Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Book Madness 2017

A coworker returned from a conference earlier this year and shared March Book Madness with me. We both loved the idea and decided to do the picture book bracket with our reading students this year. She put in a requisition for both of us to receive most of the books and I hit up the library and borrowed all of them so I had at least one copy of every book and two of most.

Since January I've been trying to read one or two books to my groups each week. Sometimes I just read for pleasure other times we worked on signposts or other comprehension strategies.

(Here a student took a picture of the signpost, added a label with the signpost name and then she recorded how she knew it was the signpost and her answer to the question.)

 I thought we'd make it through all of the books by now but we didn't quite make it. So, on Monday and Tuesday this week (I see most of my students every other day)  I had my students select books they hadn't read or heard and read them on their own for the 40 minute class period. That got most groups caught up pretty well.

After I read a book to the students they went into Seesaw and took a picture of the cover of the book. Then they added a label and went to the emojis and gave the book 1-5 stars. Next they added a caption and gave a quick explanation on why the book deserved that number of stars. The final step was to put their work in the March Book Madness folder.

During this time I also began working with my students on writing book reviews. We read a few reviews from The Spaghetti Book Club. We noticed what they had in common and then we wrote a review together after listening to the Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig. Then they selected one of the MBM books to read with a partner and write a review together. (I now realize this is something we need to finish!) 

To help generate some excitement  for March Book Madness I put up two bulletins boards in our school. One board we were in charge of for the month of March and the other was outside the library and our librarian was happy to let us take it over. So outside the library I put up the picture book bracket and down on the 5th grade wing I put up the chapter book bracket. Today I added a note about voting and placed business card sized slips of paper for other students to pick up and take home to vote if they're interested. I also let them know I'll update the board next Wednesday.

Today, we began voting! To prepare for this I had placed two items in my own folder in Seesaw. I went to the March Book Madness site and saved the bracket picture as a JPEG. Then I uploaded that to my file. Next, I uploaded a link in Seesaw that took the students right to the voting page. 

To begin the lesson I showed students the Google Map of the participating schools and did a mini lesson on geography. Next, the students got to work!

Here's what each group of students did today:

1. They went to Feed View in Seesaw, clicked on their name and then on folders and finally on their March Book Madness folder. They looked over their ratings from the books to refresh their memories. 

2. They went to my folder and copied and edited my bracket. I showed them a variety of ways they could mark up their bracket. I also had all the book arranged in piles according to the bracket on a table. If a student hadn't read a book or hadn't given it a rating she could go to the table and take a look at the book before making a choice. Here's two completed examples:
She used the star emoji and it made for a very neat looking bracket.

Most chose to circle and x their choices. 
3. This was saved and then they went back to my folder. The next step was to click on the link to the voting page. When I inserted the link it actually shows last year's bracket. Their choices were fresh in their minds and this went quickly.

4. The final step was to take a sticky note and write what they hope will be the overall winner. They had to write in a complete sentence, and then stick it on a big poster in the hall. (I'll try to remember to get a picture of the poster/chart tomorrow. :)

As the students voted it was fun to hear them talk about how difficult some choices were because they loved both books! 

Some of my fifth graders have requested to do the middle grades bracket as well so I have that set up for them too. I feel that bracket is very tough! I haven't read them all but how do I pick between El Deafo and The Fourteenth Goldfish!

If you're new to Seesaw or the MBM I hope this helps. If you have any questions, let me know. I'd love to hear how you're doing MBM in your classroom, please share!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

10 of my Favorite Nonfiction Picture Books

It's time, ok past time, for the Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10 event! You can read more about it here. Thank you to Cathy and Mandy for hosting this event. 

So...I made my list last week but I am just getting around to putting it in a blog tonight. As you can see I have totally fallen out of the blog habit, as poor as it was to begin with. However, I love reading all the 10 for 10 posts so I feel it's important to add my 2 cents even if I am a few days late.

Tuesday Tucks Me In-I may have read about this book in last year's 10 for 10, I'm not sure. However, it was a very popular book with my reading students last spring. A very touching story. I will be putting it on my budget for next year.

Best in Snow- I love winter and I love photography so this book is a hit with me! I'll also admit that it's a nice feeling to look at these photos and think hey, I could have done everyone of those. :) This would be a perfect book for students that live in warm weather climates. She also has a book about raindrops. I need to check that one out as well.

Trombone Shorty-This is one of the selections for this years March Book Madness. I love it for several reasons. It's a story about following your passion as well as giving back to your community. The illustrations are wonderful and really captured my student's attention. And I'll be honest, I need more diverse books in my classroom.

Whoosh-A fun story on the history of the super soaker.

Pink is for Blobfish-Another contender for March Book Madness. Who knew there were so many pink animals? My students have loved learning about these unique creatures.

I have a Dream-I love Kadir Nelson's paintings in If You Plant a Seed so as soon as I saw this at the library I knew I had to check it out. The paintings that go with the speech are perfect. Another book I'll be purchasing for my classroom.

The Best Part of Me- I haven't used this book for a couple of years but I think I may use it again this spring. A few years ago I used it with my fourth graders and had them write their own page. I then published our book on Bookemon and several parents purchased the book. I think I'll do it with my fifth graders as a fun end of the year project. The author had children take a photo of their best part and write their thoughts about it.

Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field-Yep, anything with poop and dogs is going to be popular with fourth and fifth graders. I just picked this up at the library the other day. I haven't shared it with my classes yet but I'm sure it will be a hit.

Dragonfly-by David Miller Hmmm...when I looked this up on Amazon it said no image available. When I Googled it I found this image from Target but the book is not available. When I went back to Amazon and searched Up Close and Scary the same book came up but with the authors; Louise & Richard Spilsbury. I'll have to investigate this a bit more. This is another book I just picked up at the library. The detailed photographs of the dragonfly are amazing! The size of the text and the amount of information on each page is going to be perfect for my students. There are four books in the series. I plan on ordering the set for next year. The set of books are by Louise & Richard Spilsbury.

Dorothea's Eyes-This book inspired me to learn more about this amazing photographer. It's a great book about overcoming diversity and following one's passion.

Well, that's it for this time. Now it's time to head over to the Google+ Community and start adding books to my hold list for the library! Good thing I'm on vacation next week so I'll have plenty of time to read.