Category Archives: Middle School

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Escape to Everywhere!

Middle School boys took part in our annual Book Week celebrations last week. The Book Week Breakfast for parents and Years 5 and 6 boys was a sell out with author Oliver Phommavanh entertaining the crowd with stories of his journey as a writer. He also spoke to all Middle School boys during the day and proved a hit with his collection of toys and energetic and humorous presentations.

Parents and boys in Years 7 and 8 had the opportunity to attend a special evening event with local author Richard Yaxley who shared  how he is able to create the stories he does  and offered useful writing tips to our aspiring authors.

With the theme “Escape to Everywhere” classes took on the challenge of creating Read posters and drawing a scene from a book into which they would like to escape.

Lunchtime events ranged from trivia competitions to games days to watching the fantastic escape movie “Chicken Run” – with popcorn, of course!


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Somerset Literature Festival 2017

Each year Somerset College devotes an enormous amount of time and energy to organising the Somerset Celebration of Literature, a festival run over three days for schools and two days for the public, and it’s always a great place to listen to new and favourite authors. This year, some of our Year 9s and Year 6s enjoyed a day at the festival, with the Year 9s listening to Mark Smith, Shivaun Plozza, Fleur Ferris and Allison Goodman, and the Year 6s listening to Lance Balchin, Lucas Proudfoot, Matt Stanton and Professor Frankie Falconette.

Mark Smith grew up on a farm and at age 15 he’d never read a book.  He read Catcher in the Rye when recovering from falling off a horse, loved it and went on to become an English teacher and writer. The Road to Winter is book 1 of a trilogy, and is an Australian survival story set in a post-apocalyptic future. Mark’s advice to writers: Write what you know and are passionate about; take risks and persevere.

Alison Goodman creates vivid, believable worlds in her books, and has written fantasy (Eon and Eona), historical (Lady Helen) and science fiction novels (Singing the Dogstar Blues). She also likes to involve the five senses in her stories, and her example of her husband having a cortisone injection in his heel where the needle broke off was definitely told very vividly!

Shivaun Plozza realized she wanted to be an author and looked for different ways of achieving this, again and again until her book Frankie was published. Her advice to writers: Push through every single failure, as often the most determined and most stubborn authors get published.

Fleur Ferris was a paramedic and police officer from the age of 19 years.  She grew up on a 10,000 acre wheat farm and was a survivor of the Ash Wednesday bush fires. She always liked writing, and after her ordeal she wrote about the fires. For her, writing worked like medicine and speeded up her recovery. She has published three books: Risk, Black and Wreck. Fleur’s advice to writers: read widely and write about small incidents.

Lance Balchin is an artist who, through the medium of Photoshop, has created some amazing creatures in his book Mechanica: a beginners field guide. This is the first in a series of books, each page of which consists of a complex illustration and description of a mechanical creature.

Lucas Proudfoot held the audience in the palm of his hand through song, humour and storytelling. He played the didgeridoo, guitar and stomp box whilst encouraging the audience to learn more about indigenous cultures. Student David Butler took to the stage and performed the hula to the delight of other BGS boys in the Hall.

Matt Stanton has published a number of picture books for young people but his latest book is aimed decidedly at middle school readers. Called Funny Kid, the book tells the tale of Max, the class clown who is running for class president. Matt’s presentation had the audience rolling in the aisles and our boys are keen to grab a copy of the book when it is released.

Professor Frankie Falconette is a character brought to life by actor Nadia Sunde. Frankie is a Harry Potter enthusiast who brings to life the characters and creatures from the books. Her presentation included a reading of her favourite part of the first book in the series when Harry goes to Diagon Alley. There were also games to play and trivia questions for eager readers.




