Tony and Scott asked a few teachers, media specialists and other participants of March Book Madness 2017 to write a blog post documenting their MBM experience. Here is one of those blog posts...
What is the power of one voice? As I reflect in awe of the excitement that March Book Madness 2017 (MBM) brought to both my schools and media centers, I realize it all comes down to the power of each voice.
Any time we can provide opportunities for students to have and share a voice, it is powerful! I look for multiple opportunities throughout the year for students to simply “love on” books. Whether it's new arrivals, our Mock Caldecott, Buckeye Book Award, Global Read Aloud (Pioneered by Pernille Ripp ) or MBM, we have golden, precious moments to let books open the hearts and minds of those we teach and help readers find and share their voice!
This year the 16 contenders for each MBM category were amazing! We especially focused on the picture books. Using Scott and Tony's introduction video, sparked instant conversation and opinions. Through the collaborative efforts of Hilliard media specialists Phyllis Brown and Ashley Lambacher, Padlets were born as a launchpad for each book. Trailers were posted to advertise each book with a link to yet another (unsuspecting) Padlet for each book for students to share their voice. From there the beauty happened!
Does one voice have power? Yes, the power to communicate and share!
I took it to the students (with just a little nudge from EdTech coaches Lauren Davis and Kara Ripp) and simply asked, "How do you want to share your voice about your opinions of these awesome books?" Ideas sprang up from watching our tech mentors like:
"I want to do a self-video like @thelivbits"
“or a song like Emily Arrow !”
“How about a Chatterpix where the main character talks?”
“An iMovie trailer!”
“Can I record my voice in Vocaroo.com and post as a QR code?”
"Can I just type my opinion in Google Docs and post to the picture book Padlet or our Destiny Catalog for other readers to read?"
“Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!” All that and any other way YOU can imagine sharing your voice!
Does one voice have power? Yes, the power to collaborate and create!
The thing is EVERY child has a voice and MBM is accessible to every student! The kindergarten students held a lively debate between Snappsy the Alligator and Wolfie the Bunny with the two sides facing one another, talking one at a time back and forth, connecting each opinion with "buuuuut...". Third graders read and watched others’ response on Padlet and wanted to talk face to face, so some Google Hangout times were held between schools. The fourth and fifth graders read aloud to our youngest and modeled how to talk about books: This book is ________ because....
Does one voice have power? Yes, the power to inspire, connect, agree and disagree.
Twitter provides me with a way to share a window into the world I live and love -two Elementary media centers. As the students found varied ways to share their voice, I stepped back and noticed with wonder, snapped photos and videos in abundance, and tried to capture in 140 characters "all the wow"- to show the world how much we simply loved these stories.
Does one voice have power? Yes, the power to celebrate!
The beauty in all of this sharing of our voice came in moments where the authors and illustrators took time to share their voice back as comments on Twitter or extended an invitation to Skype. The beauty came when students went to the MBM site to check their brackets and celebrate books that moved ahead (still vowing to love the ones who didn't). The beauty came when THE founders of MBM asked little old (50 this year- there- I put it out there!) me to be a guest blogger for MBM (What? Me?! What would I possibly have to share?!)
Does one voice have power? Yes, in every way!
The power to communicate, the power to share, the power to collaborate, the power to create, the power to celebrate, the power to inspire, the power to connect, the power to agree, or disagree. Yes, each of our voices have the power to change, grow hearts and minds.
Thank you, Scott and Tony for dreaming up MBM. Thank you for s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me to share my voice beyond my 140 -Twitter-characters -comfort- zone in my first-ever public blog post.
How will YOU share the power of your voice?! (Did you know only 14 votes separated Gaston and Ivan the Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla?) Our voices have the power to change the world, people! (Ooh! I sound a little Kid President!) Get Up, get Reading, get Sharing and Shine! The world is waiting!
Media Specialist Hoffman Trails and Norwich Elementary Schools
Posted by Tony Keefer (@tonykeefer) Dublin (Ohio) City Schools
When I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was ABC's Wide World of Sports. Each week the show would recap sporting events from around the world. In the dark ages before the internet it was the only way for a young sports fan in Ohio to know that sports like downhill skiing, water polo and Greco-Roman wrestling existed in non-Olympic years. But my favorite part of the show was hearing announcer Jim McKay saying "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" during the opening montage of sports highlights.
