Second Annual Iwanicki Book Awards

We completed our second annual Iwanicki Book Awards this year.  I had the students come up with the categories.  We added all the books that they thought should be nominated in each category.  We voted by google forms to narrow down our choices to 4 – 6 books and then we voted, again by google forms.  We had an Iwanicki Book Award party where the kids had created word searches and puzzles with the nominees.  Students dressed fancy or like the nominated characters.  Every time I announced a new book, I played music from the Oscars.

I thought I would share the winners.  There are some really, really good books there.  My favorite new books are Restart, Refugee and Grump for chapter books.  I also loved It’s Not Jack and Love for picture books.

I am running this as a slide show, which I have never done before, so I hope it comes out okay.


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Iwanicki Book Awards

In going with the theme of making the last day of school as good as first, I did this Dave Burgess inspired activity of the Iwanicki Book Awards.  This was several weeks in the making and revealed today. Just a quick recap. Students used Kidblog to write their nominee and convince others of their choice. Then I created a google form which they answered (using google forms for the first time).

During the week, small groups of students had created trivia questions for many of the categories. Another group also made a word search. During the Award’s ceremony, we built up suspense by playing Oscar Music and then announcing each category and the nominees. I would then say, “Here is a word from our sponsor.”  While the students waited, they worked on their trivia.   Students were cheering and yelling and there were even a few disappointed students.  I had to sit back and remember that this was all about books!  Students in my class were yelling about books! How great is that?!  The books listed below affected my students.  It made them passionate readers. They all made my students think just a little differently.

It was a wonderful activity that I hope will become a tradition.  I am glad that I pushed myself just a little harder.  The students reactions were priceless.

PS I would recommend any book on this list for anyone to read. They are all fabulous!


Best Setting
Winner: Echo
Runner Up: The War That Saved My Life


Best Supporting Character:
Winner:  Frankie in Echo
Runner Up:  Rose in Out of My Mind

Best Illustrations
Winner: The Night Gardner
Runner Up:  Journey

Favorite Character in a Graphic Novel
Winner: Snappsy
Runner Up: El Deafo

Favorite Character in a Chapter/Middle Grade Novel
Winner: Tie: Gerta in Night Divided and Charlie in Wish
Runner Up:  Frankie and Mike in Echo

war that saved my lifeBest Picture Book:
Winner: Snappsy
Runner Up: The Night Gardener

Best Graphic Novel
Winner: El Deafo
Runner Up:  The Bad Guys

Best Middle Grade Novel
Winner:  Echo
Runner Up: Tie The Night Divided and The War That Saved My Life

Favorite Read Aloud
Winner: Rump
Runner Up:  Out of My Mind
the night divided


Digging Deep; really deep


Summer-vacation-messageIt is the end of the school year.  As of today, I have 7 days left.  Like most teachers in America, I am tired, worn out and overwhelmed. I feel I have given all that I have to give and I am not sure there is anything left.  However, this year I noticed that there is a theme in the blogs I read, the twitter chats I am in and the podcasts I listen to.  The theme is that the end of the year should be as strong as the beginning of the year.  There should be no end of the year count down and we should finish strong. WTH?!  Finish strong?! I am barely hanging on.  Then I process..I begin to let the idea of finishing strong mull over in my brain.  Do I have just a little left inside of me?  Can I squeeze out just a little more?  I dig deep and this is what I have come up with.


On a podcast I listened to (I cannot remember which one) Dave Burgess talked about having Book Awards; kind of like the Academy Awards.  Okay, I can do that.  So I had my students use KidBlog (a blogging app, like this one, but meant for kids).  They all voted in several categories: Best Graphic Novel, Best Character in a Chapter Book, Favorite Read Aloud, Favorite Chapter Book, Best Picture Book, Favorite Character in A Graphic Novel or Picture Book, Favorite Supporting Character, Best Illustrations and Best Setting.  Students had to defend their position.  Then I created a google form for each and the students voted.


Now came the harder part.  How to present?!  What do I do?  How can we make it special? I decided upon a book party.  I searched the internet high and low for some book type scavenger hunts and couldn’t find any to my liking.  So, I gave them to the students.  I have several groups making trivia questions; one group for picture books, one for graphic novels and one for middle grade novels.  I also have a group create a poster to have students dress up as their favorite character or book from the nominees. The pieces are all working…stay tuned to see how it comes together.

Another project that I am working on is a summer book club.  I have never done this before so it will be a learning experience.  The book we are doing is Fenway and Hattie. Student will use Kidblog to write responses on certain days in July.  We have worked very hard to build reading lives and this will help it to continue over the summer in a manageable (I hope) way.


So..these are two ways that I am trying to end the school year as good as I started.  Wish us luck as I try not to count down the days.  Besides, sleep is completely overrated!