What is slam poetry? Teachers give Year 9s a taste.

Do you groan when someone mentions poetry? Now be honest. Let’s face it, understanding poetry is not one of the easiest things. And how relevant are daffodils and daggers to the everyday lives of teenage boys?

What about slam poetry? Urbandictionary.com defines ‘slam poetry’ as:

A type of poetry expressing a person’s personal story and/or struggle usually in an intensely emotional style. Very powerful, sincere, and moving.


The only thing known to man that makes anyone under the age of 30 like poetry.

Okay, perhaps the second one is a bit extreme but it’s reasonable to assume that Slam Poetry or Spoken Word or Urban Poetry might resonate more with young people than Elizabethan verse. After all, it’s almost Hip-Hop, isn’t it? It has the qualities young people can relate to: passion, political awareness, critical voice… It doesn’t stay in a book; it gets performed. It gives the performer an opportunity to deliver a message in a strong way, to embody a persona which allows you to shout, to insist, to uncover, to get angry, to be inspired – you get the idea.

Today in assembly our Year 9s were introduced to Slam Poetry by Mr Blair Mahoney who showed 3 examples before giving 3 English teachers unseen Slam Poetry to perform, after which 3 students gave them a score out of 10 (yeah, I know, lots of mystical numbers).

Ms Amanda Carroll was brave as first Slam Poet, performing Tom Wayman’s, “Did I Miss Anything?”. Sorry, Ms Carroll, I missed the start of your performance, but great stuff.

After Ms Anne-Marie Brownhill’s professional performance of Taylor Mali’s, “What Teachers Make, or Objection Overruled, or If things don’t work out, you can always go to law school”, Mr Richard Edge talked about the importance of confidence in the delivery of the poem, and then performed Harry Baker’s, “Where the Wild Things Are.”

It was a close competition but Mr Edge came out on top according to the student judges (don’t they look excited!).

Happy Bloomsday! #jamesjoyce #ulysses

Bloomsday is a commemoration and celebration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce during which the events of his novel Ulysses (which is set on 16 June 1904) are relived. It is observed annually on 16 June in Dublin and elsewhere. Joyce chose the date as it was the date of his first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle; they walked to the Dublin suburb of Ringsend. The name is derived fromLeopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses. (Source: Wikipedia)

Mr Mahoney is very convincing as Mr Joyce, so much so that we’re not sure which of the two he really is. (See this description if you want to ‘channel your inner James’.)

Check out some of the Bloomsday happenings in Melbourne in the next couple of days, and then some of the #Bloomsday2016 happenings elsewhere. For example, if you were in Dublin, check out the complete guide to Dublin’s celebrations, or you might be interested in sampling these kidneys –



No shortage of Bloomsday activities in New York, for example you might go to the musical about James Joyce and his wife, Nora,

or visit the Ulysses Folkhouse which was founded by a former bee-keeper from Sparta, Greece, and a former bartender from Ireland.

We have a copy of Ulysses on our shelves so if you haven’t read it, maybe it’s time you did.


Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea at Melbourne High

Our annual cancer fundraiser, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, is always a fun, whole staff, event – today being no exception.  A huge thanks to Lynette and Paulette for organising everything and bringing in so many home-cooked foods. On a cold, dreary day it was lovely to have the warm baked aromas fill our library. Thanks to all who continue to bake/cook for this (Flanno cookies are always a hit), to the FIG boys who drove a full Woollies trolley full of food they’d sourced as donations (and who helped with the food preparation), and to everyone who came and donated to this very worthy cause.












There comes a time when it’s all the same.




When I added the above photo to our library Pinterest board, it suggested similar photos so I thought I’d share one of them.








Drawing on the furniture – update

The art building furniture project is coming along nicely. Well done, year 10s. It’s amazing considering the students’ tools are textas. Some are experimenting with using textas like they might use paint. The thinking behind the choice of subject matter is interesting, for example, one chair which has natural forms and soft, smudged colours on one side and mechanical drawings in black texta on the other. I wonder what Dali thinks of all this?


Tammy Talks Trash

The Environmental Action group welcomed students from the other three selective schools on Thursday for a whole day Sustainability Forum. The discussions were loud and passionate.

EAction 5

A highlight of the day was the talk by Tammy Logan of Gippsland Unwrapped .


Ryan welcomes Tammy to the stage.


Tammy stuns the audience by revealing how much rubbish she has generated this year. It half fills the jar in her hand. We all look at each other amazed. She and her family aim to live plastic free and have zero waste.

How? They follow the five R’s and she urges the audience to adopt them also, stressing the first is the important one. For example, do you really need that plastic drink straw? Just ask for a drink with no straw.

EAction 2

Tammy encourages everyone to live with less; we all have too much stuff. Tammy shared how little she and her family have purchased this year and how much they borrow or swap with friends or neighbours, sharing tools, sewing machines and clothes. They follow the Buyerachy of Needs, shown in the image below.



Thank you Tammy for talking to us, thanks also to the students and staff who attended from Nossal, MacRob, Suzanne Cory High schools and the other guests who spoke throughout the day. You all inspired us.

Australia’s first non-profit crepe van: Crepes for Change

We were overjoyed to discover that as part of Language Week we could buy crepes all day long. Turned out to be a cute pink van with 3 of our old boys making and selling crepes. But wait! There’s more: it’s part of a social enterprise founded by old boy, Dan Poole, to help disadvantaged and homeless youth.

I can’t say it any better than the ‘about us’ on their website:

Crêpes for Change is a project that has been a dream for a long time.

We live in an exciting time full of opportunities to be had, but the sad reality is that not everyone starts off on the same level. Many lack not only the tangible basics such as food and accommodation, but also the things that shape a person’s life immeasurably: a loving family, inspiring teachers and mentors, support from their community and people who will give them a shot. It’s heartbreaking to see people unable to leverage themselves out of a bad situation.

Our goal is to be able to employ,  train and support young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and allow them to find long-term employment and prosper on their own.

We are proud of you, boys! We recognized Terence Felix’s smiling face (thanks for the recommendation of salted caramel which partially ended up on my dress but also mostly in my mouth – so good!). Dan was creating the crepes, and sorry we didn’t know who the other young man was. Check out their website and read about the initiative and how you can get involved.


You can follow Crepes for Change on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Rare sightings of teachers in the library makerspace

Thanks to Sam Loh (smiling on the right of the photo above), the Lego Club is a hive of activity in our small makerspace in the library. If you’re very quiet and move slowly, you may even spot a teacher or two rummaging in the Lego boxes along with the students.

Image source: independent.co.uk

Our numbers in the library during recreation time are growing as students continue to find spaces and activities for social activities.