Category Archives: All

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Book Fair

The Middle School Library hosted its annual Book Fair last week. Boys and teachers were eager customers, poring over fiction and non-fiction, latest releases and old favourites, cook books and coding books and much more. As in past years, pens and other small stationery items proved very popular. The items were supplied by Dymocks Brisbane who have assisted with the running of the event for many years. It is certainly another great way to promote reading to our community.


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The Land of Remorse

Unravelling riddles, practicing sword skills, defeating monsters, working as a team to solve problems, and skyping a fantasy author – these were just some of the activities a group of Year 8s were involved in last week as they traversed The Land of Remorse, one of the Middle School Signature Programs. Each group of five was assigned a colour, a character trait and a team (Atreyu, Gandalf, Dumbledore or Excalibur) and then sent on a quest to physically experience some of the challenges characters in a fantasy story might encounter.  They then used the notes from their journals and ideas suggested by author Dawn Meredith to craft a group story where members wrote a section from the perspective of a different character. The final task for the band of heroes was to create a video presentation of their story to share with younger students.

Not only was this a fantastic writing experience for the boys, but it’s value extended to a whole set of other skills important to the development of young grammar men:

  • Collaborating with people who are not close friends,
  • Inclusivity and respecting differences,
  • Actively listening to others,
  • Following instructions,
  • Being prepared,
  • Thinking creatively,
  • Solving problems,
  • Taking the initiative,
  • Being persistent but resilient,
  • Reflecting on character strengths,
  • Reflecting on their successes and how to improve.

 

 


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Science Week 2020

Science Week was held during Brisbane Grammar School during the week 17-21 August 2020. The theme for the week was Deep Blue: innovations for the future of our oceans.

Activities were coordinated jointly by the Science Department and the School Library. The main library was set up as a scene from ‘Under the Ocean’ and numerous events, screenings and competitions were held throughout the week.

A group of six Year 11 pupils who are acting as University of Queensland Science Ambassadors in 2020, whose role is to promote Science at Brisbane Grammar School, were central to the planning and running of the lunchtime activities for Year 7, Year 9 and Year 11.

Marshmallow Tower

On Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th, the Centenary Library was alive with the sound of students competing to build the tallest marshmallow tower. There was a prize for the tallest tower on each day, with victors from class 7A and 7E. More creative structures were rewarded also. The boys thought ‘outside the packet’ and used strategy to create towers that stood tall without assistance. They were only allowed 10 skewers as supports, so they had to be creative with their use. Well done to all the Year 7 students involved.

Staying Afloat

This activity in the Learning Commons on Wednesday 19th had the boys working in teams of 3 to design and build a boat out of aluminium foil. The boat then was floated in water and weights added until the boat sank. This was a trial of design and execution of the build and in addition they needed to plan where and how to add the weights to ensure even distribution on the boat.

Tarp Turn

This activity on the Boarders Lawn had the student problem-solving in teams of 4. They had to work out in real time how to turn a small tarp over without any members of the team stepping off the tarp in as quick as time as possible. This proved to be a lot of fun for the participants who tried hard to find ways to bend the rules but our ambassadors were on hand to ensure fair play.

 


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Art Exhibition

Last week the Centenary Library and the Lilley Centre Learning Commons were lucky enough to host the Year 5 – 12 art exhibition, Survey.

The first half of 2020 has shown us how quickly the world, and our perspectives, can change. The pandemic has changed the lens through which we view everyday life. It has also taught us to survey what we take for granted.

Faced with the challenges of home-based learning, Visual Art students were resourceful and innovative in approaching the creation of their artworks. Survey was an exhibition showcasing artworks that represent the variety and diversity of student perspectives on our world.  The exhibition was enjoyed by students and staff alike.


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Christine Bongers, Writer in Residence

Term 3 began for Centenary Library students with an extra special guest in their midst .  The very talented local author Christine Bongers spent three days visiting BGS and working with a group of aspiring writers from years 5 -7 in a Writer in Residence workshop.

Christine talked to students about her writing and editing processes and spent time working with the boys as they created their own short story.  Over the weekend she read each student’s work and gave individual feedback on how they could develop their story further.  This opportunity was a wonderful experience to learn one-on-one from a writing specialist. The students were very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in this event and we look forward to hosting Christine again in the future.

