Author Archives: BGS Library

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Epic Adventures in the Land of Remorse

Last week, eight of our Year 7 boys were involved in a collaborative writing workshop with Year 7 students from three other schools.

Together, they were tasked by the Supreme Sorceress (aka author Kirilee Barker), to embark upon a perilous quest in the Land of Remorse (aka The Roma Street Parklands) to defeat a monstrous evil which had been threatening the land and terrorizing its inhabitants.  According to ancient prophecies, four young people together would be able to defeat the monster, but only if they combined their strengths and powers.

Each group of adventurers rotated through eight different immersive activities, to spark their imaginations with ideas to write into their stories. Each group then came up with a shared story-line and setting, at a day-long writing workshop, and now each student will write their own character’s fantasy story about defeating the evil stalking the land.

After reading their accounts of the journey on a shared wiki, the Supreme Sorceress will summon the adventurers one last time as she rewards them for their resourcefulness and writing skills.

Read more about our Spring Hill Young Writers Workshop which has been operating now for six years.


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May the Fourth be With You!!

May the Fourth is the day when lovers of Star Wars around the world join together to celebrate this modern mythology, initiated from the original movies of the 70s and 80s and perpetuated through the decades since.  The timeless themes of heroes rising to stand against the forces of darkness, and the power of friendship and love to shape the world or redeem the fallen are common across all cultures and generations, providing common ground for fans worldwide, and reminding us that we are all connected.

Brisbane Grammar School embraced the fun last week, with trivia competitions across the school from grades 5 to 12 testing the boys’ general knowledge of these great movies.  To balance this intellectual endeavour, we added the thrill of droid races, where the remote control figures of Yoda, R2D2 and Darth Vader were pitted against one another time and again. By far the most popular race of the week was between Mr Conway (Head of Year 7), Ms Zervos (Head of Middle School) and Mr Hallis (Year 7 teacher).


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‘Send us a Postcard’ Photo Competition

During Term 1 our  Annual Photo Competition has been on display in The Lilley Centre Learning Commons. Themed this year as ‘Send us a Postcard’ it was intended, as always, to be an opportunity for the boys and staff across the school to share their photo story talents in one combined display. This year added a difference in that all the photos were inserted into a template, created by Mr Russell, to appear as authentic postcards, and a message was required on each photo as part of their entry.

The Photo Competition is a great way to start each year, and adds special interest as staff and students are represented equally. Everyone can celebrate and enjoy the amazing opportunities afforded to the boys in their travels across the globe both with families and as part of school excursions, while some boys also choose to feature family pets and favourite local walks.

This year, congratulations go to Isaac in Year 12 for his winning photo of the ship The Earnslaw, in Queenstown, and  runner-up Thomas in Year 9, for his entry of Melbourne laneway graffiti, while the staff winning entry goes to Mr Venables for his stunning Brisbane city skyline photo.

Thank you very much to all the staff and students who have shared their entries with us, and thanks also to Mr Kobez, our judge of four years.

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Somerset Literature Festival 2017


Each year Somerset College devotes an enormous amount of time and energy to organising the Somerset Celebration of Literature, a festival run over three days for schools and two days for the public, and it’s always a great place to listen to new and favourite authors. This year, some of our Year 9s and Year 6s enjoyed a day at the festival, with the Year 9s listening to Mark Smith, Shivaun Plozza, Fleur Ferris and Allison Goodman, and the Year 6s listening to Lance Balchin, Lucas Proudfoot, Matt Stanton and Professor Frankie Falconette.

Mark Smith grew up on a farm and at age 15 he’d never read a book.  He read Catcher in the Rye when recovering from falling off a horse, loved it and went on to become an English teacher and writer. The Road to Winter is book 1 of a trilogy, and is an Australian survival story set in a post-apocalyptic future. Mark’s advice to writers: Write what you know and are passionate about; take risks and persevere.

Alison Goodman creates vivid, believable worlds in her books, and has written fantasy (Eon and Eona), historical (Lady Helen) and science fiction novels (Singing the Dogstar Blues). She also likes to involve the five senses in her stories, and her example of her husband having a cortisone injection in his heel where the needle broke off was definitely told very vividly!

