Several coworkers had a marvelous brainstorm last year in mid March - we decided to create our our March Madness for our students with books. It was well received, and certainly got our kids even more excited about books. My colleague had this brilliant brainstorm just as March Madness was about to begin, so we didn't have a lot of lead in time. We had about a week between idea and battles. We got 4 of our 10 elementary schools involved.
This year, we decided to start earlier. We wanted to give our students the chance to read some of the books they hadn't yet read, and to do some persuasive work with their favorites. So shortly before winter break we set up a google drive form for them to nominate books. This year, we got all 10 of our elementary schools involved, since we had more time to talk it up with the other teachers. It is just the gifted students in 4th and 5th grade, since trying to do full school involvement would be .... well... darn near impossible.
The rules were simple - nominate at least 5 books but no more than 10. Some of my students were hard pressed to JUST choose 10, and some had trouble coming up with 5 that they adored. My friend Erin gathered up the results and we selected the top 32 books. It's fun to see what the kids nominate. You can see a clear difference between schools, since each of us use different novels in our small groups. My school tends even more toward fantasy than the others, since my classroom library is a bit heavy on science fiction and fantasy.
The week before winter break, we released the list. Erin made the cool infographic below, which we posted in the classrooms and shared with students (and parents). We are encouraging each student to try to read at least 2 books from the list that they haven't already read.
I had read 22 of the books already, and read 2 more over winter break. My fifth graders eagerly (and rather greedily) snatched up almost every title I had in my classroom. The fourth graders took almost all of the rest. I can't wait to see what they managed to read over break!
(the full list is also typed out below, in case you have trouble with this graphic)
|The Phantom Tollbooth||Juster||Fantasy|
|Disney After Dark (Kingdom Keepers #1)||Pearson||Mystery|
|Fever, 1793||Anderson||Historical Fiction|
|The Heroes Guide to Saving Your Kingdom||Healy||Fantasy|
|The One and Only Ivan||Applegate||Fantasy|
|The Mysterious Benedict Society||Stewart||Mystery|
|Maniac Magee||Spinelli||Realistic Fiction|
|Number the Stars||Lowry||Historical Fiction|
|One Dead Spy (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales)||Hale||Nonfiction|
|The Candymakers||Mass||Realistic Fiction|
|The City of Ember||DuPrau||Dystopian|
|The Real Boy||Ursu||Fantasy|
|The Name of This Book is Secret||Bosch||Mystery|
|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire||Rowling||Fantasy|
|A Mango-Shaped Space||Mass||Realistic Fiction|
|Among the Hidden||Haddix||Dystopian|
|The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus||Riordan||Fantasy|
|The Westing Game||Raskin||Mystery|
|The Year of Shadows||Legrand||Fantasy|
|When You Reach Me||Stead||Science Fiction|
|Game Changers||Lupica||Realistic Fiction|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows||Rowling||Fantasy|
|Wolf Brother||Paver||Historical Fiction|
|The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda||Angleberger||Realistic Fiction|
|The Girl From Felony Bay||Thompson||Mystery|
|The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson)||Riordan||Fantasy|
|The Riddle of Penncroft Farm||Jensen||Mystery|
You still have time, if you want to get your own battle going! You can even just get 16 books - or authors - or favorite characters. It's so much fun, and highly motivating!