Saturday, March 5, 2016

Oregon Battle of the Books Day!!

Today is the big day for Region 2 East of the elementary school level Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB)! Oregon Battle of the Books is a yearly competition at three levels: Elementary (3rd-5th grades), middle school (6th-8th grades) and high school (9th-12th grades). Winners of local school competitions in which teams compete to answer questions about the chosen books move on to regional competitions, and finally to the state competitions.

The regional competition for Region 3 East is being held at my own elementary school, Lincoln Elementary in Woodburn, Oregon, where I've been a teacher for the past 15 years. I became involved in the Oregon Battle of the Books five years ago when I decided to coach a team of five 4th and 5th grade students. I read all sixteen of the elementary level books, and then created very detailed quizzes for us to study and practice with. I realized I had created very valuable resources for other coaches and parents of students participating in the competition, as well as for teachers who could use the quizzes in their classrooms when their students were reading or studying particular books. I created a website,, uploaded the quizzes and connected them to Paypal in order to sell the quizzes individually or in complete sets for the annual competition. I provide the quizzes for free to all students and teachers at Lincoln Elementary School.
I have volunteered as the scorekeeper at the Region 2 elementary level OBOB competition for the past four years, mostly because the person directing the regional battle is my very good friend and colleague, Heidi Pramuk. She has been my friend, confidant, and voice of reason for many years and I'm constantly impressed with her energy and passion as a teacher, librarian, union rep, school leadership committee member, church president, and mother of three kids that she and her husband very successfully raised into wonderful young adults. So, basically I would do anything she asks me to do, but luckily I really enjoy helping out with the Battle of the Books competition. It's a fast-paced, exciting day with hundreds of kids, teachers, coaches, and parents in various classrooms having battles, kids running the scores to me, me inputting the scores in a spreadsheet to determine finalists, and the last two teams competing in the gym at the end of the day.

Working on Touchwood Farm in Tasmania
I'm even more excited this year to be here helping out because my son, David, and his friend, Josh, came with me to help. They are in classrooms right now as a timekeeper and a scorekeeper. They were traveling all around Italy, Tasmania, Australia, and New Zealand for the past five months, so I want to hang out with them as much as possible. They didn't like the idea of having to wake up early and leave by 6:30 am, but I have promised to buy them lunch at the nearby sushi restaurant, Sora Sushi, where the sushi goes around on a conveyer belt!

We are down to the final two teams -- Candelaria and Clear Lake. I'm very proud of our own Lincoln team. They worked really hard with their teacher and coach, Mr. Pena, and they made it all the way to the final eight. Now it's time to start reading and preparing for next year!!

P.S. Congratulations to Clear Lake Elementary - winners of the Region 2 East Elementary level Oregon Battle of the Books competition! 

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