Mock Caldecott or Mock Newbery?

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This week, we were asked to read Travis Jonker’s Mock Caldecott blog post and Mr. Schu’s 20 nominees for the 2018 Caldecott award and post about our thoughts.  Personally, I think creating a mock Caldecott award in the classroom would be so much fun!  I can imagine that this would engage students and create some great memories.  This would be best for grades 2nd through 5th due to the level of comprehension and knowledge of making educated guesses.  A mock Caldecott award would work best for Elementary students since they are focused on images and how the story relates. 

I would imagine that a mock Newbery award would be difficult simply due to the amount of literature you would have to cover with your students.  That being said, it might be good for a small handful of students who are accelerated readers or for a class read that the teacher guesses might be a Newbery award winner. 

Some problems that I foresee happening with this activity would be finding the books that you would like students to read and vote on.  Teachers do have a lot of resources to look for books but you never know if the libraries can get a hold of the book.  This could always be solved by working with the librarians at the school and public libraries to see what could be done.  I can also foresee students struggling to vote on books if they do not have clear criteria.  As Travis Jonker stated, the guidelines for these awards are not kid friendly so the teacher would need to break them down enough for students to understand while also looking at the correct material. 

As for challenges, I think the largest one would be picking and voting for students.  I struggle with this so I can image they would. 

After reading Mr. Schu’s list of 2018 nominees, I was excited to see that I had already read a few of these books!  The top three books that I would still like to read from his list are…

This House, Once written by Deborah Freedman
A Boy, a Mouse, & a Spider: The Story of E.B. White written by Barbara Herkert, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Red & Lulu written by Matt Tavares

Honestly, all of these books seem like great books.  I think having a mock award for the class would be fantastic and it would help students get excited.  I do not know very many students that would not want to guess and see if they get it right.  It would also be fun to surprise the students with a pizza party while they watch the reveal. 

I went and took a look at Mr. Schu’s 2020 list our of curiosity.  My top three for this year that I will be looking for are….

Carl and the Meaning of Life written by Deborah Freedman
The Undefeated written by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Elvis Is King written by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Red Nose Studio

12 thoughts on “Mock Caldecott or Mock Newbery?

  1. Destiny, You make a good point that the criteria is not user-friendly or kid-friendly for the awards. Do you think it would be helpful if teachers made their own rubric for kids to score the books, based on the more complex criteria?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I personally would make my own rubric for kids to score the books so that they can understand. I do not think the criteria that is listed would make sense to them unless they were maybe upper elementary or middle school students.


  2. I like your idea of holding a mock Newbery with a small group of accelerated readers. So much time and focus is spent on helping struggling readers that I sometimes feel that my accelerated readers are not challenged enough. I would have them research (with guidance) which books they should read and analyze. They could also help develop the rating system for the activity. Do you have any other ideas on this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would agree with that statement. I think that as teachers we have to keep in mind that the accelerating students need some focus and challenges for themselves or they will not continue to grow. Yes, struggling readers need our help and guidance but so do the accelerating ones. I was debating having them research which books or picking some that I think may be Newbery winners and then having them read and rate them. I was not sure what would be best honestly. Mostly, I think having more simple rating system is the most important thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Destiny!

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. First off, I think it would be so much fun as well! What class would you like to do one with? I think you listed some great concerns. I also thought securing funds would be a big issue as well. However, there are so many fundraisers out there. The teacher just might have to put more time and effort than one thought. Are you an elementary education major?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I would like to do this with a second grade class personally. I think they would have a lot of fun with it! I am an elementary education major. K-8th grade is what my degree encompasses. What grade level do you think this would work the best with?


  4. I really enjoyed your points on why either the Newberry or the Caldecott could be better for a certain grade level or not. I had thought about these also and while I’m teaching 6th grade I don’t know where I would squeeze an activity this size in at. I think it would have to be a much simpler process, I’m just not sure how that would look.
    The books you chose as your top three were fabulous. They each looked interesting and followed the diversity that I believe needs to be consistent in the classroom. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That was what I was worried about as well…how do you get an activity of that size into your teaching. Do you think you could incorporate curriculum standards at all with this lesson. My thoughts go back to The One and Only Ivan and how classrooms read this and then saw if it won the Newbery. This might be more reasonable as a teacher for this activity. Thoughts?


  5. Destiny,
    Great post! I liked your list, and I agreed with a lot of what you said in your post. I think the grade levels that you chose for this are perfect, and that if you went down another grade you wouldn’t have the same comprehension skills. On the other hand, if you went a grade up they might not be as interested. If you were to do this event, would you keep it in your classroom or would you invite other classes to join you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I am glad you liked my list. I think I would most likely invite another class (the same grade level) to help make more of a guess and have a larger pool. What do you think you would do?


  6. I haven’t read these books, but they look great! I agree with your conclusion that it might be difficult to help students understand the criteria for voting for “mock” awards. It would be more work, but teachers could also get creative and come up with their own awards ceremony for books! That way they would have control over the criteria, and students could even have a say in what the criteria might be. Out of the books you have read in the two lists, which one was your favorite?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooooo that’s a good idea to do tour own award system in the classroom! I think that would be very fun and then you could still focus on the material you want to use to teach. I have actually only read one of the books from these lists but the rest are on my list to read.

      Liked by 1 person

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