So, this year I finally took the time to figure out the details and pitch the idea to the reading month committee. Everybody was excited to give it a try!
Here's the gist of how it works:
Each classroom was randomly drawn out of a hat to choose their NCAA team. The post I had read a couple years ago said their classrooms were randomly assigned a team, but many of us feel very strongly about certain NCAA teams and weren't willing to make that completely up to chance. (It would be a difficult and sad day for me if I actually had to root for Michigan State!) By the time my class got drawn Michigan had already been chosen, so we went for the top NCAA basketball team out of the ones remaining, the mighty Villanova Wildcats!
Each classroom can earn bonus points for their team by completing a team research form and by decorating their door. So, I put a team of kids on the task, and they scored us some valuable points!
Mrs. Anderson, from down the hall, was talking smack after she finished her door, but I think my kids definitely did us proud. I do have to say that Mrs. Anderson's door turned out great too, but those gators don't stand a chance against us wildcats!
Your team can also earn bonus points if you make it into the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final 4, or win the whole thing! So, I will be rooting for the Wildcats along with my Wolverines!
Your team earns the majority of its points, though, by reading outside of school. For every 30 minutes read, your team earns 10 points. All the reading needs to be kept track on a reading log which is signed by a parent and turned in each Friday.
I have students that are helping me total up the points each Friday, and another teacher is figuring out the points for the 4th grade. The points for each team are displayed in the main hall to further motivate the students to put in some extra reading time. At the end of week 1, the Villanova Wildcats were in the lead!
As you can see, the display was pretty easy to make. We simply printed out each school's logo with the teacher's name underneath. Each team's total score is written on a laminated basketball, so it can be updated each week. Thankfully, Ms. Henson, who helped make the display is tall enough to reach the ceiling!
On a whim, I decided to reach out to Villanova to see if they would support our team by sending us some goodies to further motivate my students. I went on their website and found an email for their media department. I wrote up a quick message about our reading month competition and attached a picture of our door. I was thrilled when I got a response within 24 hours saying they were sending us a box right away! I told the rest of the teachers about it, and a couple others reached out to their adopted schools too with positive results.
A week later, our box arrived!
I added the banners to liven up our door even more, and the students got their Villanova pencils when they brought in their next reading log.
If this isn't something you can do with your whole school, you could easily do it within your own classroom, where each student could be a different team. I'm sure you could put together your own March Madness reading month, but if you'd like a little help, you can check out my March Madness Reading Month Set at my TPT Store. The set includes the March Madness Reading Month rules, a weekly reading log, an editable reading month calendar, an editable letter to parents, a research form, bookmarks, banner, and more!
I hope your reading month is a slam dunk!