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Cold Case – Patrick Logan

To title this post a “Cold Case” couldn’t be more appropriate, as this funny yet educational video (see below) was made last year for the year 5 teachers to assist with their lessons on Patrick Logan.  Mr Russell, our library media specialist, was extremely pleased that even though some of the teachers who featured in the video had moved to other year levels and new staff had come in, they still wanted to utilise this resource.  He really enjoyed getting to edit his old video with the new staff members’ names, and he especially liked it when the year 5 students rushed up to him asking if he was the ‘detective’ who worked for ‘Horrible Hunter’ and the other year 5 teachers. (Apologies to the teachers – let’s hope those names don’t stick!)  Most of all he loved hearing feedback about how engaged the boys have been in the lessons.

Mr Russell says that ‘it would be wonderful to be asked to make some more learning resources for the staff here at BGS this year’.  With a library media officer soon to join the team, he will even have some assistance.  So teachers, send Mr Russell more of these creative curriculum challenges!

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Library Lovers’ Day

The library world over the past ten years has adopted Valentine’s Day and celebrated it as Library Lover’s Day, a day which burst upon the School on Tuesday with displays, competitions and activities. In the Senior Library, a box of chocolates was the prize for a Valentine’s Day quiz, supported in particular by hungry Year 9 boys. Students visiting the Centenary Library had the opportunity to make heart-shaped origami bookmarks which they could take home as a memento.

Year 5 boys in the Middle School Library took Library Lover’s Day to the next level by creating Haiku poetry about the library and/or reading. Boys were able to reflect on the place libraries have in their lives, and produced some lovely poems which been posted on the windows of the library so other boys can read them. At the end of all Years 5 and 6 library lessons this week, each boy was given a heart-shaped chocolate to take away and enjoy at a later time.

A special event for Middle School teachers was the opportunity to find their “Perfect Match”. Teachers completed a form with their likes and dislikes when it comes to choosing a book to read, and then Library staff worked hard to find titles to match. Participants were excited to open their parcels of matched books and all were eager to begin reading them.


Year 5 Haikus

Libraries filled with books
Search engines as they are now
Awesome narratives
By Theo Medek
Cosy small building
Filled with books from all around
Inspiration lies
By Andrew Bracher
From a tree I grow
Across every land I go
Ink flows on pages
By Lucas Tan
In a giant room
Lots of books are there for you
This is the library
By Kimihiro Kamori




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Books and friendship combine in the BGS Book Clubs

The fantastic reading culture at Brisbane Grammar School is reflected in some of the extracurricular activities provided by the libraries.  BGS is lucky enough to have three different active book clubs for students to join throughout their time at Grammar, and these are a great opportunity to engage with books and other boys in a relaxed and social setting.


The Senior School’s Aficionados Club is available to boys in Years 9 & 10. This club discusses both books and movies, and meets in LC309 every second Friday lunchtime. Members are all offered the opportunity to attend the Somerset Festival of Literature later this term, and there is also the possibility during this year that the club will meet with other schools in the area for shared discussions.  If you are interested in joining, contact Ms Oxley.

Years 7 & 8 students may join our Inside Story Book Club which meets every Friday during lunch in the Centenary Library.  Members of the club in the past have represented BGS at the annual Readers Cup Competition, have assisted in organising Library activities such as the ever popular Library Legends and have had the opportunity to meet once a term with St Joseph’s College (Terrace) for a shared book club.  Should you wish to become a member of this club please see Ms Smith in the Centenary Library or attend one of the meetings on a Friday.

The Middle School Library holds meetings every Tuesday during lunchtime for The Lunch Bunch.  Each term Ms Palmer will run activities focusing on a particular topic; currently the boys are learning about coding, while in Term 2 The Lunch Bunch will take the form of a book club.  This club is for Years 5 & 6 boys. Should you require any more information, or if you would like to join, please see Ms Palmer in the Middle School Library.

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A Celebration of Harry Potter

The November opening of the movie Fantastic Bests and Where to Find Them provided a perfect excuse to unleash Pottermania on the Middle School. Already boys have entered trivia contests across the two libraries and also made howlers which they were able to take home.


