Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Team Smartacles: Did Anyone Read This?

My second Battle of the Books team is taking their online test tonight.  Made up of three freshman girls, a freshman boy and a junior girl, they are a bizarre group. Two of the freshman girls are great friends who convinced the other two freshman to join them. The junior girl just wanted to be on a team and this was the only team that didn't have six people on it.  They call themselves Team Smartacles.

They haven't met like my other group or any of the other groups.  I'm still not sure that they have all the books read. But tonight they are banding together. They are pumped up and ready to go.

They begin the author's test. The freshman got together today and studied the author's names for that test. In 7 minutes, they breeze through the test. Wisely, they decide to look over all their answers.  In 9 minutes and 54 seconds they click submit. 28 out of 28. Seriously! Amazing! During the whole test the boy is jumping up and down and giving high fives to the girls.  They feel pretty good about their chances.

On to the questions about the books. 28 questions, one for each book.  Before every question someone asks, "Did anyone read this one?"  Sometimes the answer is no and sometimes one person says they did. Now keep in mind, we first met in September and divided up the books amongst them so that every book had at least three people reading it.

They decide to write down any question number they aren't sure of. So far they have written down 1, 2, 3, 4.

Freshman boy turns and says, "Is this one of those things where we can call a friend?"

They begin discussing the questions and rationalizing their way through the answers. This is going to be a long night. Good thing they only have an hour. The board fills with numbers!  8, 10, 11, 14

"It's not your personal opinion!"  15, 19, 21, 22

The junior girl sits and reads the questions off of the smartboard. She is very quiet, always has been. When she knows the answer she gives it, but otherwise she sits quietly.  I'm sure she feels a little out of place. Had I been able to get this group together more, I could have helped them become a team. The freshmen, however, were involved in everything (as freshmen tend to be) and meetings were a problem.

The freshman boy is very proud of the three or four books he has read, but when they get to those books, he's unsure of himself. The girls  talk him through the question until he comes up with an answer. And they put the number on the board.  25, 26

Now they begin clicking backwards and rereading questions to see if the answers will pop magically into their heads.  They aren't changing many, choosing to stay with their first instinct. I'm not sure how that will work for them since they didn't read all of the books, but any strategy is better than no strategy.

The last gets quieter as they think--except for freshman boy. He hasn't been quiet all night.

They click submit.  19 out of 28. They actually tied Team Fluffy who read all the books but one!

"Thanks, Mrs. Day. See you tomorrow." They leave my room, chattering about next year and the books they will read.


  1. Deb,
    I love their process of preparation. So much more than the test! Share more of this :)

  2. I had never heard of this contest. Thanks for telling about it. It was fun hearing their process & how they worked together.

  3. I've just learned about Battle of the Books over the weekend. Then I read your post about it. I'm checking it out.