Monday, February 23, 2015

Bring on the Battle...the March Madness Book Battle

Image from
I came home from Saturday's Delaware Valley Reading Association's conference inspired. We spent the morning sharing ideas for empowering student readers by promoting voice and choice in our school classrooms and libraries.  As we discussed ideas for building reading habits and engaging all members of our learning communities in reading, the idea of a March Madness style Book Battle came up. That's when the ideas really started to flow.

You'll find all sorts of clever bulletin board ideas on Pinterest for a book battle, but I wanted to do something that wouldn't just reside inside my classroom. Instead, I wanted to invite participation from students, teachers, administrators, and parents alike. This meant, I needed to think digitally. So, I started with a basic bracket design (feel free to use the graphic below).
I'm fortunate because I have an awesome sister who works on a production team for a printing company and is able to print this out large scale for me on vinyl for free, but you easily could print this out at Staples for under $30. Why vinyl? So I can write on it easily with white board markers that wipe off, making it easy to reuse it year after year. So this big banner will hang in the hallway, but how do I involve our larger community? That's where the digital aspect comes in.

Excited, I emailed my students, their parents, and fellow teachers on Sunday, sharing a Google form with a basic description of our book tournament - 16 books pitted against one another with daily voting to narrow down our book selections to two challengers by the close of March. I asked our community to recommend the books for the initial 16 challengers. What are your most loved books? Within 24 hours, 56 people had responded with over 250 book choices! So in the coming week, whichever books are most recommended will become the 16 in the initial bracket.

Then over the course of March, I'll be sharing our book battles through our daily announcements and classroom Twitter account, asking all community members to cast their vote using Celly.  At the moment, I'm reaching out to local bookstores, publishers, and authors to help us by sponsoring reading prizes for community members who participate in the voting. I would love to be able to giveaway signed copies of books and bookstore gift certificates to daily participants. The idea is to reward readers with reading prizes, and throughout the month of March sharing the joy of reading! 

What are you doing to spread the joy of reading in your community? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Here it is! The final 16 books as recommended by teachers, students, and parents:


bj neary said...

What an awesome idea, Jennifer! You are inspiring and I know your students will totally enjoy this Battle! Love your bracket idea, too!

Jennifer Ward said...

Thank you so much! I find myself on a mission to share the joy of reading. I created these little posters for teachers to hang outside their classroom doors. My hope is that by sharing with all members of our community the books we are reading, we will help encourage both students and teachers to see ourselves as lovers of reading. And as an added benefit, it is a great way to get book recommendations!

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