Shivaun Plozza realized she wanted to be an author and looked for different ways of achieving this, again and again until her book Frankie was published. Her advice to writers: Push through every single failure, as often the most determined and most stubborn authors get published.

Fleur Ferris was a paramedic and police officer from the age of 19 years.  She grew up on a 10,000 acre wheat farm and was a survivor of the Ash Wednesday bush fires. She always liked writing, and after her ordeal she wrote about the fires. For her, writing worked like medicine and speeded up her recovery. She has published three books: Risk, Black and Wreck. Fleur’s advice to writers: read widely and write about small incidents.

Lance Balchin is an artist who, through the medium of Photoshop, has created some amazing creatures in his book Mechanica: a beginners field guide. This is the first in a series of books, each page of which consists of a complex illustration and description of a mechanical creature.

Lucas Proudfoot held the audience in the palm of his hand through song, humour and storytelling. He played the didgeridoo, guitar and stomp box whilst encouraging the audience to learn more about indigenous cultures. Student David Butler took to the stage and performed the hula to the delight of other BGS boys in the Hall.

Matt Stanton has published a number of picture books for young people but his latest book is aimed decidedly at middle school readers. Called Funny Kid, the book tells the tale of Max, the class clown who is running for class president. Matt’s presentation had the audience rolling in the aisles and our boys are keen to grab a copy of the book when it is released.

Professor Frankie Falconette is a character brought to life by actor Nadia Sunde. Frankie is a Harry Potter enthusiast who brings to life the characters and creatures from the books. Her presentation included a reading of her favourite part of the first book in the series when Harry goes to Diagon Alley. There were also games to play and trivia questions for eager readers.

 

 

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Author Peadar O’Guilin ‘calls’ in to BGS

On Tuesday this week we were very fortunate to have Irish author, Peadar O’Guilin, visit our Senior Library to talk to three classes of Year 9 boys, while on tour to promote his new novel, The Call.  He had just arrived from the Perth Writers Festival, and is now on his way to Sydney and Melbourne to promote his book there.

Based on a mix of Irish mythology and horror, The Call tells the story of a brutal feud between the Sidhe (aka malevolent fairies/banshees) and humans. The Aes Sidhe, ancient rulers of Ireland, were banished to the greylands (a type of hell) many years ago after being defeated by humans, but now they have found a way to get back at humans by ‘calling’ every teenager into the greylands for a deadly game of survival. Each teen is only gone for 3 minutes and 4 seconds in human time, but this equates to 24 hours of terror and torment in Sidhe time. Normal schools no longer exist, and each remaining student learns only how to survive in the greylands. Many come back maimed or mutilated; many never come back at all – but one girl is determined to survive.

Read more about his book, or come to the Library to borrow a copy.

 


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Year 8 Poetry Slam

Tuesday lunchtime this week saw a flurry of activity and a buzz of anticipation in the Forum as Year 8 boys streamed in for our second annual Year 8 Poetry Slam. As part of their English classwork, each of the boys had to write a slam poem in class then, as a class, they voted on the best one to be performed at the year level competition.

To set the scene, the first poet off the rank was Keng, last year’s winner, who performed his winning poem for this year’s cohort. Nine of our Year 8s then performed in quick succession, with Mr Kobez, Keng and one of the Year 8 students acting as judges. The quality of the boys’ poems and presentations was outstanding, and set the bar high for next year’s competition! Taking out first place was Abineash, with Charlie placing second, and Dillon in third place.

A big thank you must go to all of our contestants for making this such an enjoyable event, as well as to the Year 8 English teachers for their excellent work in coaching the boys to write and perform at such a high standard.

poetry-slam


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Snitch and Broomstick Races in the Learning Commons

Last Friday three teams of teachers pitted their skill and speed against the boys in in our inaugural Snitch and Broomstick Races in the Learning Commons. Teams of two had to start at the Forum end and put on a gown, hat and tie, then ride a broomstick to the Library doors while carrying a golden snitch in a spoon. There, everything had to be swapped over to their partner who then ran back to the other end.

