Category Archives: All

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It’s Horror Time!

Students in the Middle School and Centenary Libraries have been exploring the horror genre this term. They have been reading horror stories, listening to horror stories, writing horror haiku, engaging with horror-based activities and much more.

A highlight was the STEM session which was collaboratively planned with teachers from the Science Department. Boys played with bat slime, made dancing ghosts, and had fun making creepy horror noises with dry ice.

As boys always love to create (and eat) food, we also decided to make marshmallow monster pops with chocolate and decorations.

A number of competitions were run across various year levels: a short story, a haiku and a film trailer. This certainly brought out the creative side of our students.

Showing a horror film was mandatory and we chose Coraline. Although many boys had seen it before, they still sat spellbound through lunchtimes as Coraline faced the dangers in her new house.

One student even brought in his giant snails to share in his library, feeling they were appropriately “horrible” to suit the theme!

Our final activity was a demonstration of applying zombie make-up to one of our teachers, Mrs Gardner. Arana Wright, a recent graduate of a special effects course, came in and showed how to make a simple, but extremely effective, zombie look. This was entertaining for participants and the audience alike, with Mrs Gardner being most reluctant to remove the make-up once it was done! Arana also ran a workshop with a small group of boys to show them how to use latex to create fake wounds which look very real and scary.


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Great Debate – Yr 12 Students v Teachers

Last Friday the Forum was full to overflowing with students from all year levels as excitement mounted in the lead-up to our first ever Great Debate between the Year 12 Senior B debating team and three courageous debating teachers.  The topic they were contesting was That Gen X have ruined everything for the Millennials. Both sides were passionate, witty and quick, with a touch of sarcasm thrown in, and the outcome, not surprisingly, was that the Baby Boomers are the real culprits who have created all the problems!

Because we had limited time, the speakers were limited to 4 minutes each, and were gonged off if their speech went more than 4 minutes and 15 seconds! All in all it was a highly entertaining and extremely popular event, with our MC, Deputy Headmaster – Extracurricular, Mark Brusasco, stating that he hopes this event will become an annual occurrence.

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Brian Falkner judges Year 8 Poetry Slam

Last week saw a quick-fire series of outstanding slam poems delivered by the top poets from each of the Year 8 classes.  Their English teachers worked with each class as they wrote their slam poems, and then the boys voted on the best one to represent their class at our annual Year 8 Poetry Slam.

There was a lot of nervousness and anticipation as the Forum filled quickly, despite the fact that the event was held at lunchtime. In fact, some boys even received a standing ovation from their classmates as they took centre stage.

Last year’s winner, Abineash, returned to present his 2016 poem to a new audience, then he took a seat with the other judges – Mr Kobez, our Assistant Head of English; Mr Murray, our Assistant Head of Year 8; and Brian Falkner, a wonderful guest judge who happened to be at the school this week as a writer-in-residence. Each judge held up a card with their score on it, and the totals were calculated. Runner-up scores were equal, but there was no doubt as to who the winner was – Aly, with a perfect score of 4 x 10s for his poem about current issues!! Next year, of course, we will welcome him back as a guest presenter and judge for the 2018 Year 8s.

 


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Lunchbox Club Wows Visitors

A group of QUT students were welcomed to Lunchbox Club by the boys on Thursday lunchtime. The leader of the group Mr Brendan Kelly, showed the visitors a range of activities that the Lunchbox Club has been engaged in this term, and then followed with an intense review of the new graphic processing capabilities of some familiar software packages.

Visitors and Lunchbox Club members were shown an amazing number of ways to duplicate and reshape objects, how to animate them and how to create stunning visual effects. Many of the regular Lunchbox boys were able to contribute a number of really good options at each stage in the creation process. Naturally, the QUT students were very impressed and enjoyed chatting to the boys afterwards, and we look forward to hosting them again in the future.


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Brisbane Writers Festival 2017

Last Friday Ms Sanderson and Ms Smith took 26 Year 8 students down to the South Bank Cultural Precinct to visit the Brisbane Writers Festival.  The day was full of enthralling authors and fantastic opportunities to purchase books, take photos with inspiring authors and get various items signed.  Below are three submissions from students who attended the excursion and have kindly shared their experiences listening to their author of choice.

Garth Nix:

The first speaker of the day was Garth Nix. Garth developed a love of writing and storytelling from a very young age, writing his first book when he was nine. He has since written many fantasy books including the bestseller ‘Sabriel’. Garth was also an incredible storyteller, sharing a story of a ring, which he supposedly found atop a mountain in Persia. Although the story turned out to be untrue, he showed us how exciting storytelling skills and a bit of creativity can make for a great story. He also talked about the importance of persistence for aspiring writers. Garth said his first published book sold quite a few copies but did not change his life. He then continued to write a second book, which all of his publishers refused. He said he could have given up after those two books, but instead kept going and eventually wrote a best seller. Garth’s inspiring messages were a fantastic start to the Brisbane Writers Festival, which was then continued by two more incredible writers, Steven Herrick and Mark Smith.

Harry. AW

Steven Herrick:

On September 8th, 27 lucky grammar boys were able to listen to 3 different authors speak on their experiences. During the 2nd presentation, a poet called Steven Herrick presented on Developing Character. While the presentation wasn’t just about ‘Developing Character’, it was a fun time which explored many other elements of poetry. I’m sure everyone there could agree he brought a lot of fun to his session. He read poems, told stories, all while involving the audience during the whole presentation. He taught us about 2 different styles of poetry, a list poem, which lists off things about a certain subject, and a refrain poem, in which each line starts with the same word. After the lesson on poetry he read some more poems and answered our questions. Most people would easily tell you Steven Herrick’s presentation was definitely a highlight of the event.

