Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March is Pretty Awesome!

It's that time of the year again! March is one of my favorite months for a couple reasons. Of course the first one..totally sappy...but it's my hubby's birthday. Not to mention it's his 30th this year! Whoop Whoop!

March is also one of my favorite months because of March Madness. I love basketball and I absolutely love the competition and excitement of March Madness. It is always super exciting and super interesting to see who makes it through the rounds, where the upsets come from, and the level of determination among the players, coaches, and schools participating. It's always fun to make brackets, see who wins, and have friendly wagers on the tournament. Currently for this year, this girl is winning our ESPN Tournament Challenge with 440 points, while my hubby only has 390! I don't want to speak too soon, but this girl may be winning a home-cooked three course dinner!

But totally relate this back to school, I had to bring the competition in some way to Clover Middle! Last year I had an idea...totally stolen from make a School Battle of the Book Competition. Last year we used the old fashion bulletin board to create a March Madness bracket between the top 16 books checked out of our library. Mrs. Boheler, our media specialist, pulled the list of the top books, and we created a head-to-head battle for the books to compete against each other. Check it out: *Shout out to TimeHop for the photo!*

To get students to vote, we placed QR codes throughout the school and emailed out URL links that allowed students to complete a Google Form and submit. Each week students voted for their favorite books out of the list until books were narrowed down to two and competed head-to-head. Our Book Champion last year was The Hunger Games, my personal favorite. :)

This year we are 1-to-1 with students all having their own iPad. Mrs. Boheler, Mrs. Lefler (our technology guru), and I wanted a way for students to use their iPads and a program that they were move familiar with rather than Google Forms. Mrs. Lefler had the idea of students using My Big Campus to complete surveys. My Big Campus is the program that all teachers use throughout the district and students are comfortable with posting to discussion boards, submitting school work, etc. Mrs. Boheler took care of putting all grade level students into their own group through the media center. Her groups were based on their graduating year (ex: Class of 2019, Class of 2020, and Class of 2021). Mrs. Boheler also added me as an administrator to the groups so that we could assign the March Madness Book Battle through schoolwork to all students.

After the groups were created, I made a "Simple Assignment" survey and listed the top 16 books for this year's checkout rotation. There were many books that were repeated in the top 16 from last year. It's interesting to see how popular some books are year after year. The first survey asked students to vote for their top 8 books out of the list to move on in the competition. Students had from Monday to Sunday to complete the survey. 

As an administrator, Mrs. Boheler and I could log in at any time to see the Live Report under options for the school work. When we would look at the Live Report we could see how many students have completed the survey, how many students were left to vote, and the current vote percentage for each book by grade level. 

On Monday morning the votes were tallied among grade levels and the top 8 voted for books were moved onto a new survey. The new survey was sent out this Monday and students again have until Sunday to complete their votes. 

Students are really enjoying the voting process and by doing the survey through My Big Campus, I feel as though more students are participating! We definitely have had more participants each of our two weeks this year compared to last year. I definitely think it helps that students are also competing for an extra 10 minutes of recess if they are the grade level with the most participation. Hey...a little reward never hurt anyone right?

For our first completed week of the March Madness Book Battle we had approximately half the students in the school complete the survey and vote for their books! With only two and half days into this voting week, we have already had over 162 students vote! Looks like March Madness is as much of a hit with the kiddos as it is with me ;)

Along with the hubby's birthday and March Madness, March is pretty awesome because it's finally time for our Softball season to kick it into gear! I have a fabulous group of 14 girls this year. Last year, with 9 7th graders who all returned this year as 8th graders, we made it to the York County Championship and lost a tough one to York Middle School. We are hoping and planning to make it back to the championship and have a different outcome this year! 

I will be sure to update on the March Madness Book Battle, the Championship book, and our softball season (currently starting out 3-0!), so keep looking! Until next time... :)