 


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Engaging Book Trailers

At the end of last term, the year 7 boys enthusiastically embraced their task of creating a book trailer for their peers to watch.  Ms Smith asked the students to create something that would entertain and inform their classmates and also provide reasons why they should read that particular novel.

In seven minute rounds, each class was able to watch the trailers and, at the end of the viewing, vote for their favourite book trailer. These included Harry Potter, Nevermore, Eragon and many more.

After a winner was chosen from each class, the library staff were then given the weighty task of choosing the overall winner, and this honour went to Gabe. His trailer was for The Magician by Raymond E Feist and the judges felt that the trailer looked almost professional.  Well done Gabe!


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Droid Races

It was Darth Vader vs Yoda in the Middle School Library as students took sides for a lunchtime of racing! With a heightened sense of anticipation, the boys assembled behind their Star Wars characters and the race was on to see if good could defeat evil.

The racing proved to be fairly even with both Darth and Yoda winning at various times, so then the decision was made to see who the victor would be by sending the droids into battle against each other. With screams of excitement that could have been heard in a galaxy far, far away, the students maneuvered the droids into knocking each other down but not before a few waltzes were had with Darth and Yoda.

Overall, Yoda was the victorious droid with the students having a great time and a lot of laughs!!

 


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Squishy Scientists

Last week, during their visits to the Centenary Library, the year 6 students’ scientific minds were challenged into making Squishy Circuits.

Our budding scientists used power packs, play dough, laminating strips, fans, buzzers and LED lights to create not only working circuits, but also some wonderfully artistic creations. Students learned the difference between a series and a parallel circuit and how to include a working switch, all while making smiling, light-up food items, police cars and popular fictional characters.

In their second session they were given a set of challenges to create specific circuits, which they approached with very inquiring minds. This was both a fun experience and a really great way of using hands-on learning to explore electricity and circuit creation.

 


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Senior Bookclub

Talking about books and eating snacks – is there a better way to spend a Friday afternoon? Our Senior Bookclub doesn’t think so!

During our last meeting we discussed how an extensive range of YA books has been written about catastrophic events, including virus pandemics, as well as teenagers surviving in a post-apocalyptic world.

In a strange similarity to 2020 events, Dean Koontz’s 1981 novel, The Eyes of Darkness, mentions a deadly biological weapon ‘Wuhan-400’, developed at the RDNA lab outside Wuhan.  In Emily St. John Mandel’s novel Station Eleven, published back in 2014, the highly contagious Georgia Flu is transported around the world from Russia, and kills 90% of its victims within 12 hours. Within a few short days, the world is in chaos as transport and essential services grind to a halt.  A doctor urges his friend to stock up on food and stay in his apartment, so he purchases seven trolley loads of food and essentials from the supermarket, including one of toilet paper! Planes full of virus-laden passengers are reminiscent of this year’s cruise ships laden with Coronavirus patients, waiting out at sea and denied access to ports.

Along with these interestingly similar scenarios, we discussed whether or not we are living now in an apocalyptic world; how authors might write about this time period in the future; whether the dissolution of law and order is an inevitable outcome of a cataclysmic event; and which three things would be the top priorities to save for future generations.  Suggestions were: seeds, animals, books, and artworks/artefacts.

All in all, it was a very thought-provoking afternoon!

 


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2020 Photography Competition

On Friday the winners of the annual Photography Competition were announced. With so many outstanding submissions again this year, it was a very difficult decision for the judges to make.

Congratulations to the three winning entries!

Middle School Winner: Arnav

Japan’s Culture – I have chosen this picture because it shows Japan’s people and it’s culture. In Japanese culture the lamp symbolises light to help one spiritually in finding the way when faced with darkness (difficulties). That is why lamps are such a common feature in every Japanese temple.

Senior School Winner: Jasper (Jasper won last year in the Middle School category also!)

Light and Dark – My photo depicts the Nakesendo Highway cutting through a forest in Japan. The Emperor during Feudal Japan would be carried by his servants the near 600 km from Kyoto to Tokyo along this highway. This photo shows the forests around the trail that highway robbers used to hide in before attacking the Emperor and his convoy.

Staff Winner: Deb

Solace – After days of navigating through the city of Beijing – with every street, every train, every bus, every road, every restaurant, every monument and every temple swarming with thousands of citizens and tourists – I turned back for one last look through the tunnel to Tiananmen Square, and there was just one man standing guard into the Forbidden City.  For a split second there was a sense of quiet and solace.