Author Archives: BGS Library

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One Conqueror to Rule Them All!

In a superb display of skill and calmness under pressure, our champion chess player, Tony Zhong, took on eight other boys or groups of boys in a lunchtime chess simul, winning five of those games before the bell signalled the end of lunchtime.  This involved Tony moving from one table to the next playing eight games simultaneously.  The boys could think about their moves while he played at the other tables, but they had to make their own move in front of him.

There were so many boys wanting to sign up to beat the champion that none of the teachers managed to find a free table!  No-one could come close to beating Tony however, and the only person to slow him down was Marcus, our new School Captain and current Dux of Year 11.

One of our classrooms in the Senior Library is the chess room where chess coaching happens after school, and where our 9-12 Chess Club is held two lunchtimes each week, but there are always boys in there playing before and after school, at morning tea and at lunchtimes.  We also have a number of chess boards set up on various tables throughout the Library and the Learning Commons, and this constant opportunity to play chess helps the boys to focus and to hone their logical and strategical thinking processes, thus improving their academic results.  It is also the reason that BGS has been the champion GPS Chess school for 12 out of the past 14 years, and the champion State finalist team, representing Queensland at the National Schools Teams Chess Championships, for 5 out of the past 7 years.

With Tony in Year 9 as our top player, and with a lot of excellent younger players coming up through the ranks, the future looks bright for Chess at Grammar!!


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Great Debate – Yr 12 Students v Teachers

Last Friday the Forum was full to overflowing with students from all year levels as excitement mounted in the lead-up to our first ever Great Debate between the Year 12 Senior B debating team and three courageous debating teachers.  The topic they were contesting was That Gen X have ruined everything for the Millennials. Both sides were passionate, witty and quick, with a touch of sarcasm thrown in, and the outcome, not surprisingly, was that the Baby Boomers are the real culprits who have created all the problems!

Because we had limited time, the speakers were limited to 4 minutes each, and were gonged off if their speech went more than 4 minutes and 15 seconds! All in all it was a highly entertaining and extremely popular event, with our MC, Deputy Headmaster – Extracurricular, Mark Brusasco, stating that he hopes this event will become an annual occurrence.

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Brian Falkner judges Year 8 Poetry Slam

Last week saw a quick-fire series of outstanding slam poems delivered by the top poets from each of the Year 8 classes.  Their English teachers worked with each class as they wrote their slam poems, and then the boys voted on the best one to represent their class at our annual Year 8 Poetry Slam.

There was a lot of nervousness and anticipation as the Forum filled quickly, despite the fact that the event was held at lunchtime. In fact, some boys even received a standing ovation from their classmates as they took centre stage.

Last year’s winner, Abineash, returned to present his 2016 poem to a new audience, then he took a seat with the other judges – Mr Kobez, our Assistant Head of English; Mr Murray, our Assistant Head of Year 8; and Brian Falkner, a wonderful guest judge who happened to be at the school this week as a writer-in-residence. Each judge held up a card with their score on it, and the totals were calculated. Runner-up scores were equal, but there was no doubt as to who the winner was – Aly, with a perfect score of 4 x 10s for his poem about current issues!! Next year, of course, we will welcome him back as a guest presenter and judge for the 2018 Year 8s.

 


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Chopstick Challenge to Celebrate Multiculturalism

Our first ever Chopstick Challenge, organised by two of the Year 11 SRB boys to celebrate the different cultures at BGS, was an electrifying contest between teachers and students as they raced to pick up a variety of challenging objects with a pair of chopsticks. These included: marbles, toothpicks, thumbtacks, pins, smarties, coins and even a pen from a bottle of water!!

Our Head of Physics, Ms Chan, was a fabulous MC, calling the heats and the final and adding great enthusiasm and excitement to the event. Many were keen to try their hand, but few could match the skill, speed and coolness under pressure of our Head of English, Mr Howes, who managed to blitz the competition to take home the ultimate prize –  a hat full of lollies!!  See more photos at our BGS Facebook page.