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Mr Irvine and Mr Hows from the PE Dept, Ms Bruerton and Mr Jones from the Science Dept and Mr Celm and Dr Barrie form the Economics/History Dept were all great sports and competed valiantly, but no-one could match the speed and technique of our winning team, Year 12 students Davis and Mitchell.

 

 


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A World without Antibiotics – Is this our Future?

Superbugs at the Olympics
Did you know:

  • that scientists have not discovered any new antibiotics for the past 30 years?
  • that multidrug-resistant bacteria (superbugs) kill more than 9,000 Australians each year?
  • that by 2030, more than 16,000 people will die each year — that’s more than 300 each week!!
http://superbugs.imb.uq.edu.au/

Bringing this frightening future much closer to home, superbug-infested waters were an issue that surrounded the Olympic Games in Rio this year. What did this mean for our Australian athletes?

If you are interested and would like to find out more, this free event is one you should not miss!

At this event, you will hear personal stories of athletes and the challenges doctors faced when treating the athletes who entered the superbug-infested waters in Rio.

Register now for this free community event and hear from:

This exciting expert panel will also include UQ researchers, who will discuss measures taken to prevent superbugs from taking a stronghold at the Olympic Games.

Where:  UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience Auditorium

When:   5.30-7.30pm Thursday night 17 November

This event has been organised by Mathilde Desselle, from the UQ Community of Open Access Drug Discovery (CO-ADD). In August this year she gave a presentation at our TEDxYouth@BGS event, focusing on the race to find new antibiotics. The premise of her talk was that “the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria continues to rise, but the number of new treatments available has flatlined, and this has placed us dangerously close to a return to the pre-antibiotic era, when even simple infections caused death.” (http://www.co-add.org)  However, the CO-ADD mission is to help researchers worldwide to find new, diverse compounds to combat drug-resistant infections by testing, free of charge, thousands of chemical compounds which might otherwise be thrown in the bin.

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Visitors from QUT experience BGS Emerging Technologies programs

Today we have had an opportunity to share Brisbane Grammar’s progress with Emerging Technologies with QUT Primary training teachers. The group of 40 students were keen to experience hands on, and see the boys enjoying new technologies, and had travelled from as far as Caboolture campus and overseas campuses to join us.

Tara Richmond, Acting HOD D&T and Debbie Hunter, Teaching and Learning Librarian met with the group before a Lunchbox Club session, and then the students were invited to join in the lunchtime meeting with the boys. The Year 7 and 8 boys were happy to share what they were doing, and explain what technologies they were using to get the job done.  Lecturer Dr Michelle Mukherjee, Lecturer in Digital Learning and Science Education and Co-ordinator of BEd. Primary Program, was pleased to be able to show her third year students the levels of engagement and enthusiasm generated by this style of learning.

Tara and Debbie conducted a professional conversation that targeted the challenges, comparisons and differences between the classroom curriculum and a Maker Space environment in implementing these intense activities.   We look forward to a follow up visit from a new group of trainee teachers to further showcase our activities.


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Board Games and Pizza – an Irresistible Combination!

At the end of last term, the Library hosted the first Strategic Games Club board games and pizza evening of 2016. The proceedings began with a few games of Werewolf which, while not in the strictest sense a board game, is a club favourite and the perfect way to ramp up enthusiasm. Here are the rules – give it a try! http://www.brenbarn.net/werewolf/rules.html

Next, the boys broke up into smaller groups to play a few hands of Munchkin, a wild and crazy card game that draws laughter and cries of dismay in equal amounts as players face off against each other and a variety of ridiculous monsters.

After a short break for pizza, a group of us decided to explore a game called Betrayal at the House on the Hill, while the rest decided to try Last Night on Earth. Both of these games pit player against player in novel ways, whether by haunting a character until they go crazy and attack fellow characters, or by one player taking the part of zombies whose goal is to rid the board “living” characters.

These evenings are always great fun and allow club members to play favourite games that we would not usually have the time to complete on Strategic Games Club afternoons, giving everyone time to wind down with friends after a long, tough term.