I work at a K-4 elementary school. Here’s how were’re running our 2017 Mock Caldecott.
Step 0: (Bonus Step, Y’all) The Prep.
Before we get into the books that might win this year, we talk about what the Caldecott Medal is and read a past winner. I keep the criteria talk pretty basic – explain how it’s an award for the best pictures in a picture book, but it’s also important how they support the story. I love reading This Is Not My Hat and then afterward asking students to give reasons why the book might have won the Caldecott Medal. Some really good discussion comes out of that, and kids start to get a sense of why a book might win.
We also watch the previous year’s Caldecott announcement video.
Step 1: The Books
My colleague Niki Barnes and I try to come up with a diverse group of books that we think might be in the discussion for winning medals. For time reasons, our list needs to be fairly small. This is hard.
Step 2: The Reading and Discussing
Once the books are chosen, we get to reading. When classes come and see me in the library, we read two books back to back each week. I like this method because it allows students to make comparisons.
After we read I have students do a quick show-of-hands vote for the book they felt had the strongest illustrations. Then I ask students to give a reason why they chose that particular book. Discussions ensue.
Step 3: The Voting
Time to decide. I show students all the books again, remind them about the (kid friendly version of) the Caldecott criteria, and students pick their favorite. I make a ballot with pictures of the books to make it easier for all grades to take part. Students circle their pick.
I add up the votes: top vote-getter wins the Medal, and the next closest win Honors.
If you haven’t tried this with your students, I think you’d have fun with it.