Book Basketball Deathmatch

Back to the blog, my head says, as I sit here on a rainy Friday afternoon in North Carolina.  The rain is welcome as the pine pollen is out in abundance and my brown minivan was starting to turn a strange yellowish green.

But I’m not here to write about pollen counts and weather forecasts, this is HutchinsonReads not HutchinsonMeterology for goodness sakes!

Last Friday was my last Battle of the Books club meeting for a few weeks, as I am currently on a three week track out break.  So for this final meeting I wanted to do something engaging and memorable.

Boy… I think I found it in a little game called Book Basketball Deathmatch.  I found the game whilst Googling book club games and modified the questions to meet our current needs.  We are still very new into the 2019-2020 battle season so most of the club members have not had a chance to read much.  Because of this I decided to just go with a simple titles and author challenge.

The game requires a play basketball hoop in the style of the famous NERF basketball hoops that adorn most middle grade boy’s bedrooms, and a supply of some sort of treasure counters.  I used unifix cubes borrowed from the math classroom.

Break your club into groups of four or five members and give each group ten unifix cubes.  The game from there is simple… ask a question to a group, if they get the question correct they can steal a cube from any of the other teams.  Then they can nominate one member of their group to shoot the basketball, this time, if they score, the team can steal five cubes from any team they choose.  As you can guess it can get a little cutthroat as teams start to pick on a certain team, you know that blood in the water mentality, until they figure out some of the teams have loads of cubes and they need to be slammed back to reality.  If a team runs out of cubes, they are out of the game.

In our version I gave each team a list of current Battle of the Books authors and then asked each team to tell me the author of a title from the list.  Again, because we are so new to the lists, we had lots of misses and the excitement rained as teams finally got a book they knew who the author was.

But… we are a reading club, not a sporty club, and the shots on the hoop tended to go just a little awry.  I even bricked one pretty hard as I was explaining the game to the club.






It was a lot of fun, and I think the kids still tracked in might have repeated it today.  I can’t wait to get back to school so we can play again… I might even adapt it for a social studies review.

Do you have a reading club and a NERF Hoop?  If not, why not?  Go get a reading club and drop the $8 on a toy hoop and get playing Book Basketball Deathmatch!

Read On,

Mr. H


A Return to Writing

Well, dear reader, it has been a minute since we last interacted.  I can only say that I got lazy and writing for the blog seemed like the last thing I was interested in doing.  It’s not like I stopped reading or loving books… I just got out of the habit of writing.

So, let’s remedy this lack of discourse and get this blog back in good standing.

Battle of the Books finals

Let’s reignite this blog with a review of our recent trip to the 2018-2019 Wake County Battle of the Books finals.  Each year NC librarian types generates a list of 27 books for the state wide Battle of the Books competition.  Teams of students from all over the state spread a year reading the list and preparing for their regional finals.  Our county finals were held on March 2nd.

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Pine Hollow Middle took nine Pilot readers to the finals and faced off against an anxious Heritage Middle (they were warned three times for conferring before they were allowed to, and even lost points) and a scrappy Fuquay-Varina Middle.  We felt good with our combined score of 27 points after our first two battles… we were ahead of lots of schools, but lots of schools still had to finish their second battle.  Alas, in the end our 27 points only afforded us a 13th place and didn’t allow us to move to the next round.

We came home proud of our battles and eager to get into the new battle list.  We didn’t have to wait long, as the 2019-2020 list came out just a few weeks after the finals.  This coming year, the list was reduced by a few book titles.  I guess 27 books seemed too daunting, and they decided to reduce the title list ot 22 books.

So we continue on, with only two 8th graders on our finals team, we have a good core of Pilot Readers ready to get going on the next list of books.  Hopefully next year, we can get that unlucky 13 out of the way… and get into that top 8 and move to the second round.  Fingers Crossed.

I’ve enjoyed getting this post done, and have a few ideas for posts in the next few days, so stay tuned.

Read On,

Mr. H