Tea duelling/Michael Pryor visit/ Steampunk dress ups

What a day we had – Michael Pryor’s visit and workshop, the Reading Awards assembly, and our inaugural Tea Duelling event (see previous post for information). Thanks, Denise, for making this happen down to the smallest detail. We even had Mr Brown’s original Steampunk composition playing. Well done to all the boys who participated in the duelling heats. There wasn’t much jousting but there was plenty of nomming and splodging. (Tablecloths definitely need a wash now). And, of course, much biscuit dunking and tea drinking.

I apologise for the bad quality videos but I think they were not uploaded in high definition. Lots of photos too so be prepared to scroll down a lot. Thanks also to Ms Buckland for the Reading Awards and workshop. Thanks for coming and for being such a good spot, Michael.

The videos are not in heat order.

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music poster shaking hands

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2014 Dromkeen Librarian’s Award – Pam Saunders


Recently our head of library, Pam Saunders, was awarded the Dromkeen Librarian’s Award which

is presented to a teacher, a teacher librarian or a children’s librarian, working within or outside the education system, in recognition of the important role played by this person in introducing young people to literature and encouraging an enjoyment and love of reading.

The award is presented to a person who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to children’s literature.

Pam’s experience in libraries and schools is broad: she has worked in a variety of settings – primary and secondary schools, public libraries and the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria. She has worked with babies in arms, with their parents, with young and older children and teenagers.

At the centre of Pam’s passion for libraries and their patrons is her love of reading.

Books are a place of pleasure and a beautiful way to de-stress. I also believe books and stories are the best way to walk in someone’s shoes.

The empathy a reader fosters from reading is invaluable; reading is much more than decoding of words.

 I asked Pam to share some of her observations of the reading culture at Melbourne High School since she took up the position of head of library at the beginning of the year.

Here at Melbourne High School many of our boys read. Science Fiction and Fantasy are continually popular and need little promotion. Many of the boys also read and enjoy the classics, and there is an expectation within the school community that reading the classics is ‘a good thing’. As the students progress into higher levels of study, reading for pleasure  can fall but we work hard to make sure they still find time to de-stress with a book, matching the right title to the right student. Somewhere in amongst all the academic rigour I hope that the joy for reading remains.

To what does she attribute her passion for reading?

I was fortunate to have become a reader on the lap of my father as he read to me. I  remember walking as a very young child to the shop to buy the new magazine Playhour and then my father reading it to me, especially the comics. This was further fostered by a dynamic school librarian, Mrs Cecilia Stubbs, who ran the library at Burnie High School in the 1970s. She encouraged students to use the library, to be involved and, best of all, she challenged my reading, pushing me to read titles which I would not have discovered myself. Titles like Black like me by John Griffin. I hope I have emulated her as a librarian.

We congratulate Pam on her prestigious award, and we are proud to have her nurture our reading culture at Melbourne High School.

The Dromkeen Medal and Dromkeen Librarian’s Award have a distinguished history of over 32 years, with previous Medal recipients including well-known children’s book illustrators and authors such as Shaun Tan, Bronwyn Bancroft, Roland Harvey, Ruth Park and Graeme Base (MHS Old Boy!) Similarly distinguished names grace the list of past winners of the Librarian’s Award.

Practice for Tea Duelling

As posted earlier, we are going to host Tea Duelling in the library this Friday. If you missed the post then have a quick read, otherwise none of this will make any sense.

We had to practise to make sure it worked and that we understood the rules. I filmed some of the process and threw these videos into Youtube very quickly, without filling out categories etc., and curiously, they landed in the category of Comedy. How appropriate.

They are short but if you don’t want to watch all of them, skip to number 4 when we actually dunk. Please come and watch the whole event in the library at lunchtime this Friday. It promises to be hilarious.

Phantom mathematicians in the library

One of the cool things Pam Saunders introduced to the library when she assumed the Head of Library position this year was the interactive whiteboard. I don’t mean an actual Interactive Whiteboard but a large whiteboard which, as students enter the library, they often catch a glimpse of and are drawn to interact with.

