What is Battle of the Books?
Battle of the Books is an extracurricular reading program organized by Teacher-Librarians in our school district for students in grades 3-6. The goals of this reading program are to encourage the love of reading and to expose students to a variety of authors and genres.
A list of nine novels are preselected for grades 3/4, 5, and 6 based on reading lists provided by the Kamloops Teacher-Librarians Association. Students begin reading these books in September and upon completion of each book, fill in a reading response sheet.
Between January and March, students meet weekly during lunch hours, to discuss the books and to be quizzed on the content of each book. The questions used all begin with “In what book…” so that the answer is always the title of one of the 9 preselected novels.
In March or early April, each school organizes a school Battle, if necessary, to determine the top 4 students from each grade level that will represent their school in the District Battles. The District Battles are held in mid-April at two preselected schools and start with the grade 3/4 Battle, followed by the grade 5 Battle and then the grade 6 Battle. Each school team goes head-to-head answering 25 questions about their 9 novels. The teams with the most correct answers win the Battle.
What’s happening with this year’s Battle of the Books?
This year's District Battles were going to take place on April 16, 2020 at North Glenmore Elementary and Black Mountain Elementary, but obviously this could not happen. Normally, we have approximately 32 schools participate and over 350 students attend the District Battles, with many more students who participated throughout the year. For example, at Casorso alone, we had 32 grade 3 students, 22 grade 4 students, and 26 grade 5 and 6 students sign up to participate in this year's program.
I am not only a Teacher-Librarian involved in the Battle of Books, but also a parent, as both my children participate in the Battle of the Books program. Thus, I felt that we needed to do something for these students who have put forth so much time and effort reading and discussing these books. Therefore, I decided to figure out a way to do an online version of the Battle. At first, I looked at using Kahoot, Quizlet, and other online quiz games. I finally settled on Google Forms as the best choice and immediately set up a Google Classroom specifically for my school’s Battle of the Books students.
My next step was to see if other schools were interested in doing an online version of the Battle. The response back was unanimous and so we all met one day via Zoom to discuss how we would make this work.
After a keen discussion, the Online District Battle will now take place on Thursday, May 21, 2020 using Zoom Meetings and Google Form Quizzes. At 10am, Teacher-Librarians will be doing a Zoom meeting with their own grade 3/4 Battle students and these students will have to work as a team to answer 25 battle questions. At 11:30am will be the Grade 5 Battle and at 1pm will be the Grade 6 Battle. We will be announcing the results via Zoom on Friday, May 22, 2020 at 10am.
This has been a huge learning experience for many of us. Learning to use Google Forms and Google Classroom and sharing our work and ideas with one another has been so helpful.
I am super excited for this and so glad we could come up with a solution. It won't be exactly the same as the actual District Battle of the Books, but I think it will be just as fun and a great way to wind up this year’s Battle of the Books.