Monday, February 24, 2014

Mock Newbery 2014!

As you read about in an earlier blog post this year by HVLA member Angie Ungaro entitled Strength in Numbers: When One Book Club is Not Enough, a few Brooklyn Heights Independent Schools teamed up last year to create a Mock Newbery book club with an online component. The schools involved were Brooklyn Friends, Brooklyn Heights Montessori, St. Ann’s and Packer Collegiate. As Angie detailed so wonderfully, each school still maintained their own school book club but also used the online component to facilitate conversations with student’s in nearby schools.

Since we were using Edmodo, we did not have to meet in large groups very often. The online piece allowed our students the opportunity to speak with others without the need to constantly travel between schools. However, our proximity to each other is important in regards to our two major celebrations!

Last year, went so well in fact, that we decided to do it all again!

We began our book club this year with a Fall kick off celebration at St. Ann’s. Students had time to chat and eat snacks and then were introduced to the speaker of the day, Michael Santangelo, who was on a previous Newbery Committee. The students were so enthusiastic to hear from him and to learn all about the Newbery Process. In fact, the Q & A period seemed to usurp the presentation itself due to the overall excitement of the group.

Our second celebration was held this past Friday at Packer Collegiate! It was well attended with about 60 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. We started off with snacks and moved on to showing some student made book trailers. It was exciting to see what the student’s produced. Afterwards, we played a quick game of trivia and then had time for our speaker, Marilyn Ackerman, who was on the most recent Newbery Committee. Students were able to ask questions about the Newbery in general, this year’s Newbery winner and honors, as well as share their own opinions. A fun time was had by all.`

What was extra special for Packer was that 4th graders were also invited to this event. Due to scheduling at Packer, 4th graders are not members of our Mock Newbery Club. However, the 4th graders did learn about the Newbery Award during Library. We ended up having about 10 4th graders in attendance. It was a great opportunity for them to mingle with other 4th graders from St Ann’s and it also served as a brief introduction to the MS/US Library at Packer. Packer has two physically different libraries - a LS library, The Hart Library,  and a MS/US library, The Blackburne Library. Many 4th graders sometimes find the transition to the the MS/US Library from the LS Library a little intimidating so this also served as a nice, low-key introduction. Since the event, some of the 4th graders have already expressed interest in joining the Mock Newbery Club next year in 5th grade. So many things were achieved in this one little event - learning, socializing, recruiting, and building awareness and enthusiasm for the Newbery Award.

If you would like to know more about how we run our Interschool mock Newbery or if you are interested in starting your own please let us know.

Kristyn Dorfman & Megan Kilgallen, The Packer Collegiate Institute

Special thanks to Rebecca Duvall from Brooklyn Heights Montessori, Angie Ungaro from Brooklyn Friends, Hannah Mermelstein from St. Ann’s & Ragan O’Malley from St. Ann’s.

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