The Middle School community celebrated Book Week last week with a myriad of activities to mark the occasion and reinforce the importance of reading in our lives. This year’s theme was Curious Creatures, Wild Minds.
Our special guest was author and TV personality Andrew Daddo. Parents and boys in Years 7 and 8 attended the Trivia Evening and Years 5 and 6 boys and parents attended the Book Week Breakfast. Andrew entertained as quiz master for the evening as well as sharing stories from his life and about his writing at the two functions. Community support was outstanding and both events were sold out. Andrew also presented to all Middle School boys during the day.
Lunchtime activities saw boys from Years 5-8 participating in treasure hunts to find book characters which had “escaped” into the wild, competing in trivia games, decorating cookies to create curious creatures and making even more curious creatures out of origami. A highlight was a visit by the Wild Rangers who brought two snakes, a crocodile and a lizard for a visit. Boys were queued up around the MS Amphitheatre to get up close to the creatures.
Year 6 boys were also treated to a visit by author Mark Greenwood who tells stories that bring history to life. His passion for his subject matter is infectious and he left the boys keen to grab his books and find out the endings of his stories.
Our annual Tea Duel, a tradition begun in the Senior Library in 2016 to celebrate the Steampunk genre, was held last Friday lunchtime much to the entertainment of a very large crowd. Volunteers from our Year 12 Prefects and School Captains invited a favourite teacher to duel against them by dunking a biscuit in hot tea for five seconds, then holding it up to see who could last the longest before eating it as it collapsed. Our long-time Tiffen Master, Mr Michael Moloney, was once again the MC of the event, and each pair of contestants was avidly watched by a Deputy Tiffen Master to ensure no cheating occurred! While the teachers looked unbeatable before the competition began, they were gradually eliminated by the boys, with Angus and Rishi ending up being the last two battling for the honour of 2020 Tea Duel Champion. Congratulations to Angus, whose name will now be added to our new Tea Duel trophy for perpetuity.
This year the Centenary Library has been overcome by a Rubik’s craze! Due in large part to our recent purchase of four Pyramix Duo’s which have become a very popular addition to the library. Not a lunchtime goes by that all four are not being twisted and turned by a student busily working away trying to learn the secret to solving them. Last Thursday during lunch the Centenary Library brought back its Rubik’s Challenge, an event that has not been seen for five years. This challenge was extremely popular, with spectators and the 16 participants alike all excited to see who would be crowned the Centenary Library Rubik’s Champion for 2020. The knock out rounds were very exciting, the boys had certainly practiced quite a lot. The Grand Final ended in a nail biting 4 round challenge where both competitors could not be separated and solved their puzzle at the exact same time. A quick decision was made to switch in a traditional 3×3 Rubik’s cube to decide the winner.
All competitors are to be commended for their sportsmanship and professional attitude. There were so many spectators also who happily volunteered to do various tasks throughout the challenges which was lovely to see. The challenge was so popular that a Rubik’s Cube Competition will be held later in the term for those who think they could be the fastest ‘cuber’ in Year 7 & 8. Keep an eye out in the daily notices for more information over the coming weeks. Congratulations to the finalists and best of luck at the next competition to all entrants.
Last week, February 14 took on a special meaning for staff and students here at BGS as Library Lovers’ Day was celebrated across all three libraries. Romantic fiction and “lonely books seeking reader” were on display in all three libraries. The “lonely books” had individual labels describing their stories and which readers would be most suited to them. Boys were encouraged to “make a book happy and less lonely” by borrowing it. Years 7 and 8 boys were given the opportunity to recommend a favourite book to their peers at lunchtime. At morning tea the staff were treated to red velvet cupcakes and a hotly contested trivia competition with questions about lovers in literature and libraries. This was a fun way to promote the libraries and raise awareness of the important role they play in our lives.
At the start of each year the Middle School Libraries play host to the Years 5 and 7 students for an orientation of their new space. This year the students experienced two different but very engaging and exciting hands-on activities that required them to work together in teams to explore the library facilities and resources available to them.
In the Centenary Library, the Year 7 students played a board game called Library Smarts, where team members were required to move their way around a board while completing challenges that explored the resources available within the space. Teams also had the extra task of writing down library guidelines learned from Grammar Man and Grumpy Cat when they landed on their icons on the board.
The Year 5 students participated in Escape the Library, a game based on the Breakout EDU concept. Each class was divided into 4 teams and had to solve 5 puzzles in order to open the final box and escape. Along the way they learned important information about the library, such as the number of items they can borrow, how to access the catalogue and where the different types of resources are located
Both years embraced these lessons with a wonderful amount of enthusiasm and competitiveness. Gamification in education has increased in popularity in recent years and these orientation lessons adopt this method to provide a fun, effective and engaging platform for students to familiarise themselves with the Brisbane Grammar Libraries.
Twenty of our Year 8 boys spent four fabulous days creating and writing fantasy stories, based on their quest into the Land of Remorse (aka Roma Street Parklands) to retrieve an object held by an evil power and free the land from its clutches. This included exploring augmented reality apps at the Tunnel of Terror, the Epic Citadel, the Eerie Escarpment and the Fiendish Forest, and participating in teamwork activities at the Field of Doom, the Stone Table, the Cursed Quicksand and the Armoury. Local author, Simon Cleary, challenged the boys to make their writing more descriptive, and many of the activities and/or locations found their way into different groups’ stories.
