is steadily growing and this is allowing our boys to expand their construction skills and create ever more intricate pieces. In addition, boys are learning social skills such as co-operation and sharing. It is also pleasing to see the care with which they tidy up at the end of the break, respecting each other’s pieces and ensuring that all bits are back in the box, ready for next time.


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Welcome to the Wonderful World of Jackie French


Jackie French is one of Australia’s most respected children’s authors. The Diary of a Wombat has become a classic and is loved by adults and children alike. This term the Year 5 students are studying Walking the Boundaries in English and exploring the themes of this novel as the characters move through time and place. To support this unit of work, the Middle School Library has obtained a loan from Booklinks which takes the form of a travelling suitcase. This is filled with books, artifacts and other bits and pieces related to Jackie’s life and work. Students are using this as a springboard for an author study. Classes will develop a collaborative understanding of our author and then work in pairs to develop pages for a digital book which we hope will then be shared with Jackie. This is an exciting opportunity for our boys to really get to know an author and appreciate her work in greater detail. Boys will be using Padlet and Flipsnack which provide them with another set of skills in the suite of Web 2.0 tools.

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BGS Library on show in Maastricht

During the recent school holiday break, our Director of Information Services, Cathy Oxley, and our Teaching and Learning Librarian, Debbie Hunter, put BGS Library on the world map when they presented two sessions at the International Association of School Libraries Conference, in Maastricht, Netherlands, on some of the wonderful activities happening in our libraries.

Cathy spoke about the collaborative, immersive fantasy-writing workshop held earlier this year between four neighbouring Spring Hill schools, (

while Debbie spoke about our 7/8 Library maker space, The Lunchbox Club, and how it is clearly aligned to and supportive of curriculum initiatives at the School. This club is continually evolving, and there is no doubt that it has a very positive influence on our boys’ learning experiences. ( and

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CodeKids PD at the Library

Our Senior Library played host recently to 36 teachers and teacher-librarians from all over Brisbane and the Gold Coast, who came along to learn new ideas for teaching coding and introducing makerspaces into their schools.

The CodeKids PD workshop was run by Reid Moule, a Year 5 teacher, and Victor Bradbury, an eLearning teacher, but the activities could be adapted for any age group. “CodeKids is a professional program created by registered teachers to teach computer science and computational thinking to children aged between eight and fourteen years.   It has clear links to the Australian Curriculum strands of Maths, Science and Technology.” ( This is particularly relevant in light of the new ACARA Digital Technologies curriculum being introduced into schools in 2016.

After an initial introduction to coding and computational thinking, participants were given the opportunity to rotate around a number of different activities which they could use in their schools:

All participants really enjoyed the opportunity to play, make, explore and gather new ideas for their own schools, and I’m sure Ms Hunter will now have some extra ideas for our own Year 7 & 8 makerspace, The Lunchbox Club  (see also our Lunchbox Club blog).