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A new chapter for Battle of the Books

By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of DCS Montessori

DCSM third and fourth grade team show their enthusiasm and love of books with a few favorites, including 13- Story Treehouse, Flora & Ulysses and Dragons in a Bag

The Douglas County Libraries (DCL) Battle of the Books (BOTB) is one of DCS Montessori’s (DCSM) favorite programs to compete in. Although this year’s traditional program was canceled, DCL introduced a fun alternate program which allowed more students to participate.

Traditionally, BOTB is a rigorous program that runs throughout the school year with seven-member teams competing in challenges against other teams throughout the Douglas County School District. This year, the program began in November and will have three online battles in February. DCSM library specialist Holly Morgan shared that the school and students are happy the new program allows more students to participate in this year’s event.

This year’s Battle of the Books team discussions were managed and conducted online. Team coach Heather Eastwood (top right) guided fifth grade Castle Pines student Maddy Gressell (lower left)along with her fifth and sixth grade team members on a Zoom call to discuss the author, genre, theme and vocabulary in this year’s book selection.

Although DCL is not tracking participation, they will be hosting the quiz show competition. This is an individual program based on how well team members answer each quiz. The top 10 scores each week win a prize. At the end of the program, all individual scores will be combined by school. The school with the most points earns their team a BOTB trophy.

To prep team members for weekly book quizzes, BOTB coaches Morgan and Heather Eastwood met with the teams virtually to discuss the current book they are reading. An online classroom allows the team to post practice quizzes and reading supplements to help in understanding a particular book. More importantly, it has kept the team connected. Morgan says the teams love working together and the virtual meetings have helped team members study for the weekly quizzes.

In recent years, the DCSM Cougars have won branch and district championships. This year, with or without the program’s traditional final competition, Morgan notes that DCSM has found a way to be together through a love of books during socially- distanced learning. She said that the team members have grown and connected. “Seeing the students support one another in the virtual classroom has been amazing,” she continued.



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