Tried It Tuesday - Book Madness

Anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows that I'm crazy about March Madness. So when I saw {The Brown Bag Teacher's book tournament}, I knew that I had to do it this year.

I decided to have the kids nominate books and then take the top 16 vote getters. I also wanted to include the other fifth grade classes in my building. I created a Google form where I simply ask them to fill in their favorite 5-10 books.

I quickly discovered that this way of collecting the nominations would be a problem. First of all, kids couldn't spell the book titles so that a search wouldn't pick up all of the votes. Which meant that I had to tally them by hand. Also, some kids typed in series of books, while others typed specific titles within the series.

When I do this next year, I'm going to use titles of books from their reading journals and put checkboxes in front of them. Then they can check up to ten of the boxes. Or, if you have a better idea, please comment with it!

After figuring out the top 16, I seeded them. I wanted to seed them so that the favorites wouldn't meet until later in the tournament. If you use 16 books, number them from 1 to 16, with 1 being the top vote-getter and 16 being the low vote-getter. Then create your bracket like this, putting the books with their corresponding numbers.

Then I created the hallway display with the matchups.

Your display will depend on your wall space. To give you an idea, each one of those horizontal black construction paper strips in the very middle are 1" wide and 12" long. I used construction paper, but Catherine used black tape. I found the book covers online, but you could also photocopy them. I put the dates of the Friday deadlines at the top of each round.

After revealing the matchups, I gave the students a little over a week to start reading anything they wanted/needed to read in order to vote.

I created another Google form for the first round of matchups. I shortened the URL using bitly so that it would be easy for students to type into the browser. I sent out the link to the classroom teachers on Wednesday so that voting was in by Friday noon. I said that if they haven't read either of the books in the matchup, they didn't have to vote in that pairing.

These results were much easier to tabulate. On my hallway display, I put a sticky note with the number of votes received on each book. This way, they could see the "final score" of each matchup. Since I do this during recess on Friday, there is much cheering and such when they come in from outside.

Then it was simply creating a new form with the new matchups to be voted on by the following Friday.

Find out what others have tried this week by checking out Holly's linky!


  1. Diane, your Book Madness looks GREAT!! I wish I had enough wall space for this! Thanks also for the tips for voting on Google forms-I can still use the voting piece! :)
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. The ELA teacher on our team is doing Book Madness this year too! The students are so excited and we can't keep the books on our shelves that are part of the tournament. Thanks so much for linking up!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  3. We are doing the book madness this year in 6th grade. They kids are ready excited about it. We introduced it last Wednesday so they could start reading and then they had 2 snow days. So they read a lot since Wednesday. I can't wait to get the wall display up this week.

  4. Middle grade kids will love doing these brackets!

  5. Middle grade kids will love doing these brackets!

  6. I am in the midst of "Book Madness" with my 8th graders and they have really enjoyed the voting part! Wish I had seen this sooner so we could have voted on Google Docs! I have been doing it the old fashioned way with slips of paper! There's always next year.... :)

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  7. There's an addon in google called Form Ranger that would make your list populating easier. I've played around a bit with it, and it should also eliminate the problem of capitals..


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