Saturday, February 21, 2015

Celebrate This Week - March Book Madness

I’m joining up with Ruth Ayres for her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week. Check out all of the posts linked up at her blog HERE. Thanks for starting this, Ruth!

This week I celebrate friends with great ideas.

My friend Tony Keefer has done a March Book Madness with his students before. I’ve always watched and thought, “I should do that.” This year Tony has made it easy on us all and there is a website where we can all participate HERE.

I introduced this to my students on Friday. Halfway up the stairs to our classrooms on the top floor is a bulletin board. I put a bracket entitled March Book Madness and hung a sign that said, “Coming Soon.” They piled in the room in the morning buzzing about it.

In reading class I introduced them to the website and said that they had to help seed the books. I shared the list for the 2014 books and the books published before 2014. I explained that they each needed to vote for ten books only. As I shared the list with each of my three classes, they had the same reactions. All of the students were gathered in our meeting spot in the front of the room. I sat in the front, scrolling down on the laptop and reading off titles.

As the titles 2014 titles were read, I began to have some quiet cheers of recognition. Then, I hit the older titles. The quiet cheers became loud shouts. Campaigning began in earnest. Kids asking other kids which books they were voting for. Other students began grabbing books off of our shelves to show friends who hadn’t read a book. And all of this before we even have a bracket.

Students raced for the iPads, deliberating over titles, and making their selections. They studied the map detailing the schools that are participating in wonder. All of these kids were joining us? It really was an amazing experience.

This week was, at times, a rough one. I found myself let down by expectations. I found myself worried about small matters. Parenting was, at times, hard. My anxiety returned and was hard to dismiss. And my FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) kicked into high gear as I wished desperately that I could go to the Dublin Lit conference. But not once did my students disappoint me. They (and my own children) were the bright spot in a tough week and that is enough of a reason to celebrate.