Author Archives: BGS Library

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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.


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Our Best Readers Cup Ever!

Nerves were on edge, students were tense, parents were jittery, the excitement was palpable – and all due to five books!! What were the titles of these books holding all this power?

  • The adventures of stunt boy and his amazing wonder dog Blindfold – Lollie Barr
  • Fuzzy mud – Louis Sacher
  • The ratcatcher’s daughter – Pamela Rushby
  • Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief – Cathy Jinks
  • Jandamarra – Mark Greenwood

Contestants had to read these books and try to memorise facts from them then, on the night, they were asked questions in each round from each book.

This year we had a record number of 24 teams from different schools competing in our Brisbane North 7/8 Readers Cup Competition. From early in the evening, the Learning Commons became more and more crowded, and once the parents moved into the back of the Forum, we were seriously challenged to find seats for them all!! But how good to think that all of these crowds were there because of reading!!

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Organisation of the competition was also a team event, with TLs from each school supplying questions for each round and books to use as prizes, and taking on roles on the night such as judge, time-keeper, scorer, MC, etc. All in all, Readers Cup is a great way to bring schools together in an arena that’s not sport-related.

This year, Grumpy Cat also attended the competition for the first time ever. Maybe he was just too grumpy on the night, or maybe our boys were just having too much fun – whatever the reason, they didn’t manage to win! A big congratulations to the team from Murrumba State Secondary College who came first, followed by teams from Brisbane State High and Ferny Grove State High in second and third place. The team from Murrumba will now do this all again as they prepare for the State Finals to be held in September.

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How to Write a Professional Resume

At lunchtime today, 25 students attended a workshop in the eXchange to gain tips and insights on how to write a professional resume.  Many boys are now either ready to write a resume or ready to update their resume, so this information was very timely for them, with students commenting, “Your talk was really informative today and I found it really useful”, and “The session yesterday was excellent and it enlightened me a lot.”

This session covered two aspects – how to market yourself to the best advantage and how to design your resume so it looks professional – and was run by our Design and Tech Assistant, Ms Liane Barker-Martin. She has had extensive experience in the past designing marketing and promotional materials for companies and businesses, and the boys found her session both informative and valuable.

One of the key take-aways for the boys was to understand better how to tell the story of themselves to a prospective employer in both the introduction section of their resume and in their cover letter.  According to Carmine Gallo, author of The Storyteller’s Secret:

“In the next 10 years the ability to tell your story persuasively will be decisive – the single greatest skill – in helping you accomplish your dreams. Since the next decade marks the greatest promise civilisation has ever known, the story you tell yourself and the story you share with others will unlock your potential and, quite possibly, change the world.” (2016, p.7)

Our boys are now better empowered to go away and work on telling their stories.

How to Write a Resume

 


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Book Week – Australia: Story Country

Last week the Middle School celebrated Book Week, and it was very satisfying to see our school community coming together to enjoy events which promote reading and the enjoyment of literature.

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On Wednesday night 90 boys and their parents attended  An Evening with….Will Kostakis  in the Lilley Centre. Passionate about writing from an early age, Will wrote stories all through high school, landing his first publishing contract at 17 years of age and proving that if you have a dream, it can come true. His presentation focused on drawing inspiration from his own life for his writing as well as providing many laughs as he shared stories of  beloved Greek grandmother and the confusion that can arise across generations, especially when there are language differences.

His writing tips for the boys:

  • Writing a story is like solving a problem – take your own real-life stories and ask ‘What if this had happened instead?’
  • To write real emotion, find out what your character’s biggest fear is and then make then confront it.

The Book Week Breakfast on Friday was a sell-out, with author Jack Heath sharing parts of his latest book with the audience as well as talking about his life as an author. His writing career also began in high school, and he is now a prolific author, having published     books in the past 18 months. Jack spoke most engagingly with all the Middle School boys in year level presentations later in the day, and his books have since walked off the shelves in the Middle and Centenary Libraries.

