First Book Bowl spreads excitement among middle schoolers
Posted 03/15/2016 12:16PM


There were 34 teams. They vied against each other during the preliminaries, semi-finals, and then the finals, in a super-charged atmosphere of excitement and lively competition.

This was not the school’s intramurals football tournament. This was ACS’s first annual Book Bowl, whose finals were held on March 14, 2016, at the upper school auditorium, during advisory block.

Drawing on her previous experience with a book bowl at another school and with the aim of promoting reading, Andrea Norman, head librarian, suggested the idea to Midge Livingston, Middle School technology integrationist, teacher and librarian.

Inspired by how sports competitions motivate youngsters to train and compete towards a goal, Livingston set it up like a sports tournament, opening it up to Middle School students, in its first edition. There are already plans to include other grades in future book bowls.

Livingston collaborated with Middle School English teachers to pick out 12 books
for students to read between mid-December and early March. 
The books represented various genres: realistic fiction, science fiction, historical and environmental non-fiction, a picture book, poetry and others.

The idea was to have each team read the 12 books, explained Livingston. “So if a team member was struggling with the book he/she was reading, they had the opportunity to switch books with another team member.”

To quiz students during the preliminaries, semi-finals and finals, the team of teachers developed nearly 180 questions about the 12 books. Between the preliminaries and the semifinals some 100 questions were used up. The remaining ones tested the finalists on March 14.

The 34 teams represented the six Houses in the school: Wizards, Indriks, Griffins, Phoenix, Dragons, and Titans. Each house had five to six teams, made up of advisory groups, consisting of 6-8 students each.

During Monday’s rambunctious quiz session, the six finalists (each representing a house), competed via the game-based learning platform Kahoot, before an audience of about 300 students from the Middle School.

Instead of brawn, brains had the advantage, and instead of passing around a ball, students had to click on a button to submit their answers.

Speed also factored into score calculations, allowing teams to collect extra points.

Cheers, taunts, squeals, and applause from the audience egged on the finalist teams: Kuzel’s Kuzinz (representing the Indriks), Seahawks (Griffins), Mr. T’s Tigers (Dragons), the Chalhoubers (Phoenix), Yellow Pumpkins (Wizards), and Jeniuses (Titans).

MC Daniel Saint James kept the energy high and the audience engaged. For a quick peek into the day's lively spirit, please click here.

Competing over 70 questions, Kuzel’s Kuzinz won first prize after collecting nearly 42,000 points. First and second runners-up were Seahawks with about 33,000 points and Mr. T’s Tigers with almost 32,500 points.

“I just loved seeing excitement over books over the past couple of weeks,” said Livingston. “It is so cool! This is what makes me really happy, because we are starting to have a stronger community of readers.”

The Book Bowl falls under ACS’s literacy campaign, which Head of School Hamilton Clark launched in March 2014, shortly after taking the helm. Some outcomes of the campaign, which was called “Get Caught Reading,” included creating book nooks all over the school, where students can borrow books or leave ones they have read for others to enjoy. Also, the Sustained Silent Reading block in Middle School and High School was introduced; and all teachers, including math and science teachers, were asked to incorporate reading and writing into their classes.