A Preview of March Madness Book Edition #sol20

A Preview of March Madness Book Edition #sol20

March 2, 2020 #sol20

Our new principal brought along with him an enthusiasm for a March Picture Book bracket. He showed me a video of his former school’s reading specialist introducing books in front of a exciting, balloon filled assembly. I was reluctant… mostly to trying to duplicate what he clearly thought was a special moment.

So I said…

I’ll figure out the books, but the assembly is all you.

“Figuring out the books” became the challenge so far. I reviewed some suggested list uninspired about flooding our classrooms with these titles. Having spent this year reading, reviewing, and reading other’s reviews of so many own voice, fresh books, I dreamed of giving our classrooms a mentor text set that would benefit our literacy work long past March.

So I sought out my local expert …

Our librarian

First we talked it out. We looked at the lists available, read many of those books. We agreed to try and make a balanced, fresh list that reflected our students and would be meaningful for most to read and discuss.

So for a week or so we read books…

Many, many books

I wish I had kept track of the number of books I read, reread, and considered. On the appointed afternoon, Barb and I wheeled our suggestions into the conference room with the goal of sixteen books balanced in genre, difficulty, windows, mirrors, and doors.

This was a bigger job than I thought.

We read… and discussed and read some more.

We narrowed it down to around twenty books. Laying them out on the table, we took another look, reading hem to each other, talking more about possible classroom response.

Ready to show our principal.

Am I a little nervous?

The book selection was our contribution. Our principal took up the fundraising. Sixteen hardcover picture books per class was not a small monetary outlay. Sure that these books would be used and loved, we urged him on. Spurred by a vision of a body of mentor text talk that could follow students through our five grades, I was hopeful.

Our principal remained enthusiastic and convincing.

For a while, the prospect was far less that certain.

I made a shopping list for a nearby bookstore… and hoped for the best. Then finally approval!

Flash forward a week, one of our book selection, Hair Love by Matthew Cherry won an Oscar for his screen adaptation. I widely circulated the video through the school with my personal copy of the book and the promise that the book would be in their hands soon.

The books began to trickle in. I posted photos of the covers outside my room. I read one here and there to groups of students. On the day that the books arrived, our students were celebrating Valentines, the afternoon prior to February vacation. Our principal set up the books in our conference room with neat stacks and one front facing display books. Parents in the building drifted in. They had questions.

What will happen to the books afterwards?

My heart fills with the possibilities of these books becoming cherished mentors read over and over.

We gathered up a student from each grade… and then gathered a couple more when the first friends did not want to be photographed. So there in our last moment before vacation, we snapped this photo of promise.

For the month of March , I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (#sol20) sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I will be slicing each day for 31 days inspired by my work as a literacy specialist and coach, my life, and my fellow bloggers.  This is day 2.

11 thoughts on “A Preview of March Madness Book Edition #sol20

  1. Wow, what an exciting accomplishment! But I’m sure it will be so worth it! I love how your writing accentuates that something important like this is never easy, but the hard work will be worth it 🙂

  2. Your selection process seems the most meaningful in a way. I love the idea of all of these books getting into classrooms. I wonder if, in the future, the selection of the Sweet 16 could be turned toward the rest of the school — like the regular season that leads to the March Madness.
    Anyway, the comments should be about your writing, not the project, and clearly I was taken in by the writing. What comes through the most is the way you showed your care for books, the weeks of reading and rereading, the difficulty eliminating, the suspense of it happening, the promise. I want to hear how it turns out.

  3. So will there be balloons … Loved how you took us through each step building anticipation along the way. And of course — great book selections!

  4. Textbook case of blending strengths in service of those young readers’ anticipatory smiles. Enjoy the madness, its fruits of your labors.

  5. How wonderful! What dedication from your principal! And the craft here… the way you structure this piece with the “So” sentences to move us along in time and then the italics to express the questions and doubts and wonderings. I’m taking craft notes as I read!

  6. Wow! The commitment to the idea and the work involved is admirable! This slice, as others have mentioned is paced sweetly, keeping me waiting, wanting to read more. Your principal sounds like an involved literacy leader!

  7. Of course I read, I was taking notes in my mind and dreaming up all the possibilities. So many great titles in that stack. What fun that must have been, and daunting, to choose!

  8. I love the fact that your principal brought this idea to you! Sometimes if feels like administrators and districts don’t fully understand the impact of having new and diverse and relatable books in the classrooms. I hope all of you enjoy the new books for years and years and years!

  9. That is truly a labor of love! For the past few years our Library Media Specialist and I have been previewing hundreds of picture books for our annual #classroombookaday challenge for the entire month of March. I agree, it feels like a huge responsibility to choose the crop of books for the year. I’d love to hear more about which books you considered and ultimately chose. It’s a task that’s best shared across a community (geographical or virtual), I think. Happy book sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s