 


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Music on the Green

At lunchtime on Wednesday, students in Years 9-12 had the opportunity to enjoy our inaugural Music on the Green event, a wonderfully collaborative partnership between the Library eXchange, the Year 12 Public Purpose team and the Music Department.  Both the Public Purpose Program and The eXchange have, as their aim, a desire to foster community and to provide leadership opportunities for the boys, and this event had loads of both. Boys were able to purchase their lunch from the Year 12 sausage sizzle, and then sit and enjoy it while being entertained by the Big Band, conducted by Mr Jim Noble, and the Senior Vocal Group, led by Music Captain, Louis Backstrom.

The Year 12 team was raising money for Bucket of Love, a charity that provides basic supplies to remote villages in the West Papua province of PNG. Started by two PNG sisters who saw the disparity between rich and poor, Bucket of Love steps in to provide various basic necessities in sturdy plastic buckets – items such as school supplies, basic first aid supplies and birthing kits. The villagers and local farmers then re-use the buckets to increase their productivity and income, gradually taking the steps needed to break out of the cycle of poverty. In contrast to providing buckets, money raised from Wednesday’s sausage sizzle will be sent to rural communities so they can spend it locally, thereby supporting their local economies.

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Gender Respect Project – ‘Listen To Her’

The Gender Respect Committee, a part of our Public Purpose Program, aims to educate our students on important social issues. The committee was the brainchild of Philippa Douglas, Coordinator of Public Purpose. Their latest campaign ‘Listen to Her’ has seen the boys on the committee working with girls from surrounding girls’ schools to learn what gender respect means to young women of today. This has culminated in an amazing display outlining important aspects of gender equality from a youth’s perspective, located in the Learning Commons in The Lilley Centre.
(David Carroll, Deputy Headmaster – Students)

The aim of the Gender Respect Project is to equip boys with an understanding of gender inequalities so they can build respectful relationships with the women and girls in their lives. The project teaches boys how to be the best people they can be, and how they can be leaders among their peers and in the their school by modelling healthy and respectful manhood that values women and girls.

The Listen To Her Campaign, a part of the Gender Respect Project, was created to help boys see the world through the female lens. Seven girls’ schools from Brisbane and Interstate participated in the project. The girls were invited to write on post-it notes one thing they wanted boys to know.

There were three objectives to this campaign:

  1.   To provide a platform for girls to be heard in a safe and supportive environment,
  2.   To help boys understand what it is like to walk a day in a girl’s shoes,
  3.   To empower young men through knowledge and language to challenge attitudes and behaviours within their peer groups to bring about change.

(Philippa Douglas, Coordinator of Public Purpose Program)

The following is a message from David Morrison, Australian of the Year 2016:

To the men of the Gender Respect Program, Brisbane Grammar School  … Taking time to see the world through the eyes of others and to hear their challenges is quintessentially human, but too few pause to do just that. It is all too easy to immerse yourself in the busyness of your own world. But be warned. I feel that such a course leads to a diminished life; shallow and selfish. You have taken a different path and will leave a great legacy as a result.

Now I know from my own experience that taking a stand will attract the criticism of some. That is life, I guess. I find an observation by the Greek philosopher Aristotle helpful when that happens. He said, “Criticism is easy to avoid. You just need to say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” So stay strong, keep the faith and be someone.

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Science and Tech Activities

The Lunchbox Club participants have been enthusiastically exploring ecological themes and water cycles by cultivating Spice Jar Terrariums. Building on the knowledge they have gained across time in Science, the boys were able to explain comfortably the processes of the water cycles and were even in deep discussion about pressing sustainability and environmental issues.


The eXchange hosted a series of Deconstructing Tech workshops, designed to teach students how to do a ‘tear-down’ of the most popular tech devices. The boys have disassembled various generation iPhones in the first workshop in this series, followed by exploring computers and tablets with Mitchell Collins, one of our IT support staff.

The hottest things right now in animation are Frankentoys. Imagine mashing together a doll and a dinosaur to create Barbiesaurus Rex or gluing your favourite action hero’s head to a troll to make Spidertroll. The fun (or chaos) doesn’t need to end there. After they are created we will be using them in stop motion productions. This simply cannot be boring. Workshops started in week 4, so watch this space for the final versions!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw5ATSVolaI

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Science Week – tweaking their curiosity!

