Get some tips from Bunbury Catholic College on how to make the most of your last chance to wow us in our Creative Classrooms competition this term

In the last edition of Classroom Express we shared some inspiration form the library team at Bunbury Catholic College on how to create a book display project worthy of entry into our Creative Classrooms competition.

With just a couple of months to go until the competition closes at the end of December, we asked Director of Library Services Colleen Edwards how they came up with their ideas so that you can find inspiration for your own entries.

Don’t be afraid to have a go

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‘We are team that has different strengths, but what we have in common is the enthusiasm to “give anything a go”,’ Colleen said. ‘Some ideas resonate with the students and some fall flat, but we are never afraid to try and just move on to the next attempt. We feel so privileged to have a library, and it motivates us to keep trying things so that we stay relevant and get more young people reading.’

Working with the Light series

‘Term 3 in the Bunbury Catholic College Library belonged to Dianne Wolfer and her inspirational Light series of Light Horse Boy, Lighthouse Girl and In the Lamplight. We have wrapped up a wonderful term and our library staff were privileged to have been able to share our World War I-themed event with Dianne.

‘Our school community journeyed to war in the company of Jim and Charlie. We waved to Fay at Breaksea Island, sailed to adventures in Egypt, came of age at Gallipoli, suffered the agony of the Western Front, and recuperated in England before sailing home past Breaksea Island.’


Getting the whole school involved

‘Our focus was the Year 7 English and Year 9 History students, but our wider school community shared the journey and learned along the way. These books were inspirational in that they provided the human experience and empathy that underpinned the content of the history curriculum. Fiction mirrored fact and provided a platform to reach across departments and connect with our wider school community. This included activities such as constructing and painting Dianne’s prototype lighthouse.’

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Adapting the library displays for use in classroom activities and assessments

‘While the template for the displays was provided by the library staff, much of the detail in them was created by the humanities students, the Year 7 English classes and the students who visited the library. The history program was adapted so that the displays in the library could act as sources for class activities and assessments. The library and RAP (a research and project period week) staff undertook to read the companion novels to the Year 7 students. High school students do not often have the opportunity to be read to, and we were delighted at how much our students enjoyed this.

‘We ran competitions and challenges throughout the term, which were designed to draw students to the displays. The ‘Golden Lighthouse’ was a targeted reading challenge. If students read a novel which contained a lighthouse, they were entered into a draw to win a signed copy of Lighthouse Girl.’

Initiatives that get students into the library

Reading initiatives that we have implemented this year include:

  • genre loyalty cards: there are three variations, each with eight genres – a completed card earns an entry into a competition
  • Reading Bingo for Year 7s: a nine-square fun reading challenge
  • House Reading Challenge: every book read by a student earns a house point. The winning house gets a trophy and the MVR (Most Voracious Reader) gets a book prize. This leaderboard is promoted all year
  • bookmarks with the covers of the WAYRBA and CBCA shortlisted books: these earn an entry into a competition
  • ‘freedom of the library’: Year 8 homerooms are in the library building, so they may read there during homeroom or pastoral period. This is our first year with younger students in these rooms and the promotion has seen the Year 8 reading numbers increase. This group of 161 students are our ‘BOB Reading Challenge’ group – each class has one copy of A Boy Called Bob and the goal is that every student reads it. We have been going for four weeks and so far 48 students and one coach have read the book
  • recess book club: students run their own book club at recess – we keep an eye on proceedings, but have encouraged them to take ownership of the book club
  • an annual book fair with a difference: the books are displayed and our students get to complete ‘Please Buy Me’ slips and insert them into books that they wish me to purchase for the Library. This has proved to be a great way to engage them and allow the students to have a voice in the selection of books. They often select titles we have on the shelves, so we create a display of these and reconnect them with our books.

Light Horse Boy, Lighthouse Girl and In the Lamplight by Dianne Wolfer are available online on the Fremantle Press website and at all good bookstores.

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