March Madness: The Book Battle

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That’s the tweet that started it all.  The Book Brackets for March.  I thought it was a cool idea and didn’t think much more of it until my colleague Ben said that he was doing it.  That we should all do it.  So we are!  And now I’m really excited.  Let me tell you, it’s not an easy process.

First I created a Google form where students could submit nominations for books.  I had them nominate at least three books for the battle.

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Next I created a second Google form.  This one listed each and every book that was nominated by students.  I had the class vote on each book and whether it should be included or not.

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Lastly using the view summary of responses feature on Google forms I was able to see a pie chart of votes for each book and select the top 16 books with the most yes votes.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 10.36.18 AMFrom there I created my brackets!

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The class was so excited when they saw the poster.  They were, of course, buzzing about the match-ups.  (Which I had a really hard time doing!)  Because I knew that not all of the book were shared reads for the class I decided to have the kids put their argumentative skills to good use.  For each book a student volunteered to “speak for” the book.  I’m giving them one minute to stand up and persuade their classmates to vote for that book.  I can’t wait to see how this plays out this month.

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2 Responses to March Madness: The Book Battle

  1. Alison Atkinson says:

    This idea is great! I just recently heard Kristin speak in Gwinnett County, GA and she mentioned this and I was so excited to find out more. I would love to hear more about your book battle!! I will be in my second year of teaching 5th grade (after 14 years of 4th) and will have a gifted cluster of students this year. I am ADDICTED to books and try to instill the same love in my students. With all the new common core standards, we have spent a lot of time trying to get deeper into what we read and I think this would be so much fun and really encourage the kids to talk more deeply about the books that they read. How long do you spend on this? How much time is devoted to it each day? Any tips or information that you have and can share would be much appreciated!!

    • Katie says:

      Hi Alison! Great questions. When we did this in March I spread out each bracket to one a day. Students were given 3 minutes to stand up and “speak for” (argue) their book. I think there’s really no right way to do it. Craft it in a way that seems meaningful to your students and accomplishes what you want to accomplish. I will say that this came after our Argumentative Writing unit (we used the new Calkins) and I really saw kids apply lessons from there.

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