Tom. S 

Mark Smith: 

The final speaker of the day was Mark Smith. He runs an outdoor education campus for a large Melbourne Boy’s School. His love of reading came about after a freak horse riding accident where he broke his neck, wrists and many other bones. Surprisingly, he is alive and walking. Since he was bed bound and bored, his mum gave him books, sparking his love of reading which is why he began writing. His two novels, ‘The Road to Winter’ and ‘Wilder Country’ are two dystopian novels in his ‘Winter’ trilogy and have gone on to win numerous awards including appearing in ‘Best Australian Stories’. He talked about how to create a dystopia in a novel, saying you should ask yourself questions such as ‘what has gone wrong?’, ‘how do your characters survive?’ and ‘how far into the future is this?’. Overall, interesting stories and great tips for writing ensured Mark Smith ended the Brisbane Writers Festival on a high note.

Tom. MJ

 


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Music on the Green

At lunchtime on Wednesday, students in Years 9-12 had the opportunity to enjoy our inaugural Music on the Green event, a wonderfully collaborative partnership between the Library eXchange, the Year 12 Public Purpose team and the Music Department.  Both the Public Purpose Program and The eXchange have, as their aim, a desire to foster community and to provide leadership opportunities for the boys, and this event had loads of both. Boys were able to purchase their lunch from the Year 12 sausage sizzle, and then sit and enjoy it while being entertained by the Big Band, conducted by Mr Jim Noble, and the Senior Vocal Group, led by Music Captain, Louis Backstrom.

The Year 12 team was raising money for Bucket of Love, a charity that provides basic supplies to remote villages in the West Papua province of PNG. Started by two PNG sisters who saw the disparity between rich and poor, Bucket of Love steps in to provide various basic necessities in sturdy plastic buckets – items such as school supplies, basic first aid supplies and birthing kits. The villagers and local farmers then re-use the buckets to increase their productivity and income, gradually taking the steps needed to break out of the cycle of poverty. In contrast to providing buckets, money raised from Wednesday’s sausage sizzle will be sent to rural communities so they can spend it locally, thereby supporting their local economies.

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Father’s Day Coaster Crafting

To celebrate Father’s Day, students in the Centenary Library were given the opportunity to participate in a craft activity; a gift that could be given to their father over the weekend.  Year 7 & 8 boys were asked to bring in 3 to 4 family photos or other pictures they think thought Dad might like and were then given the task of turning these into beautiful drink coasters.  This activity required students to paste their photos onto pre-cut pieces of cork and then coat the coaster in varnish so that it would not be ruined by a hot or cold drink.

Running over two lunch times, this activity created some lovely conversation about family life and explanations about the photos being used while also encouraging students to explore their creative side.  Presents were then wrapped in cellophane and taken home to proudly give to fathers on Sunday where they would take pride of place around tables and lounges in Brisbane and beyond. A big thank you to all who participated and especially to Mr Hill and Mr Kelly who took time out of their day to help out and supplied materials to make this activity possible.


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Legendary 12 Author Visit

Our students were offered the amazing opportunity to attend a session with local author Son Bac Ngo. Son has published three books so far in his Legendary 12 series. The first book, in a picture book format, explains how the animals of the Chinese zodiac came to be. The remaining books are graphic novels, each one focusing on an individual animal. Mus Mouse and Ole Ox are already available and keenly read by our boys. The next instalment is due soon.

Son spoke about reading his first comic book on arrival in Australia as a young Vietnamese refugee and how he loved the great adventures of Superman, but also used the graphic format to help him learn English. This experience led to a life long love of comics and  became the inspiration for creating his own series.

Son is a parent of two boys currently enrolled here at Brisbane Grammar School. For Jag and Eagle, the visit was a unique opportunity to see their father in his professional role as an author. The audience was thoroughly entertained and enthralled by Son’s own personal story as well as his journey as a writer. We truly appreciate the time and effort from Son and his wife, Thuy, in supporting reading  for our boys and providing a chance to meet a real-life author.


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Magnificent Manga

Pikachu, Genga and Wobbuffet have been special guests in our Middle School Libraries in Term 3 with the exciting world of manga becoming our special focus.

Each week in the term we have offered different activities run by our Library staff during lunchtimes. These certainly generated extra interest in the theme. Primarily focussed on boys in Years 5-8, we did offer two opportunities for the entire student body to be involved.

We began with a pop-up bookstore. All students (years 5-12) were invited to come and peruse a selection of books which were provided by Zombster, a manga and anime specialist store here in Brisbane. Boys were able to nominate the titles that looked interesting to them and we purchased a number of these. This was a great way of involving student voice in the selection of titles for our collection and the books were processed as quickly as possible to maintain the momentum the store generated.

Over the course of the term, boys have competed for Pokemon prizes via Kahoots, learnt how to draw manga, created dragons, watched anime movies and even created Pokemon cookies. Papercraft Pikachus have also been created and carried home proudly. Our Years 7 and 8 Library ran a Grumpy Cat in Manga competition which allowed boys to create a new scenario for the mascot digitally or on paper. We also ran a Pokemon hunt with augmented reality which was a huge hit.

We were not just limited to manga and we broadened the focus to encourage boys to read graphic novels as well.

We are fortunate to have a parent who is currently writing a series of graphic novels based on the Chinese zodiac. Called the Legendary 12, the initial picture book explains the origin of the animals and each subsequent graphic novel tells the story of one of these animals and their adventures as they seek to recover missing diamonds. Son Bac Ngo visited this week to speak to an audience of boys from Years 5-12, all of whom are interested either in manga as a genre or in the art form or simply in the stories themselves.

This focus on manga has certainly increased the interest in this genre in our Middle School libraries. Boys who were already keen readers have appreciated the new titles on offer and those who had not read any previously have enjoyed the new experience.

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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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