Category Archives: Centenary Library

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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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Science and Tech Activities

The Lunchbox Club participants have been enthusiastically exploring ecological themes and water cycles by cultivating Spice Jar Terrariums. Building on the knowledge they have gained across time in Science, the boys were able to explain comfortably the processes of the water cycles and were even in deep discussion about pressing sustainability and environmental issues.


The eXchange hosted a series of Deconstructing Tech workshops, designed to teach students how to do a ‘tear-down’ of the most popular tech devices. The boys have disassembled various generation iPhones in the first workshop in this series, followed by exploring computers and tablets with Mitchell Collins, one of our IT support staff.

The hottest things right now in animation are Frankentoys. Imagine mashing together a doll and a dinosaur to create Barbiesaurus Rex or gluing your favourite action hero’s head to a troll to make Spidertroll. The fun (or chaos) doesn’t need to end there. After they are created we will be using them in stop motion productions. This simply cannot be boring. Workshops started in week 4, so watch this space for the final versions!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw5ATSVolaI

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Plastic Free at Centenary!

 

Science Week has continued on at Brisbane Grammar School’s Centenary Library, thanks to Library Student Volunteer Ms Teneale Muir.  

 

Starting four weeks ago,  Teneale has worked in all three Brisbane Grammar libraries as part of her university studies placement.  During this time, Teneale has created a Plastic Free theme in the Centenary Library by making a wall display detailing the effects of plastic on our planet, a dragon out of recycled plastic to add to the Fantasy theme currently running in the library, and lastly, running a workshop on reusing plastic rubbish, teaching the boys how to make a phone holder using a plastic bottle.  Students were given all the materials required and enjoyed being able to not only  create something that would hold their phone and lead but also help with reducing waste.

 

Ms Muir has always tried her best to recycle or reuse rubbish where possible.  After watching the ABC’s War On Waste series recently, her knowledge on what plastic is doing to the planet changed, along with some of her family’s rubbish removal habits.  For example, her three year old now knows what soft plastics are and to put them in a separate bin.  These go to their local Woolworths to be recycled rather than go to landfill.  Teneale enjoyed implementing the Plastic Free theme into the Centenary Library for National Science Week’s Future Earth theme, and hopes it provides students with an insight on what plastic is doing to our Earth.

Ms Muir will be finishing her field placement this week, and has thoroughly enjoyed her visit at Brisbane Grammar School.

 


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Science Week – tweaking their curiosity!

Open Day this year marked the first day of National Science Week and was an excellent way to kick off our annual partnership with the Science Department and tweak the curiosity of both young and older visitors. A Forensic Science display in the Senior Library allowed visitors the opportunity to see and use technology and scientific techniques used by the police force to help solve crimes.  We were also very indebted to the University of Queensland ….. Department, for the generous loan of their ……. kit. Visitors were able to explore examples of plaster castings and various species of fly larvae used to help estimate time of death and decomposition rates.  Black light showed up fingerprints, and microscopic investigation of blood, pollen and fibre samples were available for budding young investigators. The hit of the day, however, was a photo booth where visitors could have fun dressing up in detective costumes.

Science Week continued in full swing with Science teachers and teacher librarians working together. To lighten the mood during the week and show the humorous side of science, the Middle School libraries screened episodes of Richard Hammond’s The Science of Stupid, a show that gives detailed explanations of the science behind  breathtaking stupidity caught on camera.

Physics teacher, Scott Jones, also gave an abbreviated version of his TEDx talk –  Where are all the Aliens? – addressing the ongoing question of life in our Galaxy. With 100,000 light years in size and over 100 billion stars, why have we not seen other civilisations out there in the Milky Way Galaxy? Scott examined some of the best ideas concerning the topic and finished with a brief discussion about the need for humanity to take full control of our world and its environment to ensure the future for our children and enable us to one day explore the galaxy.

Middle School Science teachers took over both libraries with practical demonstrations of the physics of air pressure and friction, encouraging students to construct air-powered cars from cardboard and balloons, and then test these experimental models against one another on the racetrack.

As the week came to an end, students from Years 5-8 competed for prizes in exciting year-level-specific Kahoot quizzes, designed and created by Science staff to challenge the students’ scientific knowledge about topics ranging from Chemistry to Astronomy to Biology.

We love partnering with all departments, but Science Week holds a special place on our calendar each year.

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Spray paint stencils

The Lunchbox Club have been busy making industrial art and learning some Photoshop skills along the way. This club is about exploring boys’ creativity in as many different ways possible. We aim to explore emerging technologies and softwares, balanced with related practical activities so there is a fluid mix of minds-on and hands-on projects. This stencil project will result in the boys’ efforts gracing the walls of the Centenary Library. In the coming sessions we will be exploring ecological themes and water cycles by cultivating Spice Jar Terrariums, followed by  a longer project where the boys will be adapting and reconstructing toys to create ‘Frankentoys’ which will then be used to create Stop Motion Animations. Great job boys!


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Readers Cup 2017

In the final weeks of Term 2, two teams of BGS students competed in the Readers Cup Competition, organised by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, in the Brisbane Central Years 5 & 6 and Brisbane North Years 7 & 8 divisions.  Students from schools throughout the district competed in teams of four or five to answer questions on five different set books. This year these books included Mister Cassowary by Samantha Wheeler, My Life and other stuff I made up by Tristian Bancks, Sister Heart by Sally Morgan and The Bone Sparrow by Zara Fraillon.  Each year BGS hosts the Brisbane North Yrs 7 & 8 competition in our Lilley Centre Forum with 23 different schools throughout the district in attendance in 2017.  This event is a great celebration of books and reading and a great way of bringing schools together.

