How to Get Started
1. Go to the homepage, and click sign-up. This will place your school on an email distribution list so you will receive announcements.
2. Consider pitching the COCBA program to your PTO. When the program was created, our school PTO purchased a set of the nominees for each classroom. We had parents donate wrapping paper, and then a group of parents came to school one morning and gift wrapped all the books. When the COCBA program started, each week, I would give each class a gift at the end of our lesson (the gift was the book we read and evaluated in that lesson). The students loved receiving a gift for the classroom each week and now 6 years later, those classrooms have a collection of 48 great mentor texts. I have pitched the program to three districts and all three bought the books for classrooms.
3. Set-aside 8-10 weeks to administer the program. I always use the last 9-10 weeks of the school year. It revitalizes the school community at that time of year! Each week, introduce one title to students during their library media class. We read the text aloud, noting elements within the text that support our judging criteria. The students then use their scoring packets (see supplemental materials). Prior to the kickoff, I make scoring packets for each student and I keep the packets in the media center until the program is over. I either extend the read aloud with a supplemental activity (see "supplemental materials tab") or share that idea with a classroom teacher to continue in the class or book an extra media class if my schedule permits. I also announce Skype opportunities to all participants and we often Skype with an author or illustrator, or another participating school in order to discuss the text further.
4. I create a bulletin board display, tweet, and post on my website activities during the program.
5. On week 9, I hand back the scoring packets to the students who review them and rank the nominees. Next, I provide the students with a frame for writing an opinion piece to support their vote (see "supplemental materials tab", and then the students vote on the iPad. I set-up a google form for voting and share it with all participants (the voting form is usually released late Spring).
6. The last week of school we play a Battle of the Books. If you are interested, the game is shared in the supplemental resource list mid- April.
7. The last week of school, we celebrate the winning author. In the past, we have invited the winner to CT--often the following September/October.