The most frequently asked question about Book Bracket is how do I come up with the books that are involved and their seeds.
The short answer is simple – student choice.
The long answer is the following post – the Selection Committee.
Book Bracket is all about celebrating March is Reading Month and March Madness, but it’s truly all about students. If I were to come up with the books for Book Bracket, I feel like the activity would not be as successful as it is because there wouldn’t be a buy in from students.
The Selection Committee has consisted of students spanning multiple grade levels, varied reading likes and dislikes, and different backgrounds and experiences. Some years it is an activity I do with my own students. Other years it reaches another English class or two or spans the building’s English classes. I’m always open to including others in Book Bracket.
Near the end of February or at the beginning of March, I go over the idea of Book Bracket with my students. After going over the premise, I tell them that I need their help as the Selection Committee in coming up with the books that will be in the field of 32.
In years past, I asked students to write down a couple of their favorite books for consideration.
This year I decided to take the Selection Committee online and have students complete a Google Form.
As a member of the Selection Committee, each student’s name is required on their consideration ballot – paper or electronic. This holds them accountable and often deters students from writing down suggestive titles.
This year I asked students about how they would like to vote each day – electronic voting via Google Forms, secret ballot voting in class, or hand raising voting in class.
The final question allows students to ask questions or share something with me if they so choose. I think it’s important to always have the door open when communicating with students. Most students simply write “no” or “nope” in this space, but I have had students ask clarifying questions, express their excitement for Book Bracket, or give me an update about their lives.
Each year has brought nuances and updates, but through and through the process and the creation of Book Bracket has remained consistent. Over the next month, I will be providing an insider’s look into Book Bracket, including:
- Book Bracket Overview
- The Selection Committee (this post)
- Making the Bracket
- Daily Voting
- Student Brackets and Scoring
If there are any elements you are interested in that I have not listed or covered, let me know and I will throw one together.