Congratulations to the Winners of the Spring 2011 National Middle School Student Crew Contest!

Our first-place winner and recipient of a visit from best-selling author James Patterson plus 2,000 Scholastic Dollars is:

Sammy McClure Middle School

Sammy McClure Middle School
Dallas, GA
Student Crew Count: 45
Book Fair Theme: It’s a Crime Not to Read

At Sammy McClure Middle School's spring Fair, students were immersed in a world of crime, mystery, and intrigue. The scene was set with a 1969 Plymouth Fury police car parked in front of the school and the Student Crew distributing crime scene badges while wearing their S.W.A.T. (Students With Amazing Talents) shirts. The Fair began with Cocoa with the PoPo, a Family Event with local law enforcement officers. Students enjoyed hot cocoa and donuts if they brought a parent or grandparent. The media center was transformed into a crime scene with a police car, enormous magnifying glasses, handcuffs, body outlines, crime scene tape, and oversized cutouts of Sherlock Holmes, a judge, and SWAT officers. Wanted posters featuring teachers and their “crime” were also posted throughout the school.

Sammy McClure Middle School

The Crew increased teacher involvement by inviting them to a Crime Scene Café, where they created their wish lists and feasted on crime scene cake, murderous meatballs, and killer chicken dip. Teachers were entertained with a mystery play and the principal wore a "crime of fashion" ensemble when the sales goal was met.

To increase student excitement, several contests were held. There was a One for Books change war between the cops (boys) and robbers (girls). A hangman contest, a Twitter page, booktalks, websites, bracelets promoting the Fair, and more were also created to generate enthusiasm and traffic. The Crew hosted a video contest where students had to create videos about what "crime" parents would commit to meet James Patterson.

The Crew developed several reading activities for the Book Fair. If students read as much as, or more than, the principal for six days, they were entered into a raffle for a prize. Administrators also gave students Chick-Fil-A coupons if they caught them reading. There was also a book video trailer contest and an activity where students had to develop the top 10 reasons why it's a crime not to read.

These are just some of the activities Sammy McClure did to promote the Book Fair, books, and reading.

Second-place winners of 1,000 Scholastic Dollars are:

JEJ Moore Middle School
Disputanta, VA
Student Crew Count: 23
Book Fair Theme: Reading... It’s Elemental

Mad science ruled the spring Fair at Moore Middle School. The Student Crew transformed the library into a literary laboratory and showed students that reading + books = chemistry. Special theme call-outs like heart-stoppers, rib-ticklers, and more were used throughout the Fair to call attention to special books. As the Fair opened, a life-size Frankenstein cut-out appeared each day in random spots and had a sign proclaiming, "Book Fair 2011... It’s Alive!" Contests included a guessing game (guess the number of eyeballs and organs, a.k.a. candy), Weird Science Wednesday where students guessed the identity of objects, and Braniac Friday where students and staff members dressed up like mad scientists or braniacs. To generate traffic, the Student Crew (dressed in lab coats and goggles) hosted several Family Events: Muffins With Moms, Donuts With Dads, and Grand Day. These events brought hundreds of visitors to the Fair. The Crew also hosted several One for Books activities, which raised more than $1,200 in donations. When students donated money, their names were added to a huge DNA strand by the school’s entrance. Teachers could also donate $2 to One for Books and wear jeans on "Jeans for Genes" day. Students also competed in a One for Books competition, where the winning team received a biohazard party complete with black lights and glowing food. Reading was truly elemental at Moore’s spring Fair.

Emory H. Markle Intermediate School
Hanover, PA
Student Crew Count: 52
Book Fair Theme: Peace, Love, Book Fair

The Student Crew at Emory Markle tie dyed, painted, wrote scripts, and made paper mache car parts for a dynamite Book Fair entrance. To generate Book Fair excitement before the Fair even started, the principal led a competition where homeroom classes tried to fit as many students into Volkswagen Beetles as possible. The winning classrooms received books for their classroom libraries. To promote the Fair, the Crew did performances on the morning announcements, did booktalks, created picket lines at the bus stop, hung banners, and more! The school also used technology by promoting the Fair on blogs, with texts, on Facebook, and with tweets. To encourage reading, the eighth grade classes made wall murals with their favorite books, the seventh graders challenged their teachers to battle ball (the top readers earned a spot on the team), and the sixth graders participated in Battle of the Books. The school also did the One for Books program—the donations purchased books for the Hanover Public Library. The Book Fair at Emory Markle was definitely groovy!

Herschel Jones Middle School
Dallas, GA
Student Crew Count: 48
Book Fair Theme: Book Fair Carnival

The spring Book Fair was the most successful Book Fair ever at Herschel Jones Middle School! Several contests and activities were held to increase student excitement, including students getting two carnival tickets for every dollar they spent at the Fair. To promote the Fair, the Crew did booktalks. They also helped run a carnival event that was filled with cotton candy, a book walk, basketball throw, face painting, ring toss, and much, much more. The principal also got involved by promising special incentives to students. If the students read more than 3,750 pages, they would get a special field day. He also agreed to dress as a clown and ride a unicycle at the Book Fair Carnival if they met the goal of $4,000. For every $1,000 raised, he would add an element to his clown costume. The school also invited a local adult day care to the Book Fair. The Crew met with these adults, who suffer from developmental disabilities, and used the One for Books money they raised to purchase books for them. On the last day of the Fair, students who brought a "grand" relative were given 10 extra carnival tickets. After this Fair, all students want to be part of the Crew!

Memorial Middle School
Hull, MA
Student Crew Count: 18
Book Fair Theme: Book Fair Carnival

During Memorial's spring Fair, the Student Crew helped transform the Fair by decorating the room as a big top, having a master of ceremonies, and more! Students painted their own Crew shirts, wore Mardi Gras masks, and hung balloons and streamers. Parents were greeted at a Family Event by mimes, musicians, and other purveyors of amazing acts. During the event, students became street performers and collected "tips" for One for Books. Their enthusiasm was contagious, helping to generate four times the amount for One for Books than the last Fair. The principal also got involved by helping students with a decorative mural and daily Book Fair announcements. Student traffic not only increased from all of the peer-to-peer buzz, but also from a raffle that was promoted on the announcements and a guessing game (students had to guess how many pieces of popcorn were in the popcorn machine). The success of the Fair can be summed up in a statement from a custodian, who peeked at the Fair one afternoon. He said, "I’ve been at this school a long time, and this is the best Book Fair EVER."

Click here to see who won the President’s Award for Exceptional Performance.

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