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Moving on up

19 Mar

The three 6th graders and a 7th grader sailed through their four preliminary battles like a well-oiled machine. Winning each of the battles, they had 175 points. That seemed like a good number, but we had to wait until all the other battles finished to see how we’d fared. Teams around us talked,whispered and laughed. We could over hear the team totals of the teams around us. We figured we were almost certainly in the next round, the Sweet 16.

We were shocked and elated to find out we had the 4th most points. Woohoo!

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The  subsequent rounds were elimination rounds. If we won the Sweet 16, we’d go on, if we lost, the tournament was over. The team, two boys and two girls, was ready and played well, handily defeating their competition. We were moving on to the Awesome 8 round, competing against a team in our school district.

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One of the members of that team was a former student, but that didn’t stop me from celebrating when they missed a question. The competition was tight; we were ahead by a bit at the halfway point. In the second half, we missed a few, but never lost our lead. At the end, we were ahead by four points. When ased if they wanted to challenge a question, my team said no, but the other team did. When this happens, teams have two minutes to find their answer in book. Fortunately for us, they could not.

That put us in the Fabulous 4 and that we are going to State!

JP Enviro 8

So, my 2017 OBOB season isn’t quite over yet, and that is very okay with me.

OBOB 2018

27 Feb

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I am in the last week of 2017 OBOB Battles. By Friday, we will know who the Stoller champions are. The state wide committee recently annuce the “Almost Finished” list of next year’s books. The 6-8 and 9-12 lists have been finalized, the 3-5 have not. You can see all three lists HERE.

I  have some of these in my classroom library already and will start gleaning them so I can figure out which ones I need to order.  Here is the full 6-8 list

 

6-8 Division (Final)

imgres Fallout by Gwenda Bond

imgres-1 Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

 imgres-2 Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

imgres-3 I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

imgres-4 Kalahari by Jessica Khoury

imgres-5 The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau

imgres-6 Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

imgres-7 The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

imgres-9 Popular: A Memoir by Maya Van Wagenen (Paperback title: Popular: How a Geek in Pearls Discovered the Secret to Confidence Hardcover title: Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Ge

imgres-10 Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

imgres-11 The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

imgres Schooled by Gordon Korman

imgres-1 The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

imgres-2 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

imgres-3 The Turn of the Tide by Rosanne Parry

imgres-4 The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Divided loyalties

6 Mar

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My heart longed to be in two places.

Saturday was our regional meet for Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB). I’d been bringing teams for years, but I am at a new school, Stoller Middle School, coaching a new team.

Last year’s team was my heart team.There is a term in the basset world, a heart dog, that refers to a dog who is your canine soulmate. Last years Bookmarks team was my heart team.

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Only three members were back, but I’d known these girls since kindergarten. I was their OBOB coach for two years and their teacher for one. I just knew them better than the 7th graders I brought, who I’d only known for a few months and do not teach. I’d been in touch with some people and knew the Bookmarks would be at the regional meet too. Fortunately, this year they had staggered starts and I was able to attend the Bookmarks’ first battle (they won handily!) before my middle schoolers were due to arrive.

While chaperoning my real team, I was in touch with a mom by text and followed their progress. I squealed when I learned they were one of the top 16 teams, the Sweet Sixteen, who would go on to the next round.  Damn, I’d miss this one.

Interestingly, although we lost our first two battles, Stoller’s point total was enough to get into the middle school Sweet Sixteen competition.  Then, I learned the Bookmarks had won and made it into the Elite eight. Damn. I wouldn’t be able to see this battle either.

And then something clicked with my middle schoolers. They kept winning! We were in the Elite Eight, too! Double Damn and Hooray at the same time. I wanted to watch both teams.

The Bookmarks went to the Final Four. So did my middle schoolers. And that is where our paths departed. We lost our battle, but the Bookmarks did not. They ended up in 2nd place and will go on to the State OBOB meet.

There was a point when I was worried I would have to go to the State meet with divided loyalties. I am sad my team, who had worked so hard and did so well today, don’t get to go on. I will make sure we celebrate their hard work when we get back to school on Monday.

But on April 9th, I will go to the State OBOB meet and be 100% in the Bookmarks’ corner.

