Category Archives: All

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A Fantasy Quest in the Land of Remorse

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:

  • Collaborating with people who were not close friends,
  • Inclusivity and respecting differences,
  • Actively listening to each other,
  • Following instructions,
  • Being prepared,
  • Creative thinking,
  • Problem solving,
  • Taking initiative,
  • Being persistent but resilient,
  • Reflecting on character strengths,
  • Reflecting on successes and how to improve.

To see more of the ideas on which this program was based visit Spring Hill Young Writers Group.


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May the 4th – Star Wars Mania

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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.


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Live Music in the Learning Commons

This week the Lilley Centre was again host to some of our talented musicians here at Brisbane Grammar School for this year’s  ‘Music in the Learning Commons’.  This event saw the debut of Table 64, an original student band, performing four contemporary pieces of music for their peers at lunchtime.  The packed-out Learning Commons was not disappointed as the boys entertained both students and staff with guitars, drums and the baby grand piano.

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A huge congratulations to the boys for their wonderfully entertaining performance, which can be viewed here:


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Centenary Library plays host to talented writers

It has been a busy start to the term in the Centenary Library with two very talented writers visiting to present and work with some very lucky Middle School students. Aspiring story writers and poets got the chance to develop their skills and meet and work with some of the most creative and successful writers and presenters in Australia.

In Week 2 the library hosted a three day visit by Australian Poetry Slam Champion Philip Wilcox.  Working with Year 8s, Philip took each class through writing and memory techniques to help them create their own slam poem as a complement to their poetry studies. Next Monday the boys will showcase their work in the Year 8 Poetry Slam competition.

This week popular author Tristan Bancks conducted a ‘Writer in Residence’ workshop for a group of selected students from years 5 -7.  Students were taught Tristan’s writing and editing processes and were given the opportunity to work on their own 500 words short story. As Tristan will later provide feedback on these stories this is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring writers to receive advice from a successful author.

 


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Preparing students with Signature Program 2018

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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.

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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.

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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.


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Brisbane Writers Festival 2018

Last Friday Ms Sanderson and Ms Smith took a group of 18 Year 8 students to visit the Brisbane Writers Festival for 2018.  Throughout the day students were lucky enough to see Jessica Watson, Cally Black and Veronica Roth present and were also given the opportunity to meet the authors and get their books signed.  Three boys generously volunteered to write about their experiences at the writers festival, below in their own words they explain what the presentations were like.

Jessica Watson by Ben

The excursion had only just begun; fervent ushers and murmurs resounded around the auditorium as everyone waited in frantic anticipation for the speech to commence.  The last few classes from various schools all over QLD flooded in, filling up the last few rows, the methodical, hearty thumping of worn shoes against the carpet could be felt from below.  The whispers increased to a highly active banter, and everyone was tensing up as the atmosphere grew shrill.

Then, silence.  Jessica Watson, the woman of the moment, rose to the stand and the audience went dead quiet.  The focus was completely on her, all spotlights shining directly at the center of attention, the star of the show.  The whole of the audience was entranced; Jessica was about to present.  She began, recounting the childhood experiences that led to her passion for the wondrous allure of fantasy and the beginning of a great, sea bound adventure.; her solo journey around Australia in a sailboat.  After a brief elaboration of her dyslexia and her dear friend who read for her, she talked about the perils and wonderful experiences she had sailing around Australia, all alone.  The fairy, fantasy stories that kept her company on the seas, the tragic failure of her first attempt, after crashing into another ship, the graceful birds that would fly by time and time again and the storms that threatened to halt her progress indefinitely.  But her boat, propelled by not only wind but her sheer determination and grit alone, powered on, and, after a lonesome, soulful journey spanning 210 whole days, she made it home. Welcomed with the adoring embrace of fans, supporters, family, friends, paparazzi and even the Prime Minister himself.  This epic voyage presents itself as an inspirational tail of courage and bravery, the way she powered onward in the face of danger and doubt, and her relentless effort to prove her worth to the world and herself, to become something more than just an afraid little girl in a big, daunting world.  It’s truly remarkable what she achieved out there, and the audacity to have even attempted such a feat and not only hit that milestone but surpass it as the youngest person to have done it, at the age of 16, is nothing short of incredible.

Continuing on, she talked about one of her latest books called Indigo Blue, which features themes of fantasy, sailing and mystical awe.  The influences and passions in her life shaped her emotionally, and with that, they worked their way into her writing.  The experiences do shape the author in incredible ways, after all.  Without the unique lives we lead we wouldn’t have as many exceptional stories, and it’s a miracle that we’re so blessed so as to be able to have readily available accessibility to such wonderful talks and to be able to hear people like Jessica Watson present their life stories to people like us live. Inspiring new generations to do their own thing with the influence of such phenomenal speakers.

Finally, the presentation came to a Q & A session, signalling the final moments. A short, awkward moment of students unsure of what to ask about was quickly broken by an eager, young girl at the front of the auditorium.   As she answered each question, more and more hands shot up, each one from another curios, young learner, yet to start their own grand adventures.  perhaps some ofthe people in this very auditorium will grow up to have thier own remarkable story to tell, either on the pages of a book or live to an audience of newer, younger people, still learning about the world just like us right now.

i have to personally thank Jessica WAtson for doing such a wonderful job at inspiring the local youth of today, and for leaving in us a significant imprint on our minds that surely will help push someone else cloer towards thier goals and help them achieve thier hopes and dreams, so as to continue the cycle of inspiration. With this, i close with a wolesome sentiment, so that may people like Jessica Watson be able to continue to nspire next generations to do thier own special thing, and that you yourself may one day be able to do something great doing the thing you love, just like Jessica Watson.

