Today, I am celebrating the experience of sharing the results of the American Library Association Youth Media Awards (ALAYMA) with my students. This year's experience of sharing the ALAYMA winners was markedly different than past years. This was the first year that I included a Mock Caldecott Unit in as many grades as I did (only the kindergarten and third grade students were not involved). Not surprisingly, the students were more vested in the results and more spirited in their discussions following the announcements.
The drum rolls (deftly produced by my students) that echoed throughout my library all week put a huge smile on my face and let others know of the excitement occurring within our space. I created a discovery center for the book awards, but used the cards as a prop for dramatic effect during my sharing of the winners. I left them at school and will have to add the images on Monday! A shout out to Rachael, one of my many wonderful library colleagues in Newton, who took my idea a step ahead and made it so much better!
The disappointment at not hearing the title of one of our Mock Caldecott winners provided a great opportunity to talk about #booklove and awards. I was happy to hear of their disappointment in a way that all lovers of the written would would be -- thinking to myself, "Yes! We've got another reader here!" I was also happy to remind students that an award should not alter how each of us feels about a book - each reading event is a unique experience between a reader and a book.
One of my favorite parts of the week sounds a bit narcissistic, I fear. I taped certain portions of the awards ceremony. I simply held up my phone facing the screen and let the natural emotions of the moment take over. I shared a few snippets with the students. Their reactions to hearing me scream like a teenager at a John Green event (I actually had to block my ears at this event because the shrill screaming was so loud). Maybe an easier analogy might be this: hearing me scream like a teenager at a Beatles concert in the 60s, something like this:
Here I am reacting to the announcement of the Newbery Medal:
Here I am reacting to the announcement of a Caldecott Honor book:The wide-eyed students with huge smiles on their faces said things like:
"Mrs. Reed, I had no idea you could be that loud!"
"Mrs. Reed, you were really excited!"
"Mrs. Reed, I dare you to scream like that now!"
"Mrs. Reed, play that again!"
They were laughing and smiling and aghast. I like that I showed them a different side of me. I like that they could hear my excitement in the moment. I like that they know how much I love books. I like that they could share in my joy. What a celebration!