Knitting Club is launched

knitting 1knitting 2On Thursday last week Zoe’s long held dream of starting a knitting club came to fruition.  We were all delighted by the number who came, and very pleased to see so many Year 11 boys stepping up to the mark. Days and times are now set (Thursdays at recess or other times as requested), wool and needles have been sourced, and a scarf pattern booklet has been purchased for these amazing young men to use for reference.

There will be lessons available for beginners – which I believe is the category of this cohort – and we have some Year 8 students who intend to come along.

New members will be welcome – and as Zoe told members: learning a new skill can count towards Duke of Edinburgh awards, as can social service. As we intend knitting for the aged and or the homeless, two boxes can be ticked off by attending one event for a few weeks until we finish a scarf or a square!


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



The ADF Come to Visit

This morning a careers session led by  two Warrant Officers from the Australian Defence Forces was held in the reading area. The session was led by  two Warrant Officers, Jock Joce and Daniel McInnes. They talked with a receptive group of year 10 and 11 students.

It was a great setting for them to spread out resources and sit in comfort while explaining how to find out what the ADF can offer and how to tap in to their expertise. Several Year 12 students are phoning for personal discussions in the next few days.

Army Careers talk

VCE Note-taking tips and tricks

The Cornell method is a way of taking notes to increase your results at the end of the unit, in the examination or in a school assessed coursework task. It taps in to the information that Elevate Education presented to you in Study Sensei (year 10) Memory and Mnemonics (Year 11) and Ace Your Exams (Year 12).

Wikipedia explains the method here: (accessed 8 March 2017).

You can make your own pages in a style that suits you in Word (handy if you use the reference generator to create your reference lists for assignments):

Or for a range of papers: has a generator to personalize your note-taking paper.

Here is a first-hand account of how and why a post graduate student at the highest level of study uses this method:

This is a good method for note-taking as you read information – for example as you read your English texts or sections of your Geography, History or Science text books.

Notes taken in this manner lead to written responses that are in your own words and demonstrate your understanding. Your results will be better and your brain will have had more exercise.

When it comes to revision, using Cornell note pages will guide your flash card development, revision sheets, and mind maps.

Why not give it a go!

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.



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!

Reading with your secondary students

One of the more powerful things you can do to encourage academic success and social growth is to support your sons and daughters to read novels. An easy way to do this is to read what they are reading in English lessons and have conversations about the meaning, plot, and characters with them.

This year classes are studying:


Year 12:

Alistair MacLeod’s evocative collection of short stories Island, composed over thirty years, invites the reader to experience life on Cape Breton Island. MacLeod’s attention to the rugged and unforgiving landscape, the struggle to sustain mining and fishing industries and the conflict within families in the face of modernization and change is the focus of his work.

 Year 12 students are reading and responding to these stories and will become experts in a short selection of stories to complete an analytical text response essay.

 Year 11

Year 11 students focus this term on the early work of esteemed Australian writer Tim Winton. The focus has been on a selection of stories from a collection, Minimum of Two. Students have read and discussed these texts and embark on a written creative response that will draw on the ideas and style of Winton.  

Year 10

Year 10 students are enjoying reading Macbeth this term. We have a number of graphic options for students who may need extra assistance.


Year 9

Year 9 students are considering the notion of story and how we write and tell stories. This term they will develop written responses to the film text, Big Fish.

Year 8:

This term, Year 8 read the amazing Diego Run by Deborah Ellis. This is the story of a very resilient boy living in difficult circumstances. In her usual style, Deborah Ellis has used her investigative skills, her strong social conscience and her gift for storytelling to turn a complex situation into a rip-roaring, heart-wrenching adventure. A great way to learn about different lifestyles and foreign lands.

Year 7:

Another thought-provoking text is being explored by Year 7 this term. Author Andy Mulligan presents the story of three boys living from pickings at their local rubbish tip in an unnamed third world country in Trash. This text explores tough lives and difficult decisions in a very readable manner.

Why not read the relevant books too and join us in a virtual book club? Interested parents or guardians should contact me at or through the form below. In the comment box please indicate your Year level/s of interest.

Thank you.