Saturday, April 16, 2016

National Poetry Month: Poetry Madness Event

I'm pretty excited about the latest idea from our reading ambassadors.  Last month our reading ambassadors promoted the March Book Madness event hosted by Scott Jones and Tony Keefer in our school.  Our building focused on the Picture Book Challenge, though some students did vote in the Middle Grade Challenge as well.  The whole school was buzzing as the book brackets started to narrow to the final match-ups.  

Yesterday I stayed after school to complete our "Poetry Madness" bulletin board.  At our March meeting we began talking about what we wanted to do for our final weeks as ambassadors M said, "April we always have poetry writing.  Maybe we could do something with poetry."

"Yes, April is National Poetry Month," I added smiling. 

There was a pause and then T spoke up, "I love poetry.  Maybe we could do something like March Madness with the poetry."  

The room started to rumble as one ambassador after another jumped on board with her idea.  Before long it was determined that we would each bring a favorite poetry book if we had one to our next meeting and choose books for a "Poetry Madness" challenge for our school.

Last week students arrived with their poetry books.  Our media specialist, Jill Merkle, had collected a stack of favorites for the ambassadors to review.  Being a poetry fan myself, I brought some of my favorites to the meeting.  The first part of the meeting was spent talking about the poetry we brought and then reviewing the other books.  Toward the end of the meeting each ambassador took six post-its and began selecting their favorites.  Each post-it was one vote and ambassadors could use more than one vote on a poetry book they really liked.  We then selected the sixteen books for the competition based upon their votes.  We seeded these books for the challenge.  

Following the model of March Book Madness, voting will begin on Tuesday.  Our board is people/life poetry vs. nature/pets poetry.  I'm a little excited that one of my favorites, Forest has a Song by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, is a number one seed in the brackets.  Let's hope my favorite does a little better in this event than my favorite did in the March Madness Picture Book Challenge.  (Yes, I'm still a little sad that Wolfie the Bunny didn't win.) 

Next week, our reading ambassadors will begin to talk about the poetry books and our event with the students in their classrooms during morning meetings.  We'll be running advertisements for voting on our school news each week.  The poetry books selected have been placed on reserve in the library for students to read as they visit the media center.  During the final weeks, the ambassadors hope to read one poem from each of the remaining books to their classrooms.  What a great way to celebrate National Poetry Month!  


  1. I love the element of running ads for voting on our school news! The whole program sounds like a lot of fun!

  2. It all sounds great, Cathy. What a wonderful way to get students to visit a variety of poetry books!

  3. We had this exact same conversation! My kids were so pumped from March Book Madness that they demanded an April Poetry Book Madness. Our initial seeding vote was this weekend, and I'll load up our bracket on Monday. Will be fun to see what books we have in common! (Our categories were pre-2010 and 2010+.)

  4. I think this will be exciting for the whole building. Have fun (I know you will) and I hope your top pick goes all the way!

  5. I love this idea. Saving it to my after school book club idea file! A wonderful way to get students to visit more poetry.

  6. It’s good to know about this Poetry Madness Event. The event looks great and very enjoyable. I have attended various poetry events at local event venues but have never been to such a great fest. Would love to attend it next year!