Tag Archives: Oregon Battle of the Books

Bookmarks 2016!

10 Apr

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Saturday was the Oregon Battle of the Books State Tournament. My team didn’t make it, but my former school’s team did.

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Three of these five started OBOB with me 2 years ago as 3rd graders and leaving them behind was one of the hardest parts of changing jobs. They had worked hard since the regional tournament, almost a month ago and were ready for today’s challenge, along with 23 other elementary teams.

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The first round was the pool play round, just like at the regional meet. Three teams in a room and the 16 teams with the highest point totals would go on to the next round. The William Walker Bookmarks sat out the first round, then played each of the two teams in back to back matches.  A perfect game is 80 points, but extra points can be earned by “stealing” questions the other team misses. However, 80 points probably isn’t enough to get you into the next round at this level of play. The Bookmarks won both battles, ending with 90 points altogether, which was good, but was it good enough?

We went back to the auditorium where the Sweet Sixteen Round was to be announced.My stomach was tight as they announce the teams. Our name wasn’t called sand wasn’t called and wasn’t called. Then, finally, the last pari announced was Ashbrook (11th seed) vs William Walker (6th Seed). We were in!

We went to the room where we discovered that our moderator was none other than the librarian who had preceded me at William Walker. Could it be a good omen?

The play was exciting, but, ultimately, William Walker prevailed, putting us into the Elite 8. We stayed in the same room with the same moderator for the next battle. At the halfway point, they were tied. The next half was tougher and they lost, marking the end of the road for the Bookmarks.

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Some tears ensued, understandable after so many months of hard work and hours of tension and excitement. Within a short time though, jokes were being made, plans for laser tag and ice-cream discussed and they were back to their funny selves.

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I feel like I’ve come full circle with the bookmarks. I’ve left William Walker. Next year the three oldest girls will be off to middle school. They already have a plan for their 6th grade team, but for now, they are loping forward to reading whatever they want.

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

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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

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

OBOB SOLSC 15

15 Mar

Today I take my top team to the regional OBOB meet. That’s Oregon Battle of the Books.

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Three of the four kids came second in the state last year. The fourth member moved and we will see him at the meet because his new team was their school champion. We are in the same pool as last year. One of the teams we faced last year were in it for the first time. But this year they know a little more and, I suspect are better prepared. My team is good, but as 5th graders, I sometimes worry they aren’t as hungry  to win as they were last year. They will work hard, and once the battles commence, they will be very competitive. Theya re well prepared and know their stuff. But, just in class, wish us luck.

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UPDATE:  Well we did OK, but not  well enough to go beyond the preliminary round. In fact, no one from our pool did. They were sad, but new it would be tough, based on their scores.

Gearing up for battle

12 Sep

Today I hold the first meeting for the 2013-14 Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB).

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I have visited all the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes and made the presentation. Today, at 2:15, I  will see who is ready to take up the challenge. Last year my team came 2nd at the state finals. Three of those four readers are still at my school. One moved away. I am assuming they will stay together, but I’m not 100% certain of that. What is most exciting to me is seeing the 3rd graders. They are so keen to participate and I love their enthusiasm. I know that there is a group of 4th graders eager to beat last year’s winning team, too.

Today’s meeting is mostly a reiteration of the things I told them when I visited their classes. I will do book talks for kids who are hearing this for the first times, but I know a lot of last year’s kids spent the summer reading the stack of OBOB books, just like I did.

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There are a few repeats from a couple of years ago and some new ones as well.  Here is the complete list:

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Abraham Lincoln by Mary Pope Osborne, 2011

Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich, 1999

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, 2008

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, 1983

Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff, 2008

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, 2003

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, 2011

Into the Firestorm by Deborah Hopkinson, 2006

Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi, 2012

Marty McGuire by Kate Messner, 2011

Pie by Sarah Weeks, 2011

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, 2004

Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff, 2011

Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan, 2011

Who was Neil Armstrong? by Roberta Edwards, 2008

Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt, 2011

You can get more information about OBOB at http://oboblsta.pbworks.com/w/page/5653620/FrontPage

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