23 January 2010

Battle of the Books

B. participated in Battle of the Books this year. The competition was held in her school library on Friday. There were four teams of three kids from three middle schools in our district. (The two main middle schools and the Montessori school). Below is a brief explanation of what Battle of the Books is from this website.

The Battle of the Books is a statewide Alaskan reading motivation and comprehension program sponsored by the Alaska Association of School Librarians. The goals of the program are to encourage and recognize students who enjoy reading, broaden reading interests, increase reading comprehension, and promote academic excellence.
Lists of books are chosen and questions are written for all grade levels. Students read the books, discuss them, quiz each other on the contents, and then compete in teams of not more than three students to correctly answer questions based on the books in a "quiz show" format. Questions begin with the words "In which book..." so that the answer will always be a title and author. Teams may participate at the local, district and state levels of competition - with the exception of K-2 students whose competition goes only through the district level.
New lists of recommended titles for each level are compiled each year by a committee of librarians and teachers based on the "Criteria for the Selection of Titles" in Appendix A. An attempt is made to vary the titles chosen according to genre and difficulty so that readers may encounter a broad range of books. At the annual AkLA conference, the official booklist for state competition for the following year is set so that planning to obtain the titles can begin.
The statewide program involves a cooperative effort by many local groups. It is popular with students and has provided new opportunities for academic competition. Battle of the Books has also proven effective in its specified purpose - to stimulate an interest in reading.

This year the book list for 7th & 8th graders was:
Big Empty by JB Stephens
Boy Who Owned a School by Gary Paulson
ER Vets by Donna Jackson
Flint by Louis L'Amour
Giver by Lois Lowry
Magyk by Angie Sage
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
Red Kayak by Cummings
Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn
Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce
Outsiders by SE Hinton
Vampire Kisses #1 by Ellen Schreiber

The kids have one "thinker", one "speaker" and one "scribe/writer" on each team. They answer 16 very precise random questions. The librarian (who is from Boston and apologized for not being able to pronounce her "r's"....so funny!) would read a question, then a timer would start. The teams had 30 seconds from the time the librarian would finish reading the question the first time (She always read the question twice, but the timer would start after the first reading) to have the scribe write down the title and author of the book that answered the question. If they wrote down the title but not the author, they got 5 points. Title and author were worth 8 points. Author only was worth zip! When the thirty seconds were up, the speaker could then read off what they wrote down. (there was an adult checking to make sure that what the speaker said and what was written down matched). After eight questions they had a sort of halftime and they read the scores so the kids would know where they were in the competition. B.'s team was leading at the half.

This is a question from the competition. I pushed pause during the wait time because I was recording with my phone (which I have never done) and didn't know how much I could do, so you won't hear the second reading of the question and you won't wait the whole 30 seconds for the answers. If you can't hear the video, the question was "In which book does a character put catfish in the toilet?" All of the teams get this one correct. (Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat)

At the end of the competition the two teams from B.'s school were tied for 1st place with 93 points. They have tie breaker questions in case that happens, and the two teams had to have 5 tie breaker questions before B.'s team won! They will get to participate in a statewide competition via telephone conference sometime in February.

The winning team! We're #1!

Also, B. and her team mates got their pictures in the newspaper on Friday. The link is here.

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