The whiteboard is:

1. A large blank canvas for many things – surveys (about quintessential things like chocolate), quizzes, word of the day, and things like that;

2. A space for students to respond to abovementioned quintessential things.

So Whiteboard + Quintessential Things + Passing Students = Interaction.

Just this week we attached a mathematical challenge relating to circles arcs and sectors from Khan Academy on said Interactive Whiteboard. Not heard of Khan Academy? You must have a look. Although the problem we posted is not the one you will see when you follow the link because they change.


And without being seen by any of us, a phantom student wrote down his answer.

Can anyone tell me if this is the correct answer? If I could find the problem on Wolfram Alpha then I would have not only the answer but also the process leading to the answer. That’s good learning. And you also get a scratchpad to play and work things out by scribbling and drawing and moving things around


as well as hints, a place to check your answer,


and a very helpful video which explains things clearly even to non-maths people like me.

Khan Academy is great for self directed but supported learning, and not just for maths.


I wish our Interactive Whiteboard was actually interactive so that we could select problems and include all the tinkering gadgets the Wolfram Alpha website has.

But then again, we could just use a whiteboard marker and let the students do some collaborative problem solving.

Khan Academy also caters for a senior secondary and tertiary levels of Maths. Take your pick here.

Have you googled ‘blue’ lately?

Our library has been coloured blue. That is to say, we have blue books displayed in various parts of the library. Random, you say? I call it serendipitous.

How valuable can serendipity be? Let’s explore a ‘blue’ search on Google. A simple Google search (which, as we know, will filter results differently for each person) retrieved the top result of a Wikipedia definition of ‘blue’: Blue is the colour of the clear sky and the deep sea.[2][3] It is located between violet and green on the optical spectrum.[4]

Surveys in the U.S. and Europe show that blue is the colour most commonly associated with harmony, faithfulness, confidence, distance, infinity, the imagination, cold, and sometimes with sadness.[5] In U.S. and European public opinion polls it is overwhelmingly the most popular colour, chosen by almost half of both men and women as their favourite colour.

I wonder if there have been any Australian studies.

Search results for ‘blue’ selecting the ‘maps’ option gave me a map highlighting all the places with ‘blue’ in their title close to Melbourne High School – which is where I am at the moment.

The top result for ‘blue’ filtering for ‘Australia’ was a link to the Beyond Blue, the Australian organisation ‘working to increase understanding and of anxiety and depression in Australia and to reduce the associated stigma’. Three million Australians are living with anxiety and depression according to the website. I would think that is a conservative number. I assume that the Google search retrieved this website because we are currently in Mental Health Week.

A Google Search for ‘blue’ using the filters ‘news’ and  ‘past week’ retrieved news of the 2014 Nobel Prize for physics.

The 2014 Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded to a trio of scientists in Japan and the US for the invention of blue light emitting diodes (LEDs).

Professors Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura made the first blue LEDs in the early 1990s.

I thought I’d put Google through the hoops and set the search filters for ‘blue’ to ‘Australia’ and ’20th century’. There was one result (hard to believe) and it was the Australian Zoo.

Blue has turned out to be quite interesting, don’t you think?

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This is a small book with big questions. You can borrow it from our library if you are drawn to the big questions in maths. Thanks to Catherine Morton for the blue displays.

Libraries on horseback and other unusual bookmobiles


Welcome to Term 4! It’s only the second day but already the library has been returned to its normal happy chaos.

I came across this post about Finding libraries in unexpected places. I’m not sure about boat or horse but the supermarket might be a good place for a small library. What about a tram stop?

Stay tuned for posts showcasing our fun events soon – Michael Pryor’s visit and workshops, Tea Duelling, Steampunk dress-ups, and more.

In the meantime – some random library shots.



Can you find the teapots in our library?



This guy scared me to death as I stepped out of the lift at 6.50 am first day back.