It’s Time for Book Madness 2016

By: Mary Kienstra on: March 21, 2016  in: authentic audience, Engagement, reading

March is a time for new beginnings as flowers sprout up through the soil and the sun begins to shine just a bit brighter.  March is also known for March Madness as college basketball takes over our world of sports.  In my class in March, it’s time for Book Madness 2016!

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Book Madness is a tradition in my class.  It begins with students nominating their favorite book for the contest.  Once that book has been identified, it’s time to promote it to the class.  Students create a commercial for their favorite book, using the iMovie book trailer.  These book commercials involve the kids in their books in new ways.  They use many pictures and few words to build excitement about their books.  They learn how the iMovie theme and music add to the video, making their book attractive to their classmates.  The kids also write book reviews too.  The purpose again is to convince their classmates to vote for their book.  We post the book trailer videos and book reviews on our Google Drive so that everyone can view them.

Before we begin the voting, students fill out their own brackets in the style of the college basketball brackets.  This activity gets the kids excited, talking up their favorite books.  They are busy predicting who will vote for which book and which books will win.  This year our Principal and Assistant Principal filled out brackets too.  We posted the brackets on the classroom wall so we can keep track.  Anything that keeps kids excited about books works in my class.

This year my students are voting using Google Forms.  I’ve embedded this form into our class Canvas site, making it easy for all my students to access.  The best part of the Google Forms is that it tabulates our data and makes it very easy to see the results.

Once the contest begins, I reach out to authors via Twitter.  I try to engage the authors of these books to comment on the contest and the voting.  Two years ago, Dan Gutman tweeted back and forth with my class and ultimately Skyped with us.  

Round 1 voting for Book Madness 2016 was today.  At the end of the day, I checked our Google spreadsheet to see which books would be advancing.  I can’t wait to reveal those results tomorrow and watch the faces of my students as they find out which books are still in the contest.

Stay tuned…  The winner will be revealed April 4, the Monday after Spring break!

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