[Jamestown, NY] – The Washington Middle School “Northside Knows” recently placed second in Chautauqua Institution’s Battle of the Books. JHS teacher and parent, Betsy Rowe-Baehr, coached the fifth grade team of Mathis Baehr, Belle Johnson, Kate Kathman, Jackson Kresge and David Zampogna. They will receive a trophy and medallions for their win.
As part of the Battle of the Books competition, the teams received 12 selected texts to read over the last few months. The “Northside Knows” put in place a rotating schedule and goals, as each student finished; they passed the book on to another reader. The team met five times throughout the experience to build team spirit, encourage one another to review and study the plot details, key quotations, and illustrations, and set reading goals to become “experts” on select texts.
“This is the first year Jamestown Schools has participated in the competition,” said Mrs. Rowe-Baehr. “As both a mother and teacher in Jamestown Public Schools, it was an honor to coach and represent such a dynamic group of eager readers and cool kids. They were open to the process and supportive of one another throughout the challenge. They worked very hard, even when they were challenged. I think they were pleasantly surprised by genres that they had not typically read and it was exciting to see them discuss the stories and surprises along the way.”
The team travelled to Chautauqua Institution to participated in the Battle of the Books competition with other local fifth grade teams. Battle of the Books gets Chautauqua County fifth-graders excited about reading. A lively academic competition, Battle of the Books improves reading comprehension, builds vocabulary, and teaches teamwork and good sportsmanship. Teams of five students and one adult coach each read the same 12 pre-assigned books over five months. Selected in conjunction with Chautauqua Institution’s CLSC Young Readers Program, titles include a wide range of reading levels and subjects. Thanks to generous donors, all teams receive a set of books.
During the “battle,” a moderator asked approximately 50 trivia questions that relate to one of the following: a direct quote from one of the book characters; a statement about something that happens in the book; a passage taken directly from the book; details about an illustration or picture. After each question, popular and upbeat music blared and the team danced, rocked hands in the air and chanted “Northside Knows.” The team also dressed up with funny nose glasses, t-shirts, and per Jackson Kresge’s request, Booker T. Washington pins to honor the work and dedication to learning that as an African American educator and intellectual of the early 20th century, Washington demonstrated in the spirit of learning. The team also created a poster with a quote from Washington, “Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.”