Category Archives: Middle School

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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.”


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Manga Pop-up Store

Yesterday boys from across the school were invited to visit the manga-themed pop-up store which was held in the Middle School Library at lunchtime.

Books were provided by Zombster, the manga book specialist store in Oxley, and covered all age ranges and a variety of suitable story lines. Alistair from the store was on hand to answer any questions and offer advice about the titles.

Boys were able to vote on the titles they wished to see added to our collection. Library staff are now working hard to process the books as quickly as possible!

This event has kicked off the start of our manga focus for Term 3 across all three libraries. Upcoming events include craft and food-making sessions, screenings of videos, an author visit and manga drawing tips and techniques.

Already boys are showing a much greater interest in this genre and its popularity will continue to grow as the term unfolds.


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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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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).


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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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