Tuesday, April 25, 2017

5th Grade Book Madness - week 2

Last week, I blogged about beginning an end-of-year March-Madness-but-with-books competition, where the entire 5th grade (all 5 classes) would nominate a book and we'd whittle them down into 32 books. Students would then persuade each other - through reviews, commercials, comments, conversations - to vote for their favorite each week. It's been a week, and the Sweet 16 have just been revealed, so I thought I'd report in from the trenches and give you an update.

First, some immediate takeaways:

  • 5th graders love to compete! When the 32-book bracket was posted, the students IMMEDIATELY started talking about which books should move forward. There were some HEATED conversations. We learned about disagreeing respectfully and reserving the right to change our minds. 
  • The students wanted access to the books right away. They asked me to put together bin of "just Book Madness" titles. Done.
  • The intra-class aspect was a pleasant surprise! The kids commented on each others' Padlet entries (click here to see some), commented on other people's comments, and continued those conversations at lunch/recess. It's reaching the staff, too! Our LRC director wants to get in on the action, as do several other staff members! The bracket is in the hallway outside the bathrooms we share with 4th grade, and some of their students are beginning to talk about it as well!
  • Padlet is rad. Most students just posted straight on to the Padlet I created for round 1, but some wanted to create Google Slides, book commercials, etc. I discovered (too late for last week but it'll be good going forward) that you can link all of these things in a Padlet post. This enables a VAST amount of creativity as the students come up with different ways to persuade each other which way to vote.
  • Google Forms is FANTASTIC! I thought I'd spend most of my weekend counting votes. But when I clicked on the "responses" tab and scrolled down, Google had scored each one already (click here to check it out.) The Sweet 16 was updated before I left work on Friday afternoon!
Book Madness 2017 - The original bracket
Some questions:
  • Yes, the kids are engaged. But most of their conversations are around books they've already read. Will this competition engage them in new books to read? How do we motivate them to try something new?
  • Many of my students are already knee-deep in book series (Harry Potter, The Heroes of Olympus.) Will focusing on the Sweet 16 mean they may lose interest (and stamina) in those wonderful series?
  • How do I challenge the students to get creative in their persuasive pieces? Class time to make book commercials? Loosen the reins a bit and give them time (that precious commodity) to get creative? Allow them to work together? I think the answer to all of these is a resounding, "YES!" The more ownership they have the more engaged they will be in the process!
  • Will more students be inspired to be creative when there are fewer match-ups? The Elite 8 and the Final Four are just around the corner!
While there is a lot to reflect on as we go forward, all in all, it's been a GREAT week! If anything, it's a different way to consider our reading: what we've read, what we want to read, how far we've come as readers. I can't wait to get to the Elite 8!

Thank you to all the wonderful teachers at Two Writing Teachers for allowing me to share a slice of my school life!


  1. Sounds like you are keeping the energy high and that was one of your main goals as I recall. It is things like this that the kids will recall years later! Go, you!

    1. That's what I'm hoping! It's been lots of fun and the kids have the name of books on their lips, so I think it's having a positive effect!!

  2. Thanks for sharing so much detail about your book madness project. It's one of the best parts of being a slicer, being inspired by each other. Keep us posted as the fun continues!

    1. I definitely will, Ramona, thank you!!


Total Pageviews