March Book Madness 2017

March Book Madness 2017

March Book Madness

My first post about MBM17 is here.

It was the first time our school participated. The 6th grade teachers decided to use the bracket from the official website, but announce the winners based on what their team choose. (Each of our 6th graders are on a “team.”) We wanted to see if each team would choose a different winner, or if they would be the same. We made giant brackets with the book covers on our walls in the hallways.

The day we kicked it off, we all wore jerseys or referee shirts. My students thought I was so weird, especially when I cranked up Space Jam and told them to start dancing.

It was pretty amazing seeing students stop at the brackets and talk about the books. I would also hear them talk during class, which is a teacher’s dream.

We voted every week during the month of March. The students watched book trailers on YouTube, read the first chapter on Amazon, and we had book talks from the students who had read the books already.

On the final day, we had book and basketball themed relay races and the teachers wore their jerseys or referee shirts. We had a lot of fun announcing the winner.

My team’s winner was Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and I bought the book to read to the students as our next read aloud. Every other team and the “official” winner was A Night Divided.

Student Thoughts

I think that march book madness was AWESOME!!!.. and the book judging was so much fun because it was a hard question  -JA

I liked how i could find new books to read. I really liked it. -JT

What I thought about the march madness is that it was pretty fun seeing what kind of different books people like.What I like about it was that some of the books that we were voting on are books that I have read.what I didn’t like is that it went buy so fast. Make it longer. -TL

I liked how it showed us some really good books that I would enjoy reading.-LW

I thought it was really cool to see other people’s view on other books. I got to see some books that I really liked that I probably not have seen without the March Book Madness. Maybe we could do our own thing like that with just the classroom and the books student are reading  -HM

it was dang skippity cool  -AD

I really liked how we got to vote for books. I would love to do more of these mabye every month. These are really fun because you get to find more books and also vote. It’s like the olympics where you usually have a person your chearing for and want to win-EC

What I Would Do Differently Next Year

I would have the students fill out the entire bracket the first day after watching all of the trailers, reading the chapters, and listening to book talks.

I would be more energetic and keep the excitement going. I would make a big deal each week announcing the winning books.

I would record book talks from the students.

Give prizes or have a raffle for those that voted each week. Also, for those that read the books during or after the Madness.

Keeping the momentum going. It goes on the entire month and I think the students got to the point of “oh, we are voting AGAIN.” I want them to be more excited about voting each week.

My Mini-Reviews of the Books

I made it my goal to read all of the books in the running. I have mini-reviews below and links to some of my more in-depth reviews as well as links to summaries on Amazon.

Roller Girl: **** I loved this tough girl who wanted to try Roller Derby. This book showed the struggles that friendships face in middle school and how everyone is changing at this time in their lives. This book had a great message about finding yourself and showing that life can be tough, but you always come out on top.

Counting By 7s: ***** One of my all-time favorite books. I loved watching the main character grow and find herself after losing her family. She went through some tough situations, but watching her grow was really amazing.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library: ***** A book that references other books and encourages reading, problem-solving, and teamwork? What could be better? I loved the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory feel. What a fun read!

Sisters: ***** I loved how real this story is about siblings. I could identify and connect throughout the story. The want of a sibling, then the crazy relationship between siblings, and the love that bonds them together. This book is also very funny and will have you laughing out loud.

Brown Girl Dreaming: ***** Another one of my favorites. I loved how this book centered around the Civil Rights Movement and a young girl’s experience through that moment in history. A very powerful and thought-provoking read.

The Honest Truth: ***** What a tragic and sad story. So many tough questions faced by the main character. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, hoping he and his dog would live.

Echo: **** A great story full of again and agains (the number 3 – 3 daughters and 3 stories, the harmonica, family, discrimination, perseverance.) What a wonderful story with glimpses into World War II and all that happened.

A Night Divided: ***** I really liked this story that was centered around the Berlin Wall. What would you do if you were separated from your family? How hard would you fight to get them back? What risks would you take? Such a powerful book that I could not put down.

The War That Saved My Life: *****A powerful story showing the struggle families and children faced in London during World War II. The struggles were even more difficult for someone crippled with an uncorrected club foot. I was rooting for her to find her love and happiness.

Booked: ***** Kwame Alexander has such a unique voice. I love reading his poetry out loud to the students. This book had book references, which always a plus for me, and several powerful and positive messages about family, friendship, and bullying.

Fish In A Tree: *****This was one of those books that when you finish, you have to tell someone about. I really loved how this book opened my eyes to the struggles some face in school and everyday life with making friends, being successful, and learning. I was rooting for her until the end and loved the message of the story.

Fourteenth Goldfish: ***** This book was so funny, yet serious at the same time. This is a great book to show the struggles faced my middle schoolers and reassures readers that everyone survives these experiences and they grow.

El Deafo: ***** My favorite graphic novel so far! This book had me laughing out loud and rooting for El Deafo. She was so strong and I wanted her to overcome her obstacles.

Absolutely, Almost: ***** A great story about growing up, friendship, and facing your struggles in order to succeed. Success is different for everyone, it is personal, and if you set goals and keep them in sight, you will succeed. A great message and great characters.

Crenshaw: **** I love Katherine Applegate, especially One and Only Ivan, because she writes such emotional stories that really make you think about what you would do in certain situations. This was an emotional book, one that showed how much kids really know what is going on around them and with their family and how much they worry. Some things are out of your control and you just have to find a way to escape and also to learn and become stronger.

Pax: ***** I put this book in one of our book tastings and the kids fought over who could read it first. This is a great book for animal lovers (although you will cry, a lot) and fans of historical fiction. I loved having the perspectives of the fox and the boy. It was beautifully written and I didn’t want it to end.

I am a middle school English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher.

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