Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mad About Books

By 8:00 this morning, already 30 students and staff had voted, and our poll had only been open for 15 minutes.  There is a buzz about books in our building.  Even the principal popped by to chat with me about books at the close of first hour. "Have your read Unbroken? So powerful!"

This is the third year I have organized a March Book Madness bracket for high school students and staff.  During the month of February, I sent out a Google form survey for all our students and staff to share their favorite books.  This year, we received over 140 suggestions.  The books that were recommended more than once made it onto our final bracket.  And then yesterday, March 1, our voting kicked off.

A large poster went up in the hallway outside my door to display the contending books and let our community know how to get in on the voting.  Our first day of voting, a choice between Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Paper Towns, was an easy choice for our community.  We are not a group of muggles at Ionia High. We're into some serious book magic.  Harry won easily among the 36 students and staff that voted.  And then we got to draw a name from those that voted to win a signed copy of Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist.  The winner? A special education teacher in our building.

And I think that's where the buzz began.  Because by the close of first period this morning, I had already surpassed the number of voters from the day before. Students and staff passed me in the hallway and tapped me to ask, "So you're really giving away signed books?"

Yup.

We connected with Jay Asher online who is sending us some books. And Ruta Sepetys is signing books for us. And Ernest Cline. And Tiffany Schmidt. How? Twitter! How have we built book buzz? Twitter!  I've been tweeting authors from my classroom account to ask if I can send them books to sign for our giveaway. When they've responded, I've read them aloud in class.  Students start talking about authors. About books. And then they've joined in, talking about authors and books online and in class.  We created a hashtag to talk about books online - #IoniaReads

So by the close of today, we were mad about books.  It seems quite fitting since today turned out to be World Book Day!
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