Book Bracket – Daily Voting

The results of Book Bracket each year are determined by students in a daily voting activity. Based on which way you want students to vote each day, it can take up a few minutes to up to ten.

In the past, I have had students conduct their voting in multiple ways. Here is a breakdown of each way, along with my thoughts on the amount of time it takes to complete.

Google Forms

Using Google Forms for Book Bracket voting seems like an easy thing to do, but it turns out to be more of a headache. Glitches and tech issues always spring up. Students have been known to hack the system, vote more than once, or share the link with other people that do not go to school with them. A form for each day of voting also takes up a lot of space in Google Drive. All in all, the utilization of technology does not make life easier with the collection of votes.

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Trial and error led me to require names and grade information.
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2016 Book Bracket match ups

“Email Me Back”

In the past, when other teachers have wanted their students to participate in Book Bracket, they also wanted to teach students an everyday skill – checking your email daily and responding in a timely manner.

I would email the daily match ups to the students each day and they would be responsible for emailing me back within a time frame with their votes.

I kept a tally of their votes AND which students participated. At the end of a round, I would provide their teacher with a list of who did and did not participate. That teacher would then decide how to assess each student for their participation in the activity.

I have only ever done this with my own students if they are absent and email me for the match up for the day.

Secret Ballot

When I taught middle school, the secret ballot was the way to go. Students were presented with the book match ups for the day and were then to write down the titles that they wanted to vote for.

All ballots would be collected and I would go through at the end of the day and tally of the votes. Even though this process was time consuming, it did prevent students from bullying one another for books/votes that may have been unfavorable.

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With the secret ballots, students would also add their own commentary.

Another way I had students vote secretly is by having them put their heads down and vote with their hands up. This process is much quicker and still secretive.

Hands Up

The quickest and easiest way to have students vote each day for Book Bracket match ups is by having them raise their hands. This reduces the amount of class time this activity takes and the amount of time I spend counting up ballots at the end of the day. Instead of counting up each ballot one by one, I’m now counting up class totals for each book.

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This year I have created a Google Slide presentation to review with students the previous day’s match up, the current day’s match up, and a synopsis of each book up for voting. I pull the overviews directly from Goodreads and properly cite the evidence. This allows students to review the book’s premise in a mini-book talk and see how evidence should be formatted.


Each year has brought nuances and updates, but through and through the process and the creation of Book Bracket has remained consistent. This year, I will be providing an insider’s look into Book Bracket, including:

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.

Happy Reading!

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