Our 2014 Picture Book Smackdown was a huge success. Students in 5 states including Georgia, Texas, Connecticut, Maine, and Pennsylvania shared their favorite picture books along with 2 amazing authors, Dianne de Las Casas and Anne Marie Pace.
Anytime you host an event like this, you worry about technical difficulties. However, today the internet gave us smooth sailing. I do want to take a moment to uncover some of the pieces that went into making this event successful. There was a lot of preparation that went on behind the scenes.
- I created our Google Plus Hangout on Air event page well in advance so that we could advertise our smackdown to all of our networks.
- All of the authors and participating schools have been communicating with one another via email, twitter, and a shared Google doc. The doc contained tips for making the hangout run smoothly such as keeping our microphones muted unless we were speaking as well as listed the order that we would speak.
- All of the participating schools had students prepare in advance. Many of our students wrote our scripts or memorized a brief blurb about their books. Some of us hosted a practice for our students to run through their talks.
- We opened the hangout well in advance so that we could test our microphones as needed. I sent everyone a direct link to join the hangout rather than sending everyone a G+ invite.
- Many of us had organization to how our students came up to the microphone. For example, I setup my chairs in groups of 3 so that students were already sitting in the groups of 3 that would come up to the microphone.
- Some of us had helpers who were assisting us behind the scenes. I recruited a parent volunteer, a UGA student, and UGA teacher to help me. The parent volunteer took pictures and assisted students to the microphone. The UGA teacher created a Google doc of all of the picture books that were shared during the event. The UGA student helped students to the microphone. Since I was in charge of the hangout, I wanted to be able to focus on the technology and supporting any issues that came up with our event.
- As we had time, we tweet pictures or publicity about the event while it was happening.
I hope that you will take time to listen to the archive because it truly was miraculous. We heard from Dianne de Las Casas about why Picture Book Month was started and it was amazing to see how many authors and illustrators she has recruited to be picture book champions.
We also heard Dianne de Las Casas and Anne Marie Pace share some of their favorite picture books. I wish we could have heard more from them, but they were gracious enough to step aside so that students could voice their love for so many wonderful books.
We heard titles, authors, and summaries. One of my favorite things to hear from students was why picture books matter in our world. To hear their own reasoning about why picture books matter was truly inspiring.
I would like to take a moment to thank our participating author, librarians, and schools for the 2014 Picture Book Smackdown.
Dianne de Las Casas, founder of Picture Book Month
Anne Marie Pace, author
Andy Plemmons, school librarian in Athens, Georgia
Jenny Lussier, school librarian in Durham, Connecticut
Cathy Potter, school librarian in Falmouth, Maine
Shawna Ford, school librarian in Weatherford, Texas
Julee Murphy, school librarian in Texas
Christina Brennan, school librarian in Pennsylvania
This will definitely be an annual event for me, and I encourage you to think about how you might host your own event like this to get kids connected and sharing their passions and interests. Happy Picture Book Month!
Watch the archive!