The culmination of the program involved the boys proudly explaining to parents and visitors what the program was about, what each of the activities involved, and showing samples of their stories. While writing a collaborative story from different characters’ perspectives was the intended outcome, the boys’ learning went far beyond this and included:
To see more of the ideas on which this program was based visit Spring Hill Young Writers Group.
Last week the BGS Libraries celebrated Star Wars with an assortment of activities, all marking the special day, May the Fourth. Middle School boys had a chance to decorate cupcakes in a Princess Leia design. Following instructions, boys proved themselves to be eager and successful cake decorators, and of course, cake eaters!
Two of our teachers donned costumes to host a special Star Wars Kahoot competition in the Middle School libraries. Boys were challenged to be fast and correct in order to be announced the winner. Years 5 and 6 boys also had the chance to enter a colouring competition.
A highlight of the week was the Droid Race Challenge in the MS Amphitheatre with eager particpants competing and one of our IT staff hosting the event in costume. Senior School boys were also given the opportunity to pit Yoda against Darth Vader with droid races in The Lilley Centre, compered by two of our Year 12 students.
The start of a new school year is an exciting time for both students and staff with anticipation of a busy and exciting year ahead. We are also excited to say hello to many new boys starting their Brisbane Grammar School journey.
Here at BGS Library we welcome our new students with a comprehensive Library Orientation program which aims to promote library services, introduce the friendly and helpful library staff, our HUGE range of books and graphic novels, and promote the library as a safe space where boys can have fun, quietly read, create and collaborate.
With over 100 new Year 5 students across 8 classes Teacher Librarian Ms Palmer introduces the boys to a little game she likes to call ‘Escape the Library!’. Teams of boys are challenged to solve puzzles, find items and decipher codes that teach them about the essentials of the Middle School Library such as how to find books on the catalogue, how our Library Management System works and the exciting events that boys can be apart of throughout the year. As boy’s race to the finish line their excitement is palpable as they finally unlock all 5 locks and open the big red box.
Over in the Centenary Library Teacher Librarian Ms Smith alongside her popular and much loved CLIB mascot Grumpy Cat runs ‘Library Smarts’ for over 250 Year 7 students across 9 classes – with some brand new to BGS. ‘Library Smarts’ is a specially designed board game that introduces the Year 7 boys to the expectations of moving into this new space and giving them the ownership of creating a positive framework of Centenary Library guidelines that students and visitors follow when using the library.
After being divided into team’s students roll the dice to move around the Monopoly-like board, getting tips from Grammar Man and Grumpy Cat along the way and completing photo challenges using iPads. As the boys move about their new library familiarising themselves with what and where everything is team work is paramount for collecting clues and sharing them with team mates.
After 9 classes Ms Smith was especially impressed with one particular Year 7 team who managed to create a massive 42 guidelines for implementation in the Centenary Library. Well done boys!
Valuable and exciting library lessons like these allow our Teacher Librarians to capture these boy’s imaginations and actively engage them with the learning process through play. Using gamification methods like these also help build their non-cognitive skills that are just as fundamental for a student’s learning and success throughout their education.
The middle school years are a crucial time for cultivating students’ readiness for future success both in and outside of school. Now more than even, preparing students to live as citizens of the world is an important task for educators and parents. Social, creative and emotional intelligence are key ingredients to an individual’s ability to flourish and make meaningful contributions in their community.
With Term 4 already here, Middle School students returned to school excited to be participating in their second Signature Program for 2018.
As students immersed themselves in their chosen endeavors – be it literature, media or social activities, real-world scenarios were given to the students to collaborate on and imagine the ‘What if?’.
Year 6 students chose to take on the weighty topic of Think Global, Act Local where issues such as Poverty, Children’s Rights, Fair Trade and Sustainable Development were unpacked, work-shopped and then presented back to their peers for feedback and buy-in as a TV or radio ad, or print campaign.
Integral to contemporary life is the ability to understand and utilize media both as creators and communicators. The Director’s Cut signature program gave boys critical hands-on experience in documenting other signature programs around the school. Student’s formed teams, filmed and edited their footage with the goal of each video to be captivating, entertaining and educational, and leave its viewers in no doubt as to the value of the programs being offered to the students.
The Year 7 Signature Program that ran in the library was called Stories in the Wild. Students were given the task of writing a 6-part story as a group of 3 to be presented at the end of the week. Students started the program by discussing writing and team building techniques to practice during the week. They then headed out on a scavenger hunt which involved collecting feature items that students had to incorporate into their story. Other requirements included; BGS had to be woven into the story, and each section of the narrative had to showcase a different text type and be rendered in a different media.
After the 4 days students were excited to share what they had created and learnt with their peers and teachers. As well as walking away with many new experiences and skills our BGS Signature Program gives our boys exposure to creative thinking, develop leadership skills, and build confidence. It also aims to nurture friendships outside their own peer groups and equip our students with skill sets to seize every opportunity.