This year I decided to hold a Mock Caldecott Award. I first got the idea while reading Mr. Schu's blog, Watch. Connect. Read. He and Colby Sharp had joined forces to hold a Mock Caldecott together. They both are full of information, energy and book love. Travis Jonker, author of 100 Scope Notes was also kind enough to share documents he used to create his Mock Caldecott project. I was able to change them a bit to meet my needs easily.
Choosing the books was extremely difficult for many reasons. First, I needed to create a manageable number of titles so I decided that about 20 titles would be a good number. (I ended up with 18.) When deciding which titles to include I made sure that I liked them a lot and that other readers in my PLN also agreed with me. I also tried to include a variety of different types of illustrations and stories. There is a wordless book, an alphabet book and even a book that uses photographs. Then I also had to either own a copy or be able to check one out at the library. This is where I had some difficulty. Some of the books were not available at the library for check out this month - someone else had checked them out.
Of course I know there are books I left out simply because I have not read them yet. I wish I had a book store that was very close and I could visit weekly to purchase newly published books, but I don't. It is so nice to look inside them before purchasing. My public library will always order books I request but they can take months to arrive. (Note to self: buy more books.)
All 5 second grade classes at my school are participating so that will be lots of fun. I arranged the books in groups of 3 or 4 and these groups will rotate through the classrooms until everyone has rated the books. Each class will rate the book on a scale of 1-5 for the story and for the illustrations. The illustration ratings will count for double I decided.
My class began rating several of the books last week. The conversations were very passionate and students had strong opinions about each book. Although I explained over and over that the award was for the best illustrations, students often had a hard time separating the two, which isn't surprising because they are so connected. We have talked a lot about the style of illustrations that each artist used and I was delighted and impressed when students noticed the choices made regarding the use of color. One student was so passionate about the illustrations in One Cool Friend I thought she would start to cry when she couldn't get the rest of the class to agree that the artist was clever to use color so sparingly. I thought it was interesting that many of my students said they didn't like the story, Each Kindness that much because it was sad. But they gave the illustrations high marks because they said they looked so real.
On Friday my class was so excited about the Mock Caldecott Award that I decided to let them videotape their opinions for our class blog. They were done very quickly, and I provided only general guidelines. As with everything in teaching, they are very informative about what my students understand! (But they are cute.)
What books do you think I left out that should have been included?
What book do you think will win the Caldecott Medal?
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