Friday, March 4, 2016

March Madness Nonfiction

Last week, Shelly Moody (@shelmoody), the Instructional Coach at Williams Elementary School in Oakland, Maine, tweeted the images below. Her school was getting ready for a terrific event that I’d love to see happen in schools across the country.

Full bulletin board
Close up of left-hand side of bulletin board
Close up of the right-hand side of the bulletin board
During the month of March, students in every grade level at Williams Elementary will participate in classroom read alouds of sixteen nonfiction picture books. Then the children will vote on their favorites. Who will the winner be? I can’t wait to find out.

If you decide to try this activity at your school, you could ask older students to fill out a worksheet like the one below developed by Judi Paradis, the teacher-librarian at Plympton School in Waltham, MA.
When students are done, they can share their responses with classmates. Or the worksheets can be posted, so that other students can use the information to help them make book choices.

This fun combination of activities will get kids reading and thinking and sharing.

Note: You can find a more printable version of the Nonfiction Smackdown! worksheet on my pinterest Reading Nonfiction Board:

Update: See this post for more information about Williams Elementary School's March Madness experience:


  1. This is such a fun idea! Much better than the other March Madness stuff which I do not follow :)

    I see No Monkeys there :)--a great book. I also loved How to Swallow A Pig, Mesmerized, Funny Bones, Water is Water, Ivan. I wonder why Pop and Tarra Bella are there, since they're older. Tarra & Bella is such a sweet story--always makes me cry :)

  2. What a fantastic idea. Love it. The kids would love it too.

  3. We do this in April for Poetry Month; they would love to do it for nonfiction!