His writing tips for the boys:

  • Ideas and stories are all around us. Creativity and imagination thrive in boredom, therefore make sure you allow periods of shutting out information so you have nothing to do but think.
  • Don’t worry about writers block – just get in and start writing. The difference between a job and a hobby is that you get on and do the job even if you don’t have inspiration.

Amongst other activities during the week, the Amazing Race was a highlight for boys as they completed individual and group challenges, all related to the Book Week theme,  Australia: Story Country. These included The Real Thong (a thong throwing contest), Say What? (an Australian poetry challenge) and Bushranger Bash, where the boys had to dress like a bushranger and gallop around the oval on a hobby horse.

Overall, the week was a great success, reflecting and reinforcing the strong culture of reading that we have in the school.


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How to Make a Steampunk Hat

The Senior Library has been the venue for some great activities recently, all based around the steampunk genre. These included:

  • a steampunk display
  • steampunk hats made from gaffer tape
  • steampunk goggles
  • steampunk clocks made from recycled objects
  • steampunk hot air balloon science
  • a very funny steampunk tea-duel between teachers and students

Because we wanted to introduce a casual makerspace into the Senior Library, we decided the steampunk genre was a natural bridge between books and making. The heroes in steampunk books were always makers, always tinkering and creating as Victorian era science progressed with steam-powered machines, rather than with electronics and computer chips: hence the term “tinkerable technologies.”

Our first activity was to create a steampunk hat made from gaffer tape, hot glue and paint. While there are a lot of instructions on the internet for making steampunk hats, we decided that this was the one we would use: DIY Duct Tape Steampunk Top Hat.

Using another hat as a mold, gaffer tape was wrapped around the hat, sticky side out, and then back again, sticky side in. This was repeated with the crown and the brim, and then the two parts were taped together. Next, a hot glue gun was used to create lines and dots, the hats were painted and decorated. Gold paint was added to the glue dots, which resulted in these amazing hats looking very realistically like pieces of old leather riveted together by creative tinkerers.

Next on the agenda was a pair of steampunk goggles to go on the hat, made entirely from items sourced from Reverse Garbage.  (Instructions can be found here: https://www.scribd.com/collections/16250418/Steampunk-Activities.  Similarly, the Year 7 & 8 boys were encouraged to create steampunk clocks from bits and pieces found at Reverse Garbage.

Those boys who participated had a great time, and one of the hats was even worn by the Tiffen Master at our student/teacher tea duel!


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Winners in the 2016 Library Photo Competition

Backyard_Schmelzer_IMG_4983DryStorms

The Annual Library Photo Competition in first term is always a good time to invite our boys to share their photos from the holiday season. This year, after 2015 being a year of global news that pulled us all closer together, the theme was HOME, with two categories: ‘In my Backyard’ and ‘Over the Fence’.

It proved to be a challenging theme! There were many conversations, and plenty of creative thinking from our entrants as they decided what really mattered close to home, or ‘In my Backyard’, and what could be deemed to be ‘Over the Fence’.

The display in the Lilley Centre grew slowly this year, and covered a diverse selection of material. Garden spiders and familiar creatures, favourite pets, food and places were all considered close to home, while in Over the Fence we saw far-reaching places of beauty and interest, both within the Australian landscape and beyond.

Congratulations go to the following students for their entries this year:

  • Mitchell A (Year12) was the Overall Winner for “Camping under the Milky Way”
  • Max S (Year 9) was Runner Up for In My Backyard with “Dry Storms”
  • Bill H (Year 10) was Over the Fence Winner for “New Zealand Landscape”
  • Richard M (Year 10) was Runner Up with “Morning Light”

We would like to thank all the staff and students who made this competition and display a success by contributing so willingly. Thanks also go to our Assistant Head of English, Mr Paul Kobez, for his expertise as our judge.