Today begins the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament, so I thought I’d share something we’re enjoying at school. Last year I brazenly stole this idea idea from a friend from my writing project site and a fellow Slicer, Maria Selke, and I’m so glad I did.
As you can see, the brackets look very similar to the ones many of you have hanging on your refrigerators though instead of starting with a field of sixty-four, we made it a more manageable thirty-two. And instead of comers winning their conferences or wild card games, we asked kids to nominate their favorite books of the year. We limited nominated authors to their two most popular books to avoid having every Rick Riordan book ever written and the entire Harry Potter series take over the tournament. (Yes, eighth graders still love Harry.)
“Games” are conducted via weekly Googledocs surveys. As you can see , we’re currently in the third round as we actually started on March 1st. There have been some contentious battles. We had to learn to turn off the “See Survey Results” option to avoid vote tampering. Even parents have gotten in the act, asking during parent conferences, “How could you pit The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy against Divergent? So unfair!”
The close-up reveals that this round asks kids to make some tough choices. The Book Thief or The Maze Runner? The Hunger Games or The Fault in Our Stars? I’m glad I don’t have to choose. And the results so far indicate a few nail-biters as well as some blow-outs. I just can’t tell you which is which yet as games, I mean, voting is still going on.
No matter which book goes all the way, what’s clear is that the real winner are the kids. Whether they lobbied their lunch table for one of their favorites or read a new book in anticipation of the tournament, everyone comes home from the big dance victorious.
I’m participating in the Slice of Life Challenge. Won’t you join me?