Sunday, February 1, 2015

Our First Mock Caldecott 2015

After listening to Caldecott Committee Member Jonathan Hunt share his presentation about his experience and the process involved in choosing the medal winner and honor books at the ISLMA conference in November, I came home ready to set up the first Mock Caldecott at ERES. Before jumping in, I viewed some blogs and articles by some Mock Caldecott veterans, such as Travis Jonker, Katherine Sokolowski, John Schumacher, and Colby Sharp. Once I knew enough to ask questions, I checked in with Margie Myers-Culver, who had graciously offered to help out in any way she could. She guided me to information from her blog and answered several questions from me, until I felt ready to go! I am very grateful to have so many mentors who share from their experiences.

Our Mock Caldecott consisted of 20 books. Again, I looked at the choices of various other leaders of this project, and then worked with two fellow staff members to narrow down our list. That was the hardest part! There were so many books I wanted to include, and I so wanted to make sure that the winner (or at least some honor books) might be included. Unfortunately, we had to cut some great books, and we felt like we had a great list of books to use. Our list is below:

Next, I approached a few teachers to help take part. My goal was to complete the project in December, and I knew I wouldn't have enough time with the participating classes to do this, so I needed teachers who would be eager to participate. I chose Mrs. Smith and Ms. Hahn, both of whom are second grade teachers known for reading many books to their classes. They hopped on board immediately, and we were joined by Mr. Shipman, a third grade teacher in a neighboring school within our district.

Let me say that the project was one of my favorite things I've done with students in the library. The kids really learned about an award that was unheard of by most students at ERES only a few years ago. It introduced them to some fabulous books, and pushed them to look at those books in a way that they never had in the past. It was interesting for me to hear what appealed to them and what stood out to them. The project was also a fantastic way to collaborate with those classroom teachers who took part.

We used a 1-2-3 scoring system for the books. Our students were very sincere as they rated the books, and most were very thoughtful in the way they made their decisions. It was apparent that it was very hard for them to look at each book more deeply than simply picking their favorite book. I think that sometimes we as teachers might have influenced the students at times when reading one of our favorites, even though we really tried not to do this!  Our results are below:

Ms. Hahn's 2nd Grade Class
  • Medal:  Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
  • Honor Books:  Louise Loves ArtThe Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, & Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?
Mrs Smith's 2nd Grade Class
  • Medal:  IvanThe Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla
  • Honor Books:  Sparky!The Farmer and the Clown, & Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads
ERES 2nd Grade Combined
  • Medal:  Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
  • Honor Books:  Louise Loves ArtThe Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, & Gravity
Mr. Shipman's 3rd Grade Class
  • Medal:  The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
  • Honor Books:  Sparky!Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla, & Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
As I look back on our experience, there are definitely a few things I would change, but unfortunately, a couple are situations over which I had no control. I said earlier that my goal was to finish in December, but Mr. Shipman, who was at another school, didn't receive his books until the week before Christmas break. In December, Ms. Hahn took a major fall down a flight of steps, injuring both ankles, and ending up in a wheelchair. She was unable to come to school during the two weeks before Christmas, by which time Mrs. Smith's class was almost finished evaluating all of the books. So much for timing! While this was unfortunate and prevented us from doing a great deal of interaction among the classes while we read, each class worked together to rate the books, and enjoyed checking the chart in the library to see how other classes were scoring the books. (I never posted scores until all of the classes had read and evaluated a particular book.) I am also eager to try to do something next year to involve our teachers in the process more, such as the Caldecott lunches hosted by Kurt Stroh and Carrie Davies. I loved this idea!

As our project for 2015 is completed we eagerly await the Caldecott and other award announcements. We can't help but hope, that just maybe, one or more of our students' choices will be among those that are honored tomorrow!

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