Saturday, January 16, 2016

Celebrate This Week! 1.16.16 Celebrating the Mocks

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

One of my favorite things about fall/winter are the Mocks.  As I read throughout the year, I think about what books might go on my lists.  I think about what books are going to go on other people's lists.  By the time school starts, I'm having a lot of conversations about what I may put on our Mock Newbery list.  By the time school is in full swing and it's October, then the Mock Caldecott frenzy begins.  Since I work in a K-4 building, I enjoy having a Mock Geisel for the little ones to celebrate.

Here's a look back at the 2016 Mock season.

Mock Newbery
  • We changed up our Mock Newbery this year and instead of reading the same book each month and only reading 4 books, we chose 10 books and let the kids choose what they wanted to read.  The only requirement:  in order to vote in January they had to read at least 5 of the 10 books.
  • We introduced 6 books in September, 4 books in October.  We chose the books based on Newbery "buzz", age level appropriateness, and variety of genre and content.  We met with the entire 4th grade and introduced the Newbery Club and the requirements in early September. 
  • Our Mock Newbery Club met at lunch time, at least twice a month.
  • Newbery criteria was introduced and each subsequent meeting had students using the criteria more and more, resulting in deeper, richer conversations.
  • Each meeting had opportunities for the students to talk as a whole group, in smaller groups based on common books, and in smaller groups and talking about the different books they had read.
  • Here's my original post about our Mock Newbery.  It includes our list of Mock Newbery books.

Mock Caldecott
  • We started the Mock Caldecott with me going to the different classes, showing them past winners using the Animoto video Margie Myers-Culver had made.  We talked about different art mediums, lines, shapes, styles to get them used to the vocabulary.
  • Teachers read the 10 Mock Caldecott books and potentially some of the "honorable mention" books to their class during the months of November, December and the first week of January.
  • Students looked at the criteria that is outlined for the Caldecott committee and used that and their newly acquired art vocabulary to analyze, discuss and rate the books.
  • Teachers could use a Padlet that had book trailer videos, author interviews, and other links that related to the books or authors to enhance their Mock Caldecott fun.
  • 2nd-4th grade classes participated in the Mock Caldecott.

Mock Geisel
  • Clases in Kg-1st grade participated in the Mock Geisel.
  • Using the Geisel Committee criteria, teachers read the 10 books that were chosen for our Mock Geisel and students discussed the criteria (written in child friendly language) to determine if the books met it.
  • Teachers read the books to their classes, starting in November going until the first week in January.
  • Teachers could use a Padlet that had book trailer videos, author interviews, and other links that related to the books or authors to enhance their Mock Geisel fun.

Our Culminating Events

On the Friday before the Youth Media Awards, our entire school voted for the Mock category they participated in.  We had a designated voting area with 4 voting booths set up for privacy.  Kg-2nd grade students had a ballot that had pictures of the books they read.  They voted by circling the book they thought was best for the award.  Next they put their ballot in the ballot box and received an "I Voted Today" sticker.  The 3rd/4th grade students voted using a weighted ballot.  They voted for the top 3 books that deserved to win, with their 1st choice book earning 4 points, 2nd choice book earning 3 points and 3rd choice book earning 2 points.  They followed the same routine:  voting booth, ballot box, I Voted sticker.  It was funny watching the students vote and interact with each other.  Most took the voting very seriously - pouring over the ballot, taking their time making choices.  After they voted, some students whispered together, others kept their vote private.  All were excited to come down and experience the voting process!

The big day came the day after Youth Media Awards.  We had a whole school assembly to celebrate books and reading!  Students walked in while an Animoto video was playing.  The video showed the book covers of all the books in our Mock Geisel, Caldecott and Newbery.  What happened next made my booking love heart so happy.  In the front row were our little kindergarteners.  While they waited for the rest of the students to walk in, they started reading off the names of the books as they saw them on the screen.  They were so excited - the smiles on their faces were huge!  The older kids started to join in.  How often do you have your entire school chanting book titles?  Next we celebrated our school's Mock winners.  We shared the winners similar to how it's done on the YMA webcast - I used Google Presentation and went slide by slide showing the book covers.  It was so exciting to see the kids clapping and cheering and squeals of excitement!  Finally we watched the webcast of the official awards.  We started with the Schneider Awards.  Our Mock Newbery Club had read Fish in a Tree and The War That Saved My Life, and I had read Emmanuel's Dream to my 4th grade students.  After that we watched the Geisel, Caldecott and Newbery Awards.  As usual, the Geisel had stumped us.  We had Supertruck on our list but that was it.  Waiting was on our Caldecott list, so the 2nd-4th graders were happy seeing it mentioned twice.  It was interesting to step back and watch the students' reactions.  At times they were joyful.  At times, confused.  I understood that!

Setting up Mocks for the entire school is a lot of work, but so worth it in the end.  To know that our students were exposed to such quality literature.  That they had a chance to discuss, analyze and share books and conversation with each other.  
That's a celebration.


  1. Michele, I love that you shared so much detail about your process. Now I want to know what the 10 titles on your Mock Newbery were. Maybe they are listed on an earlier post. I'm thinking of doing a lunch time Mock Newbery next year. Love those deeper, richer conversations that resulted as time went on.

    1. I added a link to my original Mock Newbery post, Ramona!

  2. What a huge undertaking it was to do this for the entire school! I got tired just thinking about doing it for my class. Do you do anything for March Madness with books?

    1. We're in the process of figuring out our March Madness now. We want to do something, just not sure what yet!

  3. I am impressed with the details you covered with each age, Michele. I agree with your final words. How wonderful that students had the experience of reading and discussing great literature, and practice in picking winner. Isn't it nice that they see so many being excited about books.

  4. I guess I didn't realize you were doing this or the entire school. What fun! I think it is wonderful when kids are involved in the process of recognizing great books. Good job!

  5. Michelle, it is so exciting that you exposed your entire school population to a real world activity of value. I love that your students were all mini-literary critics making wise choices. There was lots of work, lots of fun, and lots of rewards!

  6. I love the way you did this. I had only planned to do grades 2-5 so did Caldecott with 3 & 5 and Pura Belpre with 2 & 4. At the last min. I added in K & 1 to the Caldecotts, but Geisel would have been a good idea. Maybe next year. I want to do Sibert too.