And it would have seemed like total chaos. But it wasn't.
For the first time in the history of our school, third graders placed at the annual Battle of the Books. Twice. In complete underdog fashion, two teams from my classroom took first and third place. While I don't put too much emphasis on Battle of the Books, this was our game plan from the first day of school:
Love of Reading + The Right Attitude + Collaboration = Success!
|Leftover sign from our Battle of the Books (BOB) Competition|
Second, we went into Battle with the attitude that a win for one third-grade team was a win for all third grade teams. The phrase "better together" became a daily mantra. Students agreed that no matter what team they were on for the event, in our classroom they were one team, united.
Third, we had to work hard. Sure, having the right attitude naturally fostered collaboration among the group, but students quickly realized they had to put in the time to practice. I helped by setting up an Edmodo group and a Google Spreadsheet. They took over from there. Students created quiz questions for each other, compiled important book information, and generally spent a lot of time just talking about the books - both in person and online. When one student didn't understand or was confused, another was there to help them comprehend. They began to show patience and trust each other's expertise. They began to really listen and learn from one another as a result of the process. This was a major breakthrough for a group of very independent, competitive, and strong-willed kids.