Author Archives: BGS Library

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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.


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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.