Category Archives: Centenary Library

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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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International Friendship Day

Earlier this term, 8I promoted International Day of Friendship as part of the ‘Learn to Lead’ program. This day was created by the United Nations to promote the fact that friendships can enhance trust, develop a sense of community, and contribute to a more united and peaceful world. The week culminated with a ‘Friendship Photo Booth’ where Middle School boys had a chance to pose with their mates and celebrate the important friends in their lives.  The library really enjoyed being a part of this wonderful event.  Here is a video, showcasing many of the funny poses the boys did with their friends.

 


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Year 7 Storytellers Wow the Judges!

The standard of competition in our Year 8 Poetry Slam is getting stronger each year and now we know why – our Year 7 boys are outstanding storytellers and performers and this is feeding through!

At our second annual Year 7 Story Slam both teachers and judges were astonished, firstly by how well-written the boys’ ballads were; secondly by how well the boys had memorised their ballads, and thirdly by how well they performed them for the audience.

 

Each class had a member represented in the competition who had written their own ballad as part of their English course.  Story Slam representatives were chosen through an in class vote after all students had performed their original ballad to their individual class.   This years ballads featured themes such as kayaking,  the forgotten ANZACs,  school and even talking moles.  7F’s representative Jaden took home the 2018 title with a passionate retelling of an intense Mahjong match against his Aunty.  After such marvelous performances it will be exciting to see what the Year 8 students can create come term 4 during their Poetry Slam.

 

 


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Something Squishy This Way Comes!

Our Year 6 students participated some very squishy lessons recently exploring electrical circuits using play doh, battery packs, insulating material, LEDs, small motors, buzzers and switches.  This has been an awesome way to explore electricity and conductivity in a hands-on and fun way.

In the first lesson Ms Smith guided the students through the basic concepts of electrical circuits, basic safety and how to make simple series and parallel circuits.  The boys followed along with close attention, as they moved though the activities.  Once the basic concepts were clear, the boys were set loose to experiment in creative ways, incorporating these different circuits and insulating material into crazy sculptures.   Trolls with glowing eyes, creatures from the deep with glimmering lures to draw in unwary prey, carrots in sunglasses and planes with whirring propellers were just some of the wonderful creations produced.  In an astonishingly short period of time each class crafted creatures and inventions in a seemingly never-ending stream of creativity and variation.

Students returned to the library for a second session this year involving four different circuit challenges that they needed to complete independently.  They were able to work on their problem solving and resilience in this lesson to understand why their circuit may not have been successful the first time.    Students met these challenges well with some individual experimentation, collaborative effort and the occasional instructor expertise.


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BGS Plays Host to Fellow Book Lovers

In recent weeks our BGS Book Clubs have been lucky enough to host  book club members from both BGGS and Terrace.  These wonderful opportunities offer the students a chance to engage with books and students of a similar age in a social setting.  The Inside Story Book Club, comprised of students from Years 7 and 8,  meets once a term with boys the same age from Terrace.  This term the boys have been enjoying the intriguing science fiction novel Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card, a story about a boy who can see the paths of others throughout history.  Pathfinder created a lively discussion around time travel, character development, world building and the implication of various story lines being interwoven throughout a novel.

 

Our Year 8 and 9 Book Club boys also enjoyed an animated discussion with Libellum Book Club members from Girls Grammar, exploring the many social issues in the book Liquidator, by Andy Mulligan. The story traces a few days in the lives of students on work experience who discover that a top legal firm is assisting a multi-million dollar soft drink company to cover up the disastrous effects of its fizzy drinks on a young boy  dying from uncontrolled diabetes.

We looked at part of the documentary Dying for Drugs. and comparisons were drawn to the movie The Constant Gardener, based on John Le Carre’s book, where a large drug company is experimenting with a new tuberculosis drug on African villagers suffering from AIDS, and to Erin Brockovich, a movie based on the true story of an environmental activist who takes on the Pacific Gas and Electric Company over its contamination of drinking water with a dangerous chemical.

The harmful effects of too much sugar also provoked some interesting discussion, with reference to the TV programs Super Size Me and Four Corners – Sugar, but the most interest came from this Sugargram Infographic.  We’re looking forward to many more shared book club meetings and compelling discussions.

 


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STEAM Soap Making

Recently the boys went back to basics with the ultimate STEAM activity…soap making. Soap making is a perfect mix of chemistry and creativity. Our aim was to make ‘sustainable’ soaps using all natural ingredients. The boys made ‘castile’ olive oil soaps, coffee scrubs and cucumber and mint rejuvenation bars.

Our goal was to get our soaps made and dry in time for Mother’s Day. Mission accomplished. We hope you enjoy your soaps (and had a fantastic Mother’s Day!)

 


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New and improved library website for 2018

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We’ve been hard at work since the start of the year refreshing our library website to make it more appealing and accessible to our students as a go-to destination for their studies and reading enjoyment, and easier for library staff to share the valuable resources that will help students with their assignments.

Our revamped site has an exciting new home page design with more up-to-date content, recap of events and activities as they happen, links to our eBook and audiobook suppliers and general information we think users should know.

Based on feedback we have given the eresources space a much needed face-lift. When student’s login into the eresources tab they will see that each subject has had its individual page updated with new click-through graphics for each corresponding subject databases, updated ClickView and EnhanceTV graphics that are now single sign-on for ease of use, and articles that we think are crucial reading for understanding the subject. The presentation of these valuable services allows the students to navigate them with ease while making more informed decisions when it comes to analysing the information they find.

We are also featuring new books in our homepage’s hero headers. These are books that we feel are essential reading for both students and staff. Perhaps they have won awards or are considered classics in the literature world. These will be updated weekly so be sure to check back regularly so you don’t miss our picks and Monthly Top 10’s.

We are continually working on the site so be sure to watch this space! We also welcome your feedback (suggestions, complaints and compliments if you have any 😊) so please send an email to library@brisbanegrammar.com, or come and see us at the desk. Your feedback will help us improve the site for everyone.

Visit the library website at libguides.brisbanegrammar.com/libraryhome