Cally Black by Ollie

Cally Black is the winner of the 2015 Ampersand Price for her novel In the Dark Spaces.  She describes herself as a sci-fi mastermind and states that you must read widely, feeding your brain with the right ingredients to be able to write well.  Some of her great quotes about this were “you can’t watch one Star Wars and be a science fiction expert”, “you put some bees in your bonnet and shake it up” and “feed your brain with spice”.

Cally inspired the writers in the audiences to think about what drives their characters and to write what they love.  She explained that the author should show the audience what their characters were like and not simply tell them.  She described the process of publishing a story, how the first book is a real labour of love, written over a long time and when it comes to the second book the process is not necessarily easier, in ways it could be more difficult.  In the Dark Spaces was short listed for this years CBCA ‘Book of the Year: Older Readers’, a young adult thriller about a deep space kidnapping, Cally Black is certainly an author to watch.

Veronica Roth by Tyler

Veronica Roth spoke passionately of Tim-tams, Vegemite and the Australian wildlife.  In the interview, she was questioned about her almost overnight fame and how she adjusted.  She spoke of writing everyday as a child and devoting most of her free time to reading and writing.  After the popularity of her first novel, she highlighted how her second book Insurgent, was written.  she mentioned that it was beneficial to shut out all influences and speculation and focus on the needs of the book.

Later she was asked about her latest novel, Carve the Mark.  Veronica spoke about the affect a language can have on people.  She spoke of how she was influenced by George Orwell’s 1984 and how limiting ones vocabulary can limit their thoughts and emotions.

Characterisation was also discussed in her interview, flaws were emphasised, and having your characters be interesting was her biggest point.  She was profoundly annoyed at the term “unlikable characters”.  She said that all characters can make mistakes, and you should not hate them fora a small misstep.


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Spring Hill Young Writers 2018

Last Tuesday afternoon a group of Year 7 BGS students visited St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace for their final Spring Hill Young Writers session for 2018. For the past 2 terms this group of boys have been working with students from BGGS, Terrace and All Hallows and author Lance Balchin to create creatures and stories set in the Mechanica world. Meeting four times over the past year students have learnt about Photoshop, how to refine their creative writing, team work and the editing process. Some fantastic work was created both in story form and art work and students had the great experience of forming lasting friendships with students from other schools who shared their interests and skilss.   Congratulations to our very own Jaden who took home the award for Best Writing Craft.  We really do have some budding talented authors here at BGS, we look forward to seeing what they create in the future.


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Banned and Challenged Books

Many books have been banned over many years for a wide variety of reason. Some for challenging a set of a beliefs held by sections of a society, others for concerns for the reader’s virtue or fragile mental health.

Occasionally the comedy writes itself.  For instance, George Orwell’s 1984 was banned in the USA for being pro-communist and in The Soviet Union for being anti-communist.

More recently, The Kite Runner, 13 Reasons Why and George.  For promoting Islam, discussing suicide and depicting a transgender child, respectively.

Banned and challenged books offer an important opportunity to view the world through differing perspectives.  To experience different ways of thinking about the world, and learn from uncomfortable or foreign experiences.  The freedom to read and express controversial ideas are essential elements to an excellent education and a healthy society.

Rebel! Stand up for your right to be amused or offended, frightened or insulted, devastated or exalted.  Read something that someone, somewhere thinks you shouldn’t.

Ray Bradbury once said “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture.  Just get people to stop reading them.”

 


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Library on the Lawn

Excited Year 5 boys donned their book character costumes, grabbed their favourite books and headed to the inaugural Library on the Lawn event recently. The event, held on the Boarders’ Lawn, was planned to provide an opportunity for boys to engage with reading in a different way from our usual Library lessons.

Guest author Samantha Wheeler visited and spoke to the boys about her books which are adventure stories based around an iconic Australian animal. She inspired the audience with her passion for the environment and her desire to help preserve our native animals. She thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet our students and hear about their reading habits and costumes. Samantha said she was impressed with the enthusiasm with which they shared their books.

In addition to listening to Samantha’s address and asking questions, boys took part in a book trivia quiz, shared their chosen stories and ate cupcakes. It was a most successful event and one that will surely be remembered by boys and staff for a long time.

Special mention must be made of the teachers who also got into the spirit and dressed up. Their support for this event was outstanding.


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Year 5 Boys are Savvy Scientists!

Charles Darwin, William Harvey, Galileo and even David Attenborough “visited” the Year 5 classrooms this week as students took on the role of a famous scientist and showcased their learning to proud families. Each boy was eager to share his knowledge of the work and legacy of his particular scientist, and took great delight in finding costumes and props that would best illustrate his/her significant achievements.

The evening followed a lengthy research task which was collaboratively taught by the teacher librarian and the the Year 5 Science teachers. Skills taught included using print materials, navigating Britannica online, identifying relevant information, note-taking and referencing.

While many of the boys found the task challenging, there is no doubt that persistence paid off and they were very proud of their achievements as they were able to field all manner of questions from parents and older brothers who had been a “savvy scientist” themselves.