Monday, March 14, 2016

March Book Madness!

It's that magical time of year when a little March mayhem can be harnessed into a fun competition! This year, I was was inspired by Nerdy Book Club contributor Tony Keefer and the amazing Catherine at The Brown Bag Teacher to try the Tournament of Books.

First, I polled my class to record their favorite "Sweet Sixteen" books of the year so far.  There were a lot of amazing "bubble books" like I am Malala, The Tapper Twins Go to War, or The Strange Case of Origami Yoda that were great reads but either didn't quite have the number of readers to recommend them, or didn't get "hot" until recently.  All the 16 books listed had at least 9 of my 24 students read them.

The "Sweet Sixteen"

  • The One and Only Ivan
  • The Honest Truth
  • I Funny
  • Big Nate
  • Hatchet
  • Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood
  • Home of the Brave
  • Auggie & Me
  • The Crossover
  • The Hunger Games
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Smile
  • Flying Solo
  • El Deafo
  • Wonder
  • Sunny Side Up

Next, I printed images of the titles and Catherine's great tournament markers (for FREE - yay!) and set to work with my Fiskars Circle Cutter to make the basketballs.  I found some precut white letters at Staples that saved me a TON of time and added the basketball details with a Sharpie.

Then, I set to work constructing the bracket on the wall outside my classroom.  With a little adjusting - and some helpful input from my colleagues (start from one side and work in) - I got the lines taped and markers added.

And let me tell you - there was some BUZZ in the hallway this afternoon! The 6th graders across the hall were debating which title would win, teachers were commenting on favorite books as they walked by, and my students were groaning over the difficult match-ups.  (Truly - how DO you choose between The One and Only Ivan and The Honest Truth??)

Today my class filled out a paper bracket to predict which book would win, and they started planning how to fit in just one or two more reads so they could vote in as many face-offs as possible.  I loved the renewed energy and excitement around their reading!
Hope you'll join the madness this year and stay in touch through the #2016MBM hashtag on Twitter!



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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: 10ish Books When You're in the Mood For Something Light

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, please click here!

Today's Topic: Ten Books When You're in the Mood for Something Light!

Children's & Young Adult Picks:


#1 - The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other) by Geoff Rodkey
This series was one of my new favorite discoveries this year!  12-year-old twins Claudia and Reese turn a (maybe?) misunderstanding into an epic and escalating prank battle! I loved the perspective changes, the hilarious parents' texts, and the clever annotations from each twin.



#2 - Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm
This graphic novel starts off as a light read about a girl visiting her Grandfather in Florida in 1976.  And while this started out as a simple, fun book for me - this Bicentennial Baby loved the references to that era - it gained more and more depth as we discover precisely WHY Sunny is in Florida and away from the rest of her family.


#3 - My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian
Cute book about a rascally kid who has to deal with the disappointment when his summer plans (light vandalism and mayhem) are thwarted when his parents send him to Learning Camp for most of the summer.  I like how this book was honest about this kid's only partial growth.

#4 - Over My Dead Body (43 Old Cemetery Road) by Kate Klise
Clever little book told all in letters between young Seymour, the grumpy Mr. Grumply, and the resident ghost Olive C. Spence.  Fun read and I loved the language play here!





#5 - The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angelberger
This series is hot in my class this month!  Cute combination of Star Wars, origami, and sweet storytelling.



#6 - The Story of Diva & Flea by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi
Short little chapter book about the friendship between a streetwise cat and  a pampered dog. I'm a sucker for kids' books set in Paris so immediately loved this one!








Adult Picks:

#7 - The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carrier
Delightful series about dirigibles, drinking tea, and defying the standards of Victorian etiquette.  So fun!

#8 - The Boleyn King by Laura Anderson
What if Anne Boleyn had actually given King Henry VIII a son who grew up to be king? This fast-paced novel answers that question and takes you on an amazing ride!  This Tudor fan was fascinated by the twists and turns.

#9 - Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Well - the apocalypse is coming and nothing is going quite as planned! The rank and file demons and angels aren't ever sure they really WANT the end of the world now that it's come right down to it....  Fun, fast, and hilarious read!



What do you think?  What are your favorite reads when you're
in the mood for something light?



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