Planning March Book Madness in 2021?! Let me help you choose books, engage students, and plan activities!
STEP ONE: Choose your books
The first step to planning your March Book Madness lesson this year is to choose the books! I like to choose books that are popular in the reading world, some Caldecott honor books, and preferably most of the books included are books that students have not already read and prove interesting to the population of students at our school. This year I am focusing on diverse texts! We will have 32 books facing off for a total of 16 games!
Here’s our 2021 March Madness book list:
- Hair Love
- The Invisible Boy
- We Are Water Protectors
- Outside In
- Vamos! Let’s Go Eat
- The Couch Potato
- Salt in His Shoes
- The Undefeated (Caldecott Medal Book)
- Fry Bread
- If You Come to Earth
- The Koala Who Could
- Small in the City
- When Amelia Earhart Built a Roller Coaster (we chose this one because it’s in our e-book library.)
- The Bad Seed
- Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
- The Proudest Blue
- I am Human
- Your Name is a Song
- The Magical Yet
- The Adventures of Beekle: The Imaginary Friend
- Ambitious Girl
- My Papi has a Motorcycle
- A Different Pond
- The Bear and Fern
- Be Kind
- I am Enough
- All Because you Matter
- Mae Among the Stars
- Where are you From
- Jump at the Sun
- Flying High
STEP TWO: Organize read alouds
Next, plan and organize your March Book Madness read alouds. As Library Media Specialist at my school I was able to reach out and plan read alouds with other librarians across the county. We created a planning document and brainstormed this together. I encourage you to get as many people involved in the planning process as possible!
I reached out to several people at my school and personnel at our Central Office. We sent these people books from our list, asking that they record a read aloud, upload (unlisted) to Youtube, and then send us the video link. You can include teachers, coaches, principals, assistant principals, counselors, and even your school nurse…EVERYONE can be included!
STEP THRE: Set the dates
Use your school calendar and the true March Madness basketball calendar as inspiration for your “games” and voting. Make a “vote by” deadline and a date when you will announce your winners! We are doing 32 books in our tournament, so we will have the first round (all 32 books), Sweet 16, Elite 8, final four, and then the championship game.
Here’s our schedule:
- First Round: March 1-12. (16 games/votes)
- Sweet 16: March 15-19. (8 games/votes)
- Elite 8: March 22-26. (4 games/votes)
- Final Four: April 5-6. (2 games/votes)
- Championship: April 9. (1 game/vote)
STEP FOUR: Build hype
Check out my shop to find a March Madness Transformation Kit!! Imagine students walking into your classroom or library when you have set the stage by dressing up as a ref, blowing a whistle, dribbling a basketball etc.
You can also build hype by having students track winnings with a bracket. Find some blank bracket templates here. I just copied and pasted the bracket into Canva and pasted book covers as well.
Our plan is to create an intro video for students. We will record our principals dribbling a basketball, get the librarians involved in some way, and include hype music with images of the books we are including!
Create a giant bracket in your classroom, library or hallway to promote and bring attention to your tournament! I used this one from TPT. Students will be able to view winners of each game as they move through the bracket.
Here’s an example of my bracket this year:
Here’s a blank template to use:
And a look at the hallway display:
STEP FIVE: Make Google Site and Google Forms for voting
Now, you need a way for students to vote! Once students have viewed the hype videos, and have been introduced to the days game, they will need access a Google Form to be able to vote! I decided to “house” all of my voting links in a Google Site! Here, I placed my images (created in Canva) of each book that will face off, the YouTube links for read aloud videos, and buttons for linking to Google Forms. I will be sending this out to teachers to post in each homeroom Google Classrooms for our virtual students and we will also spend some time during our library lessons to view read alouds and complete voting as well!
Here’s an example of the images I used on my Google Site:
Here’s a BLANK background where you can insert your own book images: