How Were the Books Picked
The first job was picking the Sweet 16. Over the course of the year, I have kept a tally of the books students have been reading and writing about, and chose the 16 books that were favorites in our grade. If multiple books in a series showed up on the list, I showcased the first book in the series. Below are a few of our ‘chosen’ books! 🙂 The full list includes Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Dairy of a Wimpy Kid, I Funny, Football Genius, Stick Dog, The Witches, Number the Stars, Wonder, The One and Only Ivan, Stranded, I Survived, Nancy Drew Clue Crew, Bad Kitty, Bone, and Origami Yoda.
If you didn’t have a running list, you could also ask your school librarian to run a list of the books most commonly checked-out. This year (2016), our librarian is running a primary and an intermediate list for our school’s two book tournaments. She ran a list of the most-checked out books for primary and intermediate and we chose the books from that list!
How Do I Make the Bracket?
Here’s what the progression of bracket-making looked like. I made a fatal error around the Elite Eight (I made the distance between markers too small to host two books during the Sweet 16 round) that added an additional 20ish minutes to the experience -boo. Thankfully, it was an easy fix and kids don’t notice when one side of the bracket is a few inches shorter than the other. 😉
After finishing up the bracket with the Sweet 16 books in place, I needed to make the basketballs for the display header. Using my handy dandy Martha Stewart Circle Cutter(BEST invention ever), I cut 6.5 inch circles and drew basketball lines on them using black marker…yes, I did have to Google what a basketball looked like. 😉 Then, using the school’s dye-cut machine and a glue stick, I added the letters to the overlapping basketballs.
Who is Able To Vote?
When Do You Start Your Tournament?
As soon as our bracket went up at the end of February, my kids were PUMPED and were reading as fast as they could to make it through a *few* more books before our vote for the Elite 8!
I follow the NCAA tournaments dates. I set up a Google Survey so students can easily vote at the beginning of the school day.
How Do You Make Your Bracket?
In addition to voting for the best books of our school year, students will also fill out their own bracket predicting the winners. For every correct answer, students will receive a point. The 3 students with the most points will receive a free book from our next Scholastic order! 🙂 We’ll fill out our brackets with the start of the tournament this Friday!
What Does The Final Bracket Looks Like?
So, when all these parts come together it looks a little like this… 🙂 (Click here to see our 2014 Tournament Results)
Running a School-Wide Tournament
Since moving schools, our school has adopted a school-wide book tournament. It’s the perfect chance to build community around some of our favorite books and it was just plain FUN! We ran two brackets (that were set up in our cafeteria) – one for picture books and one for chapter books. Our school librarian ran a list of the most checked-out books of the year – picture and chapter books. Then, we eliminated series duplicates (always choosing Book 1) and then, pitted the books against one another. All 750 students and 50 staff participated in the picture book challenge. We had different staff members read all of the books through morning meetings, library times, and a few via YouTube! Then, our intermediate grades had lots of copies of the chapter books for students to read. Finally, when it came time to vote, we set up our voting windows for 2 days. Students could vote on a Google Form before our school-wide morning meeting, during reading class, and during library or computer lab.
Tournaments Around the Country
Seeing Book Madness in action around the country is awesome. I love sharing materials and see how teachers make them their own. Want to share your tournament, I’d love to hear from you. Share a picture on Instagram and tag me – @BrownBagTeacher.
So, what do you think? Do you incorporate March Madness into your classroom? Do you set-up your own book bracket? If so, I’d love to hear about it. 🙂 In the meantime, make sure to snag the materials for FREE so you can get started without a headache!
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