On Monday, we were at the "Sweet Sixteen" for both classes. It has been fascinating to see how the personalities of each class are reflected in both their discussions and their final voting. As of Monday, here were the pairings students would be voting on:
Team Terlecky's pairings
Okay For Now vs Flying Solo
Out of My Mind vs Smile
Hunger Games vs Small as an Elephant
Grandpa's Teeth vs Chester
Pete the Cat vs The Candymakers
Umbrella Summer vs Middle School:The Worst Years of My LIfe
Wonder vs Scaredy Squirrel
Big Nate vs Sidekicks
Team Harper's pairings
Hunger Games vs Big Nate
SLOB vs Middle School:The Worst Years of My Life
Lunch Lady vs How to Steal a Dog
Because of Mr. Terupt vs Sidekicks
Wonder vs The Other Side
Anything But Typical vs Smile
Okay for Now vs Scaredy Squirrel
Grandpa's Teeth vs The One and Only Ivan
The similarities are there, but every time I look at each group's pairings, I am more struck by what wasn't included for each class. Some of the books I would have sworn were their favorite read alouds didn't advance far, yet books that were highly popular and read by individuals did. It is very noticeable during our class conversations before voting, that certain students hold more sway when it comes to making their arguments for which book should win the pairing. I have many readers in my classes this year, but those students who noticeably devour all sorts of books, have a huge voice in what book advances to the next round. Pretty cool stuff!
I was not in school on Monday, and I am so excited to find out which of these books made it to the "Elite Eight". We will be doing one more round when I'm back tomorrow, and then saving the huge show-downs for next week, our final three days of school. Next Tuesday, we will have the Final Four conversations and voting, and on Wednesday, we will have the championship game. That gives everyone plenty of time to start making their arguments to classmates for which book should be the overall winner.
A group of students even suggested we have some sort of May Madness medal to put on the book that wins. What a great idea! We'll be displaying those books on Wednesday and Thursday, our last 2 days of school.
There have been so many off-shoots of this activity, and all of them have shown just how passionate these students are about books and reading. I'm closing my slice today with a blog post from one of my boys who very rarely shares an opinion out loud because it might not be cool. I was doing a happy dance when I read this post. Here is a student that can articulate his feelings about May Madness and books he likes (and with apologies to Jeff Kinney, books he doesn't):
Dear Mrs. T,
I really like may maddness. I am worried that Middle School Worst Years of my Life would go up against Sidekicks. Those are some of my favorite books this year but I like Sidekicks a little bit better. I think the Hunger Games will win it all because how popular it’s been this year. I remember a tough matchup between Because of Mr.Terupt vs. some other good book. I like Big Nate alot because of how funny it is. I personely think Big Nate is SO much better than Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Diary of a Wimpy kid has bad humor and the books keep getting worse and worse and worse. May maddness adds a ton of fun to school!
Thanks to Ruth and Stacey for hosting us on Tuesdays -- I'm delighted to be continuing my membership in this writing community that meets every week for Slice of Life Tuesday.