Category Archives: Centenary Library

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One Conqueror to Rule Them All!

In a superb display of skill and calmness under pressure, our champion chess player, Tony Zhong, took on eight other boys or groups of boys in a lunchtime chess simul, winning five of those games before the bell signalled the end of lunchtime.  This involved Tony moving from one table to the next playing eight games simultaneously.  The boys could think about their moves while he played at the other tables, but they had to make their own move in front of him.

There were so many boys wanting to sign up to beat the champion that none of the teachers managed to find a free table!  No-one could come close to beating Tony however, and the only person to slow him down was Marcus, our new School Captain and current Dux of Year 11.

One of our classrooms in the Senior Library is the chess room where chess coaching happens after school, and where our 9-12 Chess Club is held two lunchtimes each week, but there are always boys in there playing before and after school, at morning tea and at lunchtimes.  We also have a number of chess boards set up on various tables throughout the Library and the Learning Commons, and this constant opportunity to play chess helps the boys to focus and to hone their logical and strategical thinking processes, thus improving their academic results.  It is also the reason that BGS has been the champion GPS Chess school for 12 out of the past 14 years, and the champion State finalist team, representing Queensland at the National Schools Teams Chess Championships, for 5 out of the past 7 years.

With Tony in Year 9 as our top player, and with a lot of excellent younger players coming up through the ranks, the future looks bright for Chess at Grammar!!


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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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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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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.