Battle of the Books Regional meet #SOL15

8 Mar

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Yesterday, I took my school’s winning OBOB (Oregon Battle of the Books) team to the regional meet.

I had a feeling right from October, when OBOB started, that this would be the team that I’d be taking to represent William Walker Elementary School. They’ve known each other forever and work well together. They also came in second at our school last year and ended that season saying that next year would be their year. They were right.Once they became school champs their rallying cry became “Bookmarks 2015”!!!

The regional meet began with  preliminary pool play. There were 49 elementary teams, three teams to a room. In the room we play two matches. We lost the first match to West TV, only missing one question. The girls were a little down. They watched West TV play Metzger in the second match and their confidence buoyed. It was Metzger’s first year and they were decimated by West TV. On the third match in our pool Metzger rotated in their alternate and did better, but we still won rather handily. Final totals were West TV 100, William Walker 85, Metzger 55.

Going to the next round, the Sweet 16 is all about point totals. Only the top 16 teams go into the next round. From my experience at regionals over the years, I knew that West TV would be in for sure. I figured we had a 50/50 chance. We went to the cafeteria to wait for the results. It took almost an hour for all the results to be tabulated. Finally, the spokesman came out an announced the top 13 teams. West TV was #1 at the end of the first round. Then he said words none of us had ever heard before. “There is a 5-way tie for the last 3 spots.” He called those names in alphabetical order and William Walker was the last name he called. We cheered madly, then had to go in for the 5-way tie breaker.

The girls’ excitement was back. After drawing lots for positions, the spokesman began the tie breaking process. Coaches have to sit at the front of the room beside the moderator who reads the questions. This is excruciatingly painful.  You watch your team (with whom you cannot communicate) and their parents, who are in as much agony as you are. At the end of the first tie breaking round, it was all tied up. By the end of the second round, two teams were eliminated and we were definitely going to the Sweet 16. Then there was one more round to determine our seed position. We came out on top so got the 14th seed spot. On to the next Battle.

By this time, the parents looked as drained as the girls were excited. By the end of the “In which Book” round, the score was tied. Unfortunately, the girls missed a question in the content round and lost, but we were all really proud of how well they did.

Bookmarks 2016!!!

Winding down

20 Feb

battle of the books green tshirt

It’s my last week of OBOB for the year. We started in October and here it is, late February. From October through mid-January the kids and I met during my plan time on Wednesdays. From mid-January through today, I’ve had a battle a day, with two battles on Wednesdays. THE FINAL BATTLE is on Monday, but it will take today’s last round robin battle to determine who will be the second team in that battle, which will happen on the stage, in the gym, in front of whichever 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes decide to come.

It was a little harder to organize this year as a regular classroom teacher. My schedule as librarian and ESL teacher both had a lot more wiggle room for special events like this. But I made it work and the teachers weren’t too crabby with me. I will definitely be glad to get my plan time back. But it has been worth it.

It’s not really over after today. Or even after Monday. The team who wins on Monday will go to the regional meet on Saturday, March 7th. The top two teams from there go on tho the State championship in April. I had a team that went that far once, and ended up #2 in the State. I’d love that to happen again, but mostly, I just want the kids to have fun.

Summer is OBOB, bob, bobbing along

13 Jul

The first four weeks of summer vacation are over. There are still six weeks to go, and that fact makes me a little giddy. It hasn’t all been fun and games. Yes, it’s been mostly fun and games, but I have been doing some serious professional reading, too. I am a PD facilitator for my school and in 2014-15, we are focusing on the Common Core Reading standards. Woohoo! Last year we focused on Math and I had to fake knowing what I was talking about. This year I feel as though I am in my element. But, to give myself a head start, I’m reading The Pathways to the Common Core by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth and Chris Lehman.

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I’m not plowing through it. I’m reading a section every morning as I drink my coffee. It is rather readable and explains things very well.

My other professional reading pile is made up of OBOB books. I have read half of the books so far:

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O’Connor

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin

The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

 

I have the other half to go.

Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes

Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts

A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole

Sasquatch by Roland Smith

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin

Swindle by Gordon Korman

Tales from the Odyssey, Part One by Mary Pope Osborne

The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng

2015 3-5 map Poster

I hope your summer reading plans are progressing as nicely as mine!

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