I think that within the March Book Madness community there will be plenty of victorious cheers mixed in with plenty of defeated groans tomorrow. I know there will be some angst-driven howls coming from my own students. One of the great things about being behind the scenes here at March Book Madness is that I have seen the results piling up all week long. For me and some of my students there will be sadness tomorrow (unless a miracle happened in the final stages of voting today).
While scanning some of the results last night, I started texting Scott Jones, who set up this week's voting forms for March Book Madness. Part of our thread looked like this:
"Really?!?!? xxxxxxx is not going to win?!?!"
"I know, there are some surprising results so far."
"I am SHOCKED!"
Personal investment in books is one thing that binds us all in the March Madness Community. If we weren't excited about the stories we love and helping students find that passion, we wouldn't have signed up for this event. And we definitely wouldn't be creating giant hallway brackets, maxing out our library cards and tweeting out classroom pictures of kids joyfully reading March Book Madness Books. By my most recent count we have over 1,000 classrooms from nearly every state in the U.S.A (plus classrooms from seven other countries) participating in our 'little group.' My guess is that means there could be over 20,000 people tomorrow either jumping for joy or shaking their heads in disbelief.
So get excited and give a few fist-bumps or high-fives, but remember there will be some kids who need a pat on the back or a hug. Winning is wonderful, but losing does hurt. My hope is that while the agony of defeat may sting, the victorious thrill of being part of an amazing community of book lovers will win in the end.
Posted by Tony Keefer (@tonykeefer) Dublin (Ohio) City Schools
I seriously cannot believe the excitement about March Book Madness. The Twitter thread #2015MBM makes my day whenever I check it. When the small group of us decided to launch the idea of a 'connected' March Book Madness we really didn't know what to expect, but I am pretty sure we didn't think that over 500 schools would be participating in some way. In case you haven't been keeping up on the hashtag in Twitter here are some of the many things that made me smile.
Lots of "giant" brackets:
Some wonderful videos:
Kids getting excited about books and the choices they will make:
A first grade class going crazy with VoiceThread. I would have no idea which one to choose, because they all are delightful. If you go to their class Twitter account, @Frazier1st, you can check them out.
A Padlet filled with book trailers for March Book Madness:
Due to the unbelievable reaction to March Book Madness, PARCC testing and a lot of other things, Scott and I are a little behind on getting the Map updated. We will get it done, so if you think you submitted your location and don't see it yet, please check on Monday before resubmitting.
by Scott Jones, 5th Grade teacher, Hilliard City Schools
I am so excited to be a part of March Book Madness 2015 because it reminds me of a milestone in my classroom that recently happened.
A few weeks ago, my students and I watched the ALSC Book & Media Awards announcement webcast. Students waited with anticipation to hear the winners of the Caldecott and Newbery Medals because we had spent so much time discussing many noteworthy books. Bodies were shifting in seats, fingers were tapping, legs were rocking. I knew there were two titles that everyone was waiting to hear announced--The Crossover and El Deafo. I had book-talked The Crossover in the first week of school knowing that the subject and writing style would appeal to many of my boy readers. But I didn't anticipate the fact that it would not be on our classroom library bookshelves for months afterwards. I also knew that El Deafo was a class favorite because we had just experienced this wonderful memoir as a visual read aloud. By projecting this graphic novel onto the screen via my iPad, my students and I were transported into CeCe Bell's world of feeling different while growing up in elementary school.
It was time for the announcement. I had purposely avoided Twitter so we could all be surprised together. I fumbled with my phone just in time to record the announcement:
I am ecstatic to be a part of March Book Madness 2015 because it is another way to empower and engage my students as readers. I think all teachers don't want their students to view reading as something they HAVE to do. As I look at the map of participants here, and see how #2015MBM has gone GLOBAL, I can't help but be overjoyed thinking about the number of students who will gain from this. Reading allows us to learn lessons, stir up emotions, connect with characters, experience other points of view and follow passions. Even though this tournament is a competition, which can be inherently emotional for some, I hope that it fosters all of our students' passion for books, while invigorates and energizes our students to see the joy of reading.
No matter which books come out on top, the winner is...the students.
The March Book Madness "Team" is so looking forward to this inaugural year for the site. As the tournament progresses we will use this page to share news, stories and links for posts that students, classes or teachers write about March Book Madness.