Next week sees the Magician Contest which will take place in the MS Amphitheatre on Friday, 28 October. Boys who wish to enter have been advised to sign up at MS Reception. Events in the following week will be more Harry Potter-themed craft, as well as a Hogwarts dress up day on Friday, 4 November.  Boys are able to be in costume all day but must wear their school uniform to and from school. There will be a parade at lunch with prizes for the best dressed. We look forward to this celebration of all things Hogwarts.


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Marco Gliori Visit

Poet Marco Gliori held the Year 5 boys enthralled as they watched him perform poems in the Middle School Library last week. Marco has been to BGS many times and is always a popular guest.

As part of the English program, the boys are learning about poetry and meeting and hearing a poet was a unique experience for many. Marco’s presentation included some of his own work as well as such classics as The Man From Ironbark. This rendition included acting out by volunteers from the audience who took on the part of barber, victim, local police and “cool dudes”. There was also a chance for them to learn about rhythm and other poetic devices.

As the boys left the Library they were inspired to begin their own poetic journeys.

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Year 6 Live Keying Task

The Library Digital Media Specialist Mr Russell enjoyed working with the Year 6 teachers and students in the last two weeks of the term, assisting them with their “live news reports” on natural disasters. Students worked in small groups to complete their reports and were introduced to many new ICT skills which will be of great use to them in the future when preparing multi-modal presentations.

The students created PowerPoints which contained all their background photos, graphs, diagrams and videos. They built upon their existing knowledge of PowerPoint, learning advanced skills such as playback settings to get their videos to embed, play full screen, loop and adjust the volume for recordings.  The boys were then able to change their background images and footage while they presented using a remote clicker linked to the computer.   They were also introduced to teleprompting and practised reading their scripts using this method before undertaking the live recordings in front of the live Chroma Key setup.

Each group was “live keyed” into their presentation, appearing in a news studio or in front of a blazing inferno or thunderous storm or whatever their script required. The learning experience for the boys was a big success, being fun and engaging. Many of the boys even chose to dress as reporters and news presenters for their presentations.  When the boys weren’t presenting they were able to watch their peers on screen live and learn about a different natural disaster from the one they had studied.  The completion of the assessed task saw excellent results.



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Author Mick Elliott Visits BGS

Boys in Years 5 and 6 were treated to a special event on Friday last week. Sydney author Mick Elliott visited the school and was a most entertaining and enthusiastic presenter. Mick is the author of The Turners series, a rollicking tale of Leo Lennox who discovers that he is growing a tail right in the middle of the school library on his 13th birthday. He soon turns into a Komodo dragon and in so doing learns that he is a shape-shifter. The second book, Camp Freakout, is due to be released next week so our boys are privileged to be among its first purchasers and readers.

During the session, Mick shared his love of writing with the audience and gave some very useful tips for how to be good writer, including write about what you love, leave out the boring bits and read, read, read!


After school boys were eagerly beginning to read the book and begin their fantastically comic journey with Leo.

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Middle School Science Week 2016

The Library staff joined forces with the Science Department to celebrate Science Week last week. In a very busy schedule, boys and staff took time out to play with and reflect on the use of Technology in STEM, in particular autonomous technology with the theme being Drones, Droids and Robots. Middle School boys were the main target audience and droid races between Darth Vader, R2D2 and Yoda took centre stage one lunchtime. It was fantastic to see the excitement on the faces of the boys as they tried to race their droid to the finish line first. Much hilarity ensued as droids went off track and intercepted each other.

science week 12

One of our Science teachers, Mr Scott Jones, led two sessions; one for Middle School boys and one for Senior School boys. The topic was Top 1-0 Countdown: Superpowers you Could Acquire in your Lifetime. There was also a trivia quiz for boys in Years 7 and 8 with prizes awarded to the top team. Boys in years 5 and 6 took part in a Science in Action event where they built their own hover board CDs using balloons, glue, bottle tops and CDs.

An undoubted highlight was the Robotics Expo in Centenary Library. This showcased the exceptional work that some of our students are doing in this field. There was even a drone which people could attempt to make fly.This joint partnership between the Science Department and the BGS Libraries is valued by both sides and we look forward to continuing its development in the future.