Saturday, November 14, 2015

Celebrate This Week! 11.14.15

It's always good to end the week on a positive note.  Sometimes we concentrate on the negatives.  We have a choice.  Choose positive.  Choose to celebrate.  I will be joining Ruth Ayres and her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week.  Check out all the other celebrations HERE

Picture Book Month Celebration
I am continuing to celebrate November as Picture Book Month.  I shared my reasons for celebrating a wonderful picture book with my reading intervention students last week.  We had another week of great conversations using these books:
Image result for Little elliot big city      Image result for little elliot big family     Image result for toys go out in the snow 

Image result for i want my hat back     Image result for last stop on market street
Great conversations about perspective using all of these books!  I think it's so important to acknowledge the conversations the students have using books and how it impacts their learning to share in the talk together.

Mock Newbery

Last Year
Last year, my colleague and I embarked on our first Mock Newbery Club with the oldest students in our school, the 4th graders.  Having a Mock Newbery Club with this age student can be tricky.  They aren't always ready for the complexities of books that have potential of being a chosen Newbery honoree, but these students are ready to read wonderful literature and share and discuss what makes that book stand out.
Last year we read 4 shared titles.  We read one each month.  Students could pick and choose which books they wanted to read, but we only discussed one title each month.

Getting ready for this year
This year we wanted to switch it up and allow more choice.  And with more choice, we wanted more titles.  We decided upon 10 titles.  The titles were chosen by talking with other educators to compare titles and criteria, looking at blogs that specifically looked at potential Newbery titles and Goodreads Mock Newbery group.  They were also chosen because they would provide a wide variety of reading, both in topics, genre and level, for fourth grade level students.  While we understand that some of them are books that may not live up to the highest Newbery award criteria, they are excellent books for students who range in age from 9-10 years old.

We met with our fourth grade teachers and students in September.  The first six titles of our Mock Newbery Club were shared with students.  We discussed the parameters of the club.  There would be ten titles students could choose from.  Students must read five books in order to vote in January.  We meet at least once each month, starting in October, to discuss the various books.  In order to participate, students needed to return a contract that both the student and parent signed.  They received an official "Mock Newbery Committee Member" packet with information, a book order form and Newbery criteria information.  The packet was in a sealed envelope that was addressed to each "committee member" to make it look official!  There were many smiles on the students' faces when they received their packet.
We discussed with students how to get the books they wanted to read.  Our school library ordered copies, often multiple copies, that were placed in a special bin that is housed in our school library.  Only members of the Mock Newbery Club can check these books out until after the YMAwards in January.  My colleague and I checked out books from the public library using our teacher card.  This allows us to keep the books for an extended period of time.  I had a few ARCs of the books that I also added to the pile.  We also talked about how books are available on audio at the local library.  Some students have bought or borrowed books for their kindles.  
Titles that were revealed in September:
Image result for echo pam munoz ryan      Image result for circus mirandus     Image result for war that saved my life     Image result for fish in a tree

Image result for a handful of stars     Image result for the way home looks now

We had our first Mock Newbery Club meeting.  About half of our fourth grade students are participating.  Out of my seven reading intervention students, six students are participating.  We meet during the students lunch time.  It's books, food and conversation.  Students sat with other students who had read the same book.  If they had already read multiple books, they chose their favorite to discuss.  We had Newbery criteria sheets to pass out to everyone.  Using the criteria prompts, students, I mean Mock committee members, talked to each other about whether a book met criteria.  What parts did?  Was it the entire book or did one part stand out over others?  Fourth grade teachers, my reading teacher colleague and I roamed between the different groups, sharing in the conversations.  The committee members did a great job talking about the books and the parts that stood out to them.
Next, we had committee members pair up with other committee members who had read different books so they could share.  This gave students who had read multiple books a chance to talk and share all the titles they had read.  Many committee members walked away having an idea of the next book they wanted to read.
Finally, we shared the final four titles on our list.
Image result for crenshaw katherine applegate     Image result for firefly hollow book     Image result for the story of diva and flea     Image result for another kind of hurricane
Before leaving this first meeting, students were able to trade books and check a new one out if they were ready, including some of our new titles.

Early in the month, we went around to the fourth grade classrooms and took pictures of students holding up the books they had read.  We have a bulletin board that shows pictures of each Mock Newbery title.  Now there are pictures of the students with the books that frame the covers.  Students enjoy seeing who else had read the same titles, and it's a visual reminder to keep reading the books!
We just had our second Mock Newbery meeting yesterday.  Everyone had read two books and because all three of our fourth grade teachers participated in Global Read Aloud, all of the students had just listened to Fish in a Tree.  I was surprised at how many students had read more than three books.  A couple of students were starting their seventh Mock Newbery book!
We started off the same way by having students meet with other committee members who had read the same book.  I'm noticing the conversations are getting even more rich, and kids are asking their own questions to each other instead of relying on the criteria sentence starters.
As students talked, my colleague took more pictures of committee members and the books they had read for our bulletin board.
Next, we met as a group and if a committee member felt very strongly about a book, that they had found the next Newbery award winner, they presented it to the committee and had to back it up with criteria.  Some students definitely had a passion for particular books!
At the end, some students traded out books again and they were reminded it would be a shorter amount of time before our next meeting in December.

Going forward
We will meet with students twice in December.
On January 8 we will have our final meeting where students will vote for their favorites.  I still haven't decided how voting will look.  My colleague and I need to figure out what will work best for our group.  I'm thinking about doing a weighted vote so we can determine if we have an official award winning book and some honors.
We will meet as a school on January 12 to learn the results of our school's Mock Geisel, Mock Caldecott and Mock Newbery votes.  We will cap the assembly off with watching the taped webcast of the YMAwards, specifically those final awards!

I am really enjoying the changes we made this year for our Mock Newbery.  The shared discussions, students' insights and conversations, and doing something as a school is very rewarding.

As mentioned, we're not only doing a Mock Newbery, students in grades K-1 are participating in Mock Geisel, and students 2-4 are participating in Mock Caldecott.  I'll talk about those in weeks to come!


  1. I love how you took us through the whole process. Mock Newbery is something I've wanted to try for a long time and I never knew how to start. This helps a lot!!! I join you in celebrating picture books too!!!

  2. Thank you so much for showing how you are going through the process. I've loved this celebration idea but wasn't sure how to proceed. This is a model for me thanks!

  3. It's so fascinating when schools and libraries do this and giving us a behind-the-scenes look was fun. I would get excited if I got something sealed to make it official looking.

  4. I love reading about your process: the sealed envelope packets delivered to committee members, the photos of students holding books they've read around the book titles, and the lunch time meetings. I'm hoping to offer this option next year in addition to our after school book club. Thanks for sharing the details!

  5. Thank you for sharing your process. It sounds like a fun program.

  6. I really want to do this next year! Thanks for such a thorough peek at what you do.
    Will you be at NCTE? I'd love to meet you. I am writing about my sessions today and starting a Voxer chat.

  7. Also, I will be eager to hear about your Mock Caldecott process. I am trying out a Mock Pura Belpré (illustration) this year and haven't "mocked" before.

  8. I will share this with our librarian, Michele. Love hearing the explanation of all that you're doing-wonderful for the students! I just got Diva and Flea from the library, haven't thought of it as a Newbery contender, but know that many are praising it. I've read the others except for The Way Home Looks Now, & enjoyed every one. Thanks very much!

  9. What a great experience for your kiddos! I love the titles you chose. Can't wait to see which one wins!

  10. What a great idea! You have chosen so awesome books! Our kiddos have gone crazy about Fish In A Tree this year.