Category Archives: Middle School

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Smart Start to 2019!

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The start of a new school year is an exciting time for both students and staff with anticipation of a busy and exciting year ahead. We are also excited to say hello to many new boys starting their Brisbane Grammar School journey.

Here at BGS Library we welcome our new students with a comprehensive Library Orientation program which aims to promote library services, introduce the friendly and helpful library staff, our HUGE range of books and graphic novels, and promote the library as a safe space where boys can have fun, quietly read, create and collaborate.

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With over 100 new Year 5 students across 8 classes Teacher Librarian Ms Palmer introduces the boys to a little game she likes to call ‘Escape the Library!’. Teams of boys are challenged to solve puzzles, find items and decipher codes that teach them about the essentials of the Middle School Library such as how to find books on the catalogue, how our Library Management System works and the exciting events that boys can be apart of  throughout the year. As boy’s race to the finish line their excitement is palpable as they finally unlock all 5 locks and open the big red box.

Over in the Centenary Library Teacher Librarian Ms Smith alongside her popular and much loved CLIB mascot Grumpy Cat runs ‘Library Smarts’ for over 250 Year 7 students across 9 classes – with some brand new to BGS. ‘Library Smarts’ is a specially designed board game that introduces the Year 7 boys to the expectations of moving into this new space and giving them the ownership of creating a positive framework of Centenary Library guidelines that students and visitors follow when using the library.

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After being divided into team’s students roll the dice to move around the Monopoly-like board, getting tips from Grammar Man and Grumpy Cat along the way and completing photo challenges using iPads. As the boys move about their new library familiarising themselves with what and where everything is team work is paramount for collecting clues and sharing them with team mates.

After 9 classes Ms Smith was especially impressed with one particular Year 7 team who managed to create a massive 42 guidelines for implementation in the Centenary Library. Well done boys!

Valuable and exciting library lessons like these allow our Teacher Librarians to capture these boy’s imaginations and actively engage them with the learning process through play. Using gamification methods like these also help build their non-cognitive skills that are just as fundamental for a student’s learning and success throughout their education.


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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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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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Library on the Lawn

Excited Year 5 boys donned their book character costumes, grabbed their favourite books and headed to the inaugural Library on the Lawn event recently. The event, held on the Boarders’ Lawn, was planned to provide an opportunity for boys to engage with reading in a different way from our usual Library lessons.

Guest author Samantha Wheeler visited and spoke to the boys about her books which are adventure stories based around an iconic Australian animal. She inspired the audience with her passion for the environment and her desire to help preserve our native animals. She thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet our students and hear about their reading habits and costumes. Samantha said she was impressed with the enthusiasm with which they shared their books.

In addition to listening to Samantha’s address and asking questions, boys took part in a book trivia quiz, shared their chosen stories and ate cupcakes. It was a most successful event and one that will surely be remembered by boys and staff for a long time.

Special mention must be made of the teachers who also got into the spirit and dressed up. Their support for this event was outstanding.


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Year 5 Boys are Savvy Scientists!

Charles Darwin, William Harvey, Galileo and even David Attenborough “visited” the Year 5 classrooms this week as students took on the role of a famous scientist and showcased their learning to proud families. Each boy was eager to share his knowledge of the work and legacy of his particular scientist, and took great delight in finding costumes and props that would best illustrate his/her significant achievements.

The evening followed a lengthy research task which was collaboratively taught by the teacher librarian and the the Year 5 Science teachers. Skills taught included using print materials, navigating Britannica online, identifying relevant information, note-taking and referencing.

While many of the boys found the task challenging, there is no doubt that persistence paid off and they were very proud of their achievements as they were able to field all manner of questions from parents and older brothers who had been a “savvy scientist” themselves.

 

 


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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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Book Bowling Fun!

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Boys in Year 6 have been brushing up on their catalogue skills. With a lesson on the Dewey Decimal System under their belts, it was time to tackle the issue of how to locate a book they want to read once they have found it in the catalogue. Prac teacher librarian Mrs Lusink and Ms Palmer planned out an informative and fun task. Boys were shown a short clip on how to find a book in the catalogue and then given a title of a book taped onto the side of a wooden skittle. The challenge was to find the book in the catalogue, record the call number information and then retrieve the book from the shelves. This was a timed challenge and  the number of skittles set up to be bowled over depended on the number of books found in the set time. The first four students to present the matching book and skittle were then able to bowl along with the class teacher. The search was repeated and the top Year 6 class won a prize.

This was an incredibly energetic and enthusiastic activity and enjoyed by all. Thanks must go to Anna Zbacnik for her original idea as the activity was found on the A to Z Library blog.


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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


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Book Week Celebrations

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The Middle School community celebrated Book Week last week with the theme “Find Your Treasure”. It was a terrific week with a range of activities on offer for all boys as well as two community events.

The Book Week Breakfast was held on Thursday morning in Centenary Hall with special guest Tim Harris. Boys and parents in Years 5 and 6 were treated to a fantastic performance by the Chamber Choir as well as a poetic introduction to Tim by student Thomas Ruddell. Tim was most entertaining as he dared the audience to think creatively and provided some inspiration for doing so. His books proved popular at the store and many of his titles sold out.

Boys and parents in Years 7 and 8 were equally enthralled by guest Lance Balchin who challenged his audience with concepts of artificial intelligence and the place robots will have in the future. He also demonstrated his amazing skills with Photoshop and inspired boys to have a play with this software.

Lunchtimes saw boys embarking on treasure hunts, leaning about Blackbeard’s lost treasure, competing for prizes in our trivia competitions, donning gear for the  pirate photo booth and joining in the fun of the Pirate Plunder, a human version of Hungry Hippos.

This was a great week and it was pleasing to see the community come together to celebrate reading.


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Book Week 2018 day one kicks off with ‘Pirate Plunder’.

Scurvy ridden pirates arrived in the Middle School Library to compete in the pirate version of the game ‘Hungry Hippos’ at lunchtime.  ‘Pirate Plunder’ is essentially the same except the boys themselves are the hippos and try to pillage and plunder the booty back to their teammate.  Led by Captain Russell, teams of scallywags and ruffians competed for pride, glory and chocolate pirate bullion.  The theme for Book Week this year is “Find your Treasure”, and every day the library will be running exciting activities for the boys.

Arrrr, avast!  It were a fun game to be sure me matey. Now ye be makin’ certain ye come back to the library for more piratey fun each lunchtime this week!