Brian’s Note: this is a Brian post. Prepare for it to get somewhat off-topic. Or at least be full of on-topic rambling.
If you’ve been following Jillian and I over the past year or so, you’ll know that we love a little bit of competition. We both feed off of it, and it engages most of our students as well. We’re all about keeping it friendly, and celebrating the results we’re all able to achieve through this extra motivation to lay a smack-down on someone from that state across Lake Michigan that sometimes refers to itself as looking like a mitten.
One of the most successful things we’ve done as Sister Classrooms has been our #throwdown competitions. They have been explained in varying detail here, here, and here. Basically, our students (or in the case of this summer, teachers and librarians) challenge each other to read more books per person than the other class over the course of a month.
Because we really can’t leave well enough alone, we had to up the ante a little this year. Well, actually, there is no ante (though fudge and cheese curds have exchanged hands). But we knew this had to be more than a one-time thing. This could really go all year. So we counted. October. November. December. January. February. March. April. May. 8 full months in the school year (we did the counting on September 26th, so that month was out). We each teach 4 classes: two 7th grade and two 8th grade. What if we matched up one class at a time throughout the year? Each class would get to participate twice, and they could then encourage their other classmates when it was their turn.
So yeah, that’s what we’re doing. In October, I am putting my 7A class up against a class of Mrs. Heise’s 7th graders. We’re using Google Docs (or Drive or whatever it’s called today) to keep track, which makes it fun for the students to see the up-to-the-second results.
The guidelines, if you’re curious:
ALL READING COUNTS. But some books do take more effort. So:
- graphic novels count as 1/4
- novels-in-verse count as 1/2
- chapter books and above count as 1 book each
- any book over 500 pages counts as 1.5
Oh, and Mrs. Heise, this is for you:
Happy #throwdown, everybody!