Both BGS teams received placings in the top 12 in their respective competitions, a fantastic result reflecting all their hard work. Students spent much of Term 2 reading their books, making up practice questions and attending lunchtime meetings, and must be commended on their excellent behaviour when representing BGS during the events.  Big congratulations also must be given to Norman Park State School and Brisbane State High School for winning their respective competitions.  We now look forward to next year, to discovering exciting new books, making new friends and working as a team in the Readers Cup Competition for 2018.


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Lunch Bunch Term 2

This term, our small but enthusiastic group of Lunch Bunch students met weekly to read some interesting books. The first was Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr. This proved to be a big hit with the fans of Percy Jackson who love the combination of mythology and action. The boys explored the world of Viking mythology as well as some of the real places in the book such as Mt Rushmore. At the end of the discussion, boys made Viking swords and shields with the help of Library Tech Mr Hills.

Another book which proved a hit was The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the combination of pictures and drawings which told the story. A special Hugo Libguide page allowed the boys to explore Hugo’s world in more detail. They particularly enjoyed the silent movies. At the end of the term we screened the movie Hugo and many more boys joined in to watch. This was a fantastic opportunity to show the real world connections with the book. In particular boys were amazed to learn that a train did actually run through the walls and into the street of the Gare Montparnasse.

Participants in the Lunch Bunch core group were given the opportunity to construct their own automatons. This has been a fun activity with boys eager to complete their gentleman automaton before the holidays.


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Year 6 Squishy Circuits in the Centenary Library

This week the Centenary Library Staff – Ms Dani Smith Teacher Librarian, David Hills Library Technician and Mr Brendan Kelly – Digital Media Officer, provided a great STEAM experience for the year six students through an encounter with “Squishy circuits”. All year six classes were treated to this as part of their science program.

Squishy circuits are working electrical circuits assembled from coloured playdough, battery packs, light emitting diodes, insulating film, small direct current motors and switching elements. They can be put together in a million conceivable ways and with a little luck, lights can switch on and motors spin. The lessons began with Ms Smith taking boys through the concept of serial and parallel circuits, safety matters, the details of diodes and the way currents work in the type of conductors that were being used. The boys listened attentively and then began the process of creating a squishy circuit to their very own design.

It was amazing to see the creativity unleashed. In a very short time, boys had made a whole variety of animals, dinosaurs, curious creatures and much more, all with glowing eyes and spinning propellers. Some had the look of a strange biplane, while others were more like sea creatures from the depths. A feature of each class was how different the creations were between classes and between boys. No two were alike. One or two circuits posed problems, but boys persevered until they fixed those problems. The other striking feature of the Squishy Circuit classes was how busy and productive the boys were. Although every boy was working on his own creation, generally there was plenty of advice and help offered across each table. Boys worked cooperatively, even though it was an individual task.

For people who leave the “A” out of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) pedagogy movement, events such as the Signature Program should give them reason to reconsider their position. The “A” artistic aspect can be part of STEAM in a wholly natural and constructive manner. Boys move from the technical to the creative side of activities in a totally relaxed and natural manner. The tasks are both practical and artistic in an integrated environment.

The many boys who enjoyed their Squishy Circuit experience should think about joining Brendan Kelly’s Lunchbox Club. It happens every Thursday lunchtime in the Centenary Library. See the Grammar Library website for details.


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Epic Adventures in the Land of Remorse

Last week, eight of our Year 7 boys were involved in a collaborative writing workshop with Year 7 students from three other schools.

Together, they were tasked by the Supreme Sorceress (aka author Kirilee Barker), to embark upon a perilous quest in the Land of Remorse (aka The Roma Street Parklands) to defeat a monstrous evil which had been threatening the land and terrorizing its inhabitants.  According to ancient prophecies, four young people together would be able to defeat the monster, but only if they combined their strengths and powers.

Each group of adventurers rotated through eight different immersive activities, to spark their imaginations with ideas to write into their stories. Each group then came up with a shared story-line and setting, at a day-long writing workshop, and now each student will write their own character’s fantasy story about defeating the evil stalking the land.

After reading their accounts of the journey on a shared wiki, the Supreme Sorceress will summon the adventurers one last time as she rewards them for their resourcefulness and writing skills.

Read more about our Spring Hill Young Writers Workshop which has been operating now for six years.


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May the Fourth be With You!!

May the Fourth is the day when lovers of Star Wars around the world join together to celebrate this modern mythology, initiated from the original movies of the 70s and 80s and perpetuated through the decades since.  The timeless themes of heroes rising to stand against the forces of darkness, and the power of friendship and love to shape the world or redeem the fallen are common across all cultures and generations, providing common ground for fans worldwide, and reminding us that we are all connected.

Brisbane Grammar School embraced the fun last week, with trivia competitions across the school from grades 5 to 12 testing the boys’ general knowledge of these great movies.  To balance this intellectual endeavour, we added the thrill of droid races, where the remote control figures of Yoda, R2D2 and Darth Vader were pitted against one another time and again. By far the most popular race of the week was between Mr Conway (Head of Year 7), Ms Zervos (Head of Middle School) and Mr Hallis (Year 7 teacher).