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.




Academic Assistance – it’s AMAZING!

This Monday night there were no spare seats in the house!

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Students were being nurtured in Physics, Geography, Chemistry, English and Mathematics. Year 12 through to Year 6 we had them all!

Just wait until our new furniture arrives!

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.

Our new Senior Campus space

This year we have started out in a bigger and revamped space which is working really well for all our users. We are still waiting on some new furniture to arrive but it is looking good with the recycled desks – so it will only be getting better as the term progresses.

Studying hard!

The Reading area has expanded and lessons are working really well, even when there is a class using adjacent space.

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The VCE students are working well in their study lessons, and there is a core group of year 12s who will be excelling in their studies because of their maturity in choosing to come to the Library and get on with their work.



Academic assistance and class reference bookings are still occurring in much the same area, but the spaces are more expansive than they were, and everyone is enjoying the extra breathing room.


Student response has been respectful and enthusiastic at all year levels. We are looking forward to a wonderful year, and to planning the next phase of the building renovation!

Year 5 Science task on the planets

Year 5 came to use the Senior Campus Library this afternoon. Miss Andrews has set up a wonderful task involving locating information on an allocated planet (today’s lesson) followed by making scaled models of the planets. The grand finale will be a scaled model laid out in our sports centre showing the relationship of each of the planets to each other and to the sun.

The students were very involved in finding information and left, some clutching relevant books, with the research component more or less finished.

It was great to be able to work with the students, who know me from teaching their Library lessons in the Junior Campus Library, in the setting that they will inhabit from the start of next year.

Alterations to the Curriculum for 2016

Just released information can be accessed here – and there are some wins and some questions raised – as is usual in such circumstances.

Key points:

Fewer subjects for Foundation to Year 6

More substance

Less prescription

Improved simplicity

Continuation of the History Wars (which always seems to be an issue).

There are two possible models:

Prof Wiltshire Dr Donelly's

Full details will not be available until next year, but the indication is that there will be less content for teachers and students to manage.