Fall 2015 National Elementary School Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Fall 2015 National Elementary School Contest!

 


The First-Place Winner of 2,000 Scholastic Dollars and a personal visit from author Dan Santat is:

St. Timothy's Lutheran School
San Jose, CA


Book Fair Chairperson: Christine Hindenes
Theme: Reading is Dreaming…With Your Eyes Opened!
 
For the students and staff of St. Timothy’s Lutheran School, winning the Fall 2015 National Elementary School Contest was a dream come true! Their fall 2015 Book Fair theme titled Reading is Dreaming…With Your Eyes Opened! included beloved characters from the movies Monsters Inc. and Monsters University, as well as hundreds of student-made monsters. These bright and unique monsters took over the school’s Selbo Hall transforming it into a Book Fair Scare Factory, complete with more than a dozen life-sized doors hung from the ceiling and even more along the walls. Each grade made their own monster decorations, including tissue box monsters, Boo look-alikes with students’ faces, monster doors, and personalized pennant flags. Preschool classes created a Monster University scene complete with blossoming flowers and a tree with hanging paper towel tube monsters. Their photo op was a scream tank station, and on the stage, they built a training room with a Child Detection Agency vehicle, scream tanks, a Mike Wazowski look-alike, and a movie screen that showed images from the popular movies, as well as the Author Video.

What is the chairperson’s best advice for creating a successful Book Fair? “Advertise; advertise any way you can!” And that they did! St. Timothy’s Lutheran School advertised in every possible way, starting as early as two months out and rolling out new updates every week. The student council made posters, and the volunteer team utilized numerous social media outlets. They posted flyers in local coffee shops and sent out letters to parents and the community galore. But their most effective advertising tactic was a video of their principal and preschool director dressed up as characters from the movie Monsters Inc. From painted faces to fake snakes in their hair, their costumes and video were a scream, generating tons of excitement for the upcoming Fair.
                                                                                                                
Everyone who wanted to be a part of the Book Fair was given a job—parents who couldn’t volunteer during the school day created props at home, student alumni came back to help, and even one mom recovering from surgery knitted a monster hat for each and every fifth grader! This not only created a strong community, it also brought a lot of people into the Fair and events because everyone wanted to see their hard work on display.

They hosted three events—all special in their own ways. The first was a Movie and PJ Event, hosted by the fifth graders. As hosts, the fifth graders are in charge of choosing, preparing and serving all movie snacks, selling tickets, and cleaning up after the event. It’s a tradition that’s been passed down year to year. Families arrived in their pajamas, sleeping bags in tow, for shopping at the Fair and a special viewing of the Monster Inc. movie. All proceeds from the cost of admission to this event went to the school’s All for Books™ campaign, raising more than $900.
 
The second event, