Category Archives: Middle School

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Love Your Pet Day Photo Competition

The Middle School Libraries kicked off this year’s reading promotion by running a photo competition with a difference.

In order to enter boys were required to submit a photo of themselves, their pet and some sort of reading material. This sounds easy, and it was, but it also allowed boys to be creative as they posed for shots. A number of teachers also entered into the spirit.

Pets such as lizards, fish, cats, dogs and even a horse were represented. There were no doubt many funny and also frustrating moments as boys manoeuvred their pets into position.  The competition proved very popular and judging was extremely difficult. Our winners are included here and all entries can be seen on the Middle School Library webpage.

 


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Library Lover’s Day

Move over St Valentine’s because 14 February is also Library Lovers’ Day! This day celebrates our libraries in which workshops are taught, new skills are learnt, study groups meet, games can be played, technology can be used to create, and you can even just sit and read a good book!

Students in Year 5 took time out of their English lesson to celebrate our library. Each boy wrote a haiku about libraries. These were written on post-it notes and placed on a special window display. Upon departure, each child received a special chocolate heart (in the BGS colours of course!). Some boys also created 3D hearts out of books!

Staff members were matched with a book to read based on their preferences. Matchboxes labelled “Your Perfect Match” were distributed alongside the books. These were presented at morning tea where they were also able to enjoy red velvet cupcakes decorated with hearts.

Library Lovers Day was celebrated in the Centenary Library with an opportunity for students to share their favourite books with their peers in order to receive a chocolate heart. This activity proved very popular with the book recommendation table constantly full of students filling out forms which included the title of their favourite book, a blurb and why they liked it. These forms have been placed into a ‘Peer Book Recommendation’ jar which is located on the circulation desk for students who are stuck for a new book idea. Special displays were set up in the Senior Library with stories about love showcasing the diverse nature of the collection.

The Centenary Library has also recognised Random Acts of Kindness week with quotes about kindness from popular books displayed around the library under the title ‘Throw Kindness around like Confetti’. Later in the week students will be invited to contribute their own favourite quotes to this display.

Haiku:

With so many books

It is a place of marvels

I must read them all

By Mac 

 

Talking with your friends

Reading like you just don’t care

Libraries are the best

By Nicholas 

 

Books are piled so high

This is where I go to read

The school library

By Salvatore 


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Game On in the Middle School Libraries

At the beginning of every year, the Middle School Libraries play host to the Years 5 and 7 students for an orientation of their new libraries. This year the students experienced two different but very engaging and exciting hands-on activities that required them to work together in teams to explore the library facilities and resources available to them.

The Year 5 students undertook the challenge to Escape the Library by solving a variety of puzzles and locating books which then allowed them to open many different locks in order to ultimately access their box of treasure.  In the Centenary Library, the Year 7 students took part in a board game called Library Smarts, where team members were required to move their way around a board while completing challenges with the help of an iPad, and writing down expectations learnt from Grammar Man and Grumpy Cat playing cards.

These lessons were embraced by students and teachers alike, with a fantastic amount of enthusiasm and competitiveness. With the increasing popularity of gamification in education, these orientation lessons provide a fun, effective and engaging platform for students to familiarise themselves with the Brisbane Grammar Libraries.


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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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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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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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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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Year 5s are Savvy Scientists

On Tuesday evening the Year 5 rooms were filled with great names from the past and present. Alexander Fleming, Charles Darwin, Edmund Halley, David Attenborough and even Archimedes were just some of the scientists who came to life courtesy of our youngest boys.

The evening was the culmination of a great deal of work by students and Science teachers Dean Littlefair and Peter Hunter in collaboration with teacher librarian Vicki Palmer. While the Science teachers were able to focus on the science, having a teacher librarian on hand meant that boys were able to learn about accessing information. Skills such as defining a task, using print and digital resources, and correctly citing sources were all taught explicitly. A selection of specialised resources were also made available in the library and on the library website.

At the conclusion of the research phase, boys were required to turn their notes into an autobiography, setting the scene for the evening’s events.

It was a fantastic night with parents clearly impressed with the depth of knowledge shown by the boys. While nerves may have been present at the start, once boys settled in and began to share their life stories, they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

David Attenborough (aka Max): “It was really good because everyone dressed up well and was on show. We were all proud to share what we had learned.”

Charles Darwin (aka Will):  “All the adults were asking great questions. It went really quickly and I was able to tell parents of all my great adventures.”