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.