The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville

This term students are studying The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville and the nature of the task lends itself to some imagination and creativity.

To foster this process, a collaborative activity has been set up in the Winifred Berry Information Centre and it is interesting to see staff and students working in such a different manner.



Year 6 Master Note Taking and EBSCO Resources

This is a real advantage of having year 6 on the Senior Campus with access to resources recognised by tertiary institutions and teachers realistically preparing them for Years 7 – 12.

Students were introduced to the resource first with a guided walk-through, then given a model of how to take notes from the resource. The next stage will be teaching them how to reference the source, and how to create a written response using their notes and their own words.

EBSCO is available at home through the SIMON homepage and the Cornell note paper can be downloaded from the link on this blog post.

This is the sample note page – it is deliberately messy – notes are something you take quickly and which only need to be legible to the author:

note taking example

These images indicate the location of the resources and what the students have to complete next:


Year 6 note taking



Debating Issues with Year 11 English

One of the best aspects of working with classes is the need for the teacher-librarian and Library assistant to engage with the subject’s content and engage with the Library catalogue offerings. This week Mrs. Bradbeer’s Year 11 English class was booked in to prepare for in class debates.  Three topics were set (chosen from the Debating Association of Victoria) and each provided a research challenge in terms of locating information to underpin the arguments.

Debating skill development and examples – an OLIVER search revealed some debating resources explaining tactics, rules and protocols.  These were displayed in the reading are where they were working during their English lesson, and the QR code below was added to a sign, linking them to an OLIVER search result of these titles and relevant websites.

debating resources

The EBSCO data base offers a range of peer reviewed and newspaper articles, and ClickView has online video material to support the debaters with content generation in terms of their presentation and persuasion techniques. These resources are accessible to all students through SIMON (our learning management system).



The three topics:

  1. That parents should not be allowed to refuse medical treatment for their child.


2. That we should fear the development of artificial intelligence


3. That we should abolish the ATAR system of university entrance


·       A summary of the ATAR system from VTAC:

·       In 2016 the Higher Education Standards Panel released a report on aspects of the ATAR system. You can read the report at and a media article summarising the report at

·       An article considering alternative university entrance systems:

·       A discussion on positive and negative aspects of the ATAR:

·       A newspaper article about mental health and the VCE:

And the search techniques recommended for EBSCO:

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It was wonderful to work with each group and observe their tactics, as well as support their content development and growing understanding of how to present a case for either the affirmative or the negative.  I look forward to hearing about their debates and the results that the adjudicator arrives at when each participant presents their case.



Dare to DEAR

A collaboration between our Year 9 English teachers, Mrs. Bradbeer and Miss. Hodge, and the teacher-librarian commenced this week.

Year 9 English DARE Reading Project – Drop Everything and Read

The aim of the program is to get Year 9 students reading a range of different texts, trying new books and taking a few risks. The teachers are hoping that by the end of the year our Year 9s will have DARED to read widely and engage with a range of texts. So why should we read, and read a lot?


Why should our Year 9s  read and read a lot?

This article suggests that simply reading a novel can improve your brain connectivity.

“The researchers found that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Interestingly, reading fiction was found to improve the reader’s ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to the visualization of a muscle memory in sports.”

Reading is also where we learn about language and words, how we structure them to communicate and convey meaning. Good readers often become good writers. Improved literacy skills will benefit you in all your subjects.

Our DARE program will see all of us encouraging our students to work hard on reading texts together as a whole class and encouraging one another to read individually. How will we do this?

In consultation with the relevant English teacher and myself, students will choose a novel to start reading this term. Some will read several. Students are expected to bring this novel to class so that if we have time we will Drop Everything and Read. At home, we want to encourage students to make time to Drop Everything and Read. This might mean saying no to more time on a smartphone, iPad, the TV or your PS4.  All students should make time to read for 20 minutes each day.


So how well did our inaugural lesson go? Sixteen Year 9H students borrowed a book that they may never have considered before.  Eleven from Year 9G did likewise. This is excellent compared to many students usual habit of reading for the duration of their lesson and then putting the book back on the shelf and hoping that they might find it when the next lesson comes around! There were an additional seven students who continued reading a book that they had borrowed last lesson.

So we are not yet to 100% but we have made a big step in the right direction!

Go Year 9 – we dare you to be reading heroes!

See what Year 12 English has been up to this week in our Library.


Year 12 English

The inimitable Mr. Wilson has started a support group for students to come into the library at specified lunchtimes to discuss aspects of the text currently being studied. Currently, this is Alistair MacLeod’s The Island. This is a collection of short stories set against the unforgiving landscape of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  These stories are all concerned with the complexities and mysteries of the human heart. Steeped in memory and myth and washed in the brine and blood of the long battle with the land and the sea, they celebrate a passionate engagement with the natural world and a continuity of the generations in the face of transition – in the face of love and loss.

The inaugural session was held today and a lively band arrived to hear the mellifluous tones of Mr. Wilson, and, to a lesser extent, myself (probably less polished in my presentation) read elements of some of the well constructed, beautiful sentences from this text.

This concept will continue to be explored and built on during the year.

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Two great programs implemented collaboratively with the English department this week! You can read about the other one here!