Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Spring Update - #MustReadin2018


It's time to update my #MustReadin2018 progress! Thankfully, I have more time time do dig into my TBR stack now that I am on vacation. I am grateful for Carrie Gelson and the #MustRead community for keeping me focused since it's easy to add new books to my stacks.  I've been busy reading books that aren't on this list, so this spring update is a reminder to stay committed to my reading plan.  I also know that summer vacation is my most productive reading time of the year, so I'm sure I will be deeper into the pile in my next update!

Happy Reading!


The War I Finally Won Finished 1/20/18




Just Like Jackie Finished 4/15/18



Fenway and Hattie: Up to New Tricks Finished with Grace 4/15/18




You Go First Currently Reading


Student Centered Coaching  Currently Reading

The Honest Truth - Up Next!




Still in My Must Read Stack

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus



Sticks and Stones


One Amazing Elephant


The List


Grump


Smart Cookie


Granted


The Train of Lost Things


Good Dog




Breakout

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

Bob


Professional Books in my Must Read Pile

When Writers Drive the Workshop

Readers Front and Center
What Readers Really Do

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Celebrating a Love of Nonfiction Through March Madness


Most people think that March Madness is about basketball, but at Williams Elementary School, we know that it's really a celebration of outstanding nonfiction picture books!

One of my favorite March Madness stories occurred during a physical education class. When the teacher asked if anyone knew about March Madness, most of the students enthusiastically raised their hands.  I think he was impressed that so many children knew about college basketball! To his surprise, numerous students responded by explaining that "March Madness is when you read awesome nonfiction books and vote for your favorites!"  The students at Williams Elementary School appreciate being part of a school community that celebrates a love of reading!

After a month of reading and voting, our students selected How The Cookie Crumbled and What Makes a Monster as our 2018 Nonfiction Picture Book finalists.  It's hard to capture the energy and excitement of this epic, annual event in a blog post!  This year's event included a light show, specially selected music, a bubble machine, and a fog machine ... not to mention lots of foot stomping and chanting from students!  Jason Pellerin, the Lawrence High School basketball coach and our master of ceremonies, always knows just how to energize the crowd!



As always, we kicked off our final celebration by announcing the 14 picture books that were part of the original bracket.  Each class selected a student representative who marched in our parade of books in front of the school.  After the parade, we announced each finalist.   


Third grade teacher, Sydney Langis was a fan of How The Cookie Crumbled so she dressed as Ruth Wakefield and entered the gym surrounded by a collection of adorable students dressed as cookies. 


Next, third grade teacher, Bri Brockway celebrated her love for What Makes a Monster by having her students dress as creatures from the book.  You can imagine the energy and excitement when her students danced into the gym to the Monster Mash!

Now it was time for the main event!  Check out this video to watch the big reveal of our 2018 Nonfiction March Madness Champion!



Clearly, our WES students are HUGE fans of Jess Keating since this is the second year in a row that they have selected one of her books as our champion!  Jess is so amazing and thoughtful.  She took the time to craft a special message to the students of Williams Elementary School on her YouTube channel. The kids felt so special to hear from the author!


We were also lucky to receive a special message from Melissa Stewart!


Melissa has been supportive of our project from the beginning. This year she even sent us a few book recommendations for our 2019 March Madness bracket.

I am so grateful to work in a school that centers our traditions and celebrations around a love of reading.  Students have shared that March Madness is awesome because we "read EPIC books and vote in tense battles"! This year we have a new principal who shared with us that she had "never seen students so excited about books in her life.  The buzz about the building during March Madness was amazing."  

We are already starting a list of our contenders for the 2019 March Madness Nonfiction Picture Book tournament!  Feel free to share your favorite nonfiction picture book recommendations in the comments. As an educator, there's nothing better than being part of a community of readers who love to celebrate books!



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Our 2018 Nonfiction Picture Book March Madness Tournament

The third annual March Madness Nonfiction Picture Book tournament is in full swing at Williams Elementary School!  On February 14th, we decided to celebrate our LOVE of BOOKS with an assembly announcing the sixteen outstanding picture books that would be featured in this year's reading tournament. Students from each classroom held copies of the sixteen books in our tournament as we separated them into brackets in the corners of our gymnasium.  New to our event this year was a schoolwide knockout tournament.  A few of our third graders generated this idea, which added even more excitement and energy to this event! More than seventy students and staff competed at four different basketball hoops in the gymnasium.  At the end of the game, we had 4 knockout champions!  After our assembly, students were ready to READ!





During the last three weeks, our thirteen classroom teachers have been reading aloud a nonfiction picture book each day.  After reading each pair of books, students vote to move their favorite book to the next round. The votes in some of our matchups have been very close this year!

Announcing Our Elite 8



This week our students voted to select our 2018 March Madness Final Four Nonfiction Picture Books!  Drum roll please.....


VS




VS



Our final two picture books will be selected tomorrow and our 2018 March Madness Nonfiction Picture Book Champion will be announced at our annual assembly on Wednesday, March 21!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

#MustReadin2018


I love looking at #MustRead lists, so I thought I would join in the fun this year for a little accountability!  Thank you to Carrie Gelson for hosting this challenge! I always make a list in a notebook of the books I want to read, but as I purchase new titles, some books never make it out of the pile.  My goal is to read the books on my #MustReadin2018 list, as well as any new books that come across my path!  My list contains middle grade novels that are still in my pile from 2017, books I'm looking forward to reading in 2018 and the professional books that I currently have in my "MustRead" stack!

Happy Reading!

Books Still In My Pile from 2017
The War I Finally Won Finished 1/20/18



Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus


Sticks and Stones


The Honest Truth


One Amazing Elephant


The List


Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2018

Just Like Jackie Currently reading


Fenway and Hattie: Up to New Tricks Currently reading with Grace


Grump


Smart Cookie


Granted


The Train of Lost Things


Good Dog


You Go First


Breakout

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

Bob



Professional Books in my TBR Pile

Student Centered Coaching  Currently reading

When Writers Drive the Workshop

Readers Front and Center
What Readers Really Do