NEW HAVEN – March Madness isn’t just for basketball fans.
Just ask the third graders at New Haven Elementary School who are helping to decide which story will win the March Book Madness.
An open, online-based event, New Haven third grade teachers Andrea Searles, Ashley Cobb and Andrea Barry combined a love of literacy with classroom lessons to really make students’ votes count.
Much like the NCAA basketball tournament, two Central Ohio teachers initiated March Book Madness with a sweet 16 selection for both middle grades and young adult books.
With the help of Searles, Cobb and Barry, the third graders used a simple Google Form to cast their vote of which book they thought should make it to the next round.
Reflective of the basketball tournaments, books make their way to top rounds, including the final four and championship match.
“Not Quite Narwhal is my favorite!” one student said.
With “Compelling Characters” as this year’s March Book Madness theme, Searles, Cobb and Barry wove the literacy competition into their English language arts lessons.
As a grade level, the teachers had their students complete character studies from the 16 books, read selections of their choice and compete in classroom-specific reading games.
Searles said her students wrote an opinion piece on what book they thought should be named the ultimate March Book Madness winner before that work was transformed into a book talk video.
Cobb said it has been exciting for the New Haven students to be a part of something bigger and to realize their vote could have an impact on the final result. In her classroom, she utilized video clips about each book to help the students further engage in the process.
Cobb said March Book Madness has brought joy to the entire third grade.