Category Archives: All

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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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Middle School Book Fair

This week, the Middle School Library hosted its annual Book Fair. Boys were eager to come along and see what was on offer. Many books and other fun items were purchased. Thanks to the many students, staff and parents who have made purchases, and to Vicki Palmer, who is the driving force behind all Middle School library events. We appreciate the support of Dymocks Brisbane who had to restock popular items daily and also supplied specially requested books. The Grammar libraries will soon have more new books and we thank the Middle School community for your generosity in supporting this initiative.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss


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Junior Jedis at the Lunchbox Club

“Ben! I can be a Jedi. Ben, tell him I’m ready!” (Thumps head on ceiling.)

The Lunchbox Club boys have been “constructing their own lightsabres” (sorry Darth!) and finding fun ways to repurpose used plastic printer cartridge components, PVC, and other typical components you would usually find lying around in a junk shop on Tatooine. We’ve also just made a deal that will keep the Empire out of here forever and are always happy to have new members!

So remember…

  • Nobody is too short to be a stormtrooper.
  • We will never tell you the odds.
  • You won’t have a bad feeling about this.
  • You’ll find we’re full of surprises.
  • We may be the droids you’re looking for!

So, unless you would prefer another military target…or wish to be a scruffy looking Nerf herder…then JOIN US, because this ‘aint like dusting crops’ boys!

Our Lunchbox Club is a space that provides a balance of hands-on and minds-on activities for boys eager to explore a range of technologies and creative interests. The Club provides a makerspace, always with a focus on STEAM activities aimed at supporting curriculum learning while enhancing students’ digital skills portfolios from early on. Recently, the boys have focused on exploring fun ways to recycle and repurpose waste materials. Technological waste and plastic components have been given new life as the boys fashioned these unwanted leftovers into lightsabres. The project has been so successful we are now running Prop Shop activities as part of regular Lunchbox Club activities.

 

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Chopstick Challenge to Celebrate Multiculturalism

Our first ever Chopstick Challenge, organised by two of the Year 11 SRB boys to celebrate the different cultures at BGS, was an electrifying contest between teachers and students as they raced to pick up a variety of challenging objects with a pair of chopsticks. These included: marbles, toothpicks, thumbtacks, pins, smarties, coins and even a pen from a bottle of water!!

Our Head of Physics, Ms Chan, was a fabulous MC, calling the heats and the final and adding great enthusiasm and excitement to the event. Many were keen to try their hand, but few could match the skill, speed and coolness under pressure of our Head of English, Mr Howes, who managed to blitz the competition to take home the ultimate prize –  a hat full of lollies!!  See more photos at our BGS Facebook page.

 


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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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