Open Day this year marked the first day of National Science Week and was an excellent way to kick off our annual partnership with the Science Department and tweak the curiosity of both young and older visitors. A Forensic Science display in the Senior Library allowed visitors the opportunity to see and use technology and scientific techniques used by the police force to help solve crimes.  We were also very indebted to the University of Queensland ….. Department, for the generous loan of their ……. kit. Visitors were able to explore examples of plaster castings and various species of fly larvae used to help estimate time of death and decomposition rates.  Black light showed up fingerprints, and microscopic investigation of blood, pollen and fibre samples were available for budding young investigators. The hit of the day, however, was a photo booth where visitors could have fun dressing up in detective costumes.

Science Week continued in full swing with Science teachers and teacher librarians working together. To lighten the mood during the week and show the humorous side of science, the Middle School libraries screened episodes of Richard Hammond’s The Science of Stupid, a show that gives detailed explanations of the science behind  breathtaking stupidity caught on camera.

Physics teacher, Scott Jones, also gave an abbreviated version of his TEDx talk –  Where are all the Aliens? – addressing the ongoing question of life in our Galaxy. With 100,000 light years in size and over 100 billion stars, why have we not seen other civilisations out there in the Milky Way Galaxy? Scott examined some of the best ideas concerning the topic and finished with a brief discussion about the need for humanity to take full control of our world and its environment to ensure the future for our children and enable us to one day explore the galaxy.

Middle School Science teachers took over both libraries with practical demonstrations of the physics of air pressure and friction, encouraging students to construct air-powered cars from cardboard and balloons, and then test these experimental models against one another on the racetrack.

As the week came to an end, students from Years 5-8 competed for prizes in exciting year-level-specific Kahoot quizzes, designed and created by Science staff to challenge the students’ scientific knowledge about topics ranging from Chemistry to Astronomy to Biology.

We love partnering with all departments, but Science Week holds a special place on our calendar each year.

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2017 TEDxYouth@BGS

Last Friday, 200 students and guests enjoyed the culmination of months of planning and hard work when they attended our second TEDxYouth@BGS, held in the Forum.  TEDx is a worldwide program, consisting of locally organised TED events where local speakers can showcase their ideas and inspiring stories, and we were very proud that two of our staff members – Scott Jones, Physics Teacher and Rick Pendleton, Swimming Coach – and three of our Year 12 students – Ashmit Vyas, Sam Souyave-Murphy and Edmond Chang – were all willing to share their ideas with a global audience.

Our event represented an outstanding achievement, not only by the speakers, but also by the team of students who worked tirelessly in the background to organise the speakers, the performers, the program, the website, the ticketing, the marketing, the parking, the catering, the AV, the recording, the photography and the overall smooth running of the event on the day.

We were also extremely fortunate to have the help of a speaker coach this year, Carl Lindgren, who has been involved in TEDx since its worldwide inception, and who generously gave up hours of his time to help create a wonderful event that Brisbane Grammar School can be proud of.

To access the website, click here:  https://www.tedxyouthbgs.com/

To access the photos, click here:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/142921424@N05/albums/72157684926852200/with/36287823202/


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Readers Cup 2017

In the final weeks of Term 2, two teams of BGS students competed in the Readers Cup Competition, organised by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, in the Brisbane Central Years 5 & 6 and Brisbane North Years 7 & 8 divisions.  Students from schools throughout the district competed in teams of four or five to answer questions on five different set books. This year these books included Mister Cassowary by Samantha Wheeler, My Life and other stuff I made up by Tristian Bancks, Sister Heart by Sally Morgan and The Bone Sparrow by Zara Fraillon.  Each year BGS hosts the Brisbane North Yrs 7 & 8 competition in our Lilley Centre Forum with 23 different schools throughout the district in attendance in 2017.  This event is a great celebration of books and reading and a great way of bringing schools together.

Both BGS teams received placings in the top 12 in their respective competitions, a fantastic result reflecting all their hard work. Students spent much of Term 2 reading their books, making up practice questions and attending lunchtime meetings, and must be commended on their excellent behaviour when representing BGS during the events.  Big congratulations also must be given to Norman Park State School and Brisbane State High School for winning their respective competitions.  We now look forward to next year, to discovering exciting new books, making new friends and working as a team in the Readers Cup Competition for 2018.