The students in this year’s book budget group have been busy. We emailed our reading interest survey to all students in our upper grades, but our younger students needed to be surveyed in person. The book budget crew have carried iPads to recess and lunch as well as picked up iPads before school to survey students. Over the course of a few days, they have surveyed almost half of our school.
All along the way we have checked the progress in our form by viewing the summary of responses and seeing which grades needed to be surveyed. We wanted there to be voices from every grade level on the survey.
Finally, we all met in the library for an official meeting to look at the data on the survey.
First, the students started picking out the kinds of books that received the most votes. They made a list of 11 kinds of books. These books were the ones that received above 60% of the people surveyed who said they liked that kind of book.
The students decided that they wanted to keep this list of 11, so our next step was to decide how to divide our approximate budget of $2000 among the 11 goals.
This came with some controversy. There were lots of ideas. We decided to make a list of our ideas on our shared Google doc. Four main ideas came to the surface.
1. Divide the money equally among the 11 goals.
2. Create a stair step budget or waterfall budget where the top goal on the list got the most money and the last goal on the list got the least.
3. Narrow the list of goals to a top 10 or top 5.
4. Focus on different kinds of books for different grade levels based on the survey responsed.
The students voted on these ideas by putting tallies in a table on the Google doc. The idea of a waterfall budget won the vote, so the next step was to start thinking about how to divide the money among the goals while giving more money to goals requested by more students. This was even trickier, and we ended up not making a final decision yet.
Deciding how to divide the budget really called upon the students’ math skills. They wrote things on paper, Google docs, and used Google chrome as a calculator to try to add up various amounts to get to $2000 and divide the budget up into multiple categories. Students were using their problem solving and reasoning skills as they discussed in groups why their various plans worked or didn’t work. Some were even revisiting the survey data to try to look at percentages on the survey and correlating that to budget percentages. Math wasn’t just a subject at this moment. It was a real life skill that was being put into action.
Our process was again loud and messy, but I loved how the Google doc allowed us to get lots of voices represented in the conversation rather than hearing from one or two people speaking aloud.
Now that our goals have been decided, we’ve sent these to Avid Bookshop and Capstone Press. Will from Avid Bookshop will visit the students to book talk some books from Avid that match our goals and Jim Boon from Capstone will share his company’s offerings. I think the pairing of these two vendors will get the students a great variety of titles to choose from.
I can’t wait to see what they decide.