Saturday, January 26, 2013

ALA Awards in the Classroom

 January 28th has been circled on my calendar for some time, the date the American Library Association awards would be handed out. I’ve read, and read, and read, hoping to at least have heard of the award winners when they are announced. Some years are luckier than others. Many years I’m blindsided and wonder how I could have possibly missed the books that win.

Skyping with the other 5th grade
This year I decided to get my class into the fun of predicting the winners. Margie Myers-Culver kindly agreed to do a Mock Caldecott with me. I wrote in detail on Choice Literacy how we created the unit, but I will share that it was a hit. Our only snag? We matched up three fifth grade classes. Two of the classes Skyped before break with no issues. Our third class was to Skype the Friday before break – but they had a snow day. So we scheduled for the Friday after break… ice for them, no school. Ok, we aren’t deterred, the Friday after that… no internet at my school. The Tuesday following, snow day for them. Finally, finally, we met on Skype yesterday.
Sharing some favorites on Skype

The winners and honors for my three classes:

·      Class One: Little Dog Lost (medal) Z is for Moose (honor) Good News Bad News (honor)

·      Class Two: Two Tall Houses (medal) Extra Yarn (honor) Little Dog Lost (honor)

·      Class Three: Z is for Moose (medal) Green (honor) Little Dog Lost (honor)

I loved having the students debate the merits of each book – describing the mediums used, how “distinguished” it was in comparison to another.

As for the Newbery, it was more difficult to have the students read all of the books that are being mentioned in the same breath as the award. Finally, I came up with a list of 18 titles and told the kids that anyone who wanted to read at least three of them could come in for lunch and recess the week before the award was announced and we’d pick a winner.
Mock Newbery Group

Out of my 68 kids, about 30 gave up their lunch time to come discuss books. Anyone who felt strongly about their book could stand up and share their thoughts. At the end of our lunch we took a vote, The One and Only Ivan was far and away the winner. Likely my favorite part of the vote was overhearing conversations with other students who hadn’t come to the lunch. When they heard what book won, many added it to their “to read” list as the student informing them of the victory extolled all of the merits of the novel.

As for the award ceremony, we plan on watching the live stream on Monday (Watch it HERE). We’ve had great conversations about what we’d like to win. If our favorite books don’t win, they will still remain our favorites. We have decided that would be the chance to “meet” some new book friends. Time will tell, but I, for one, do have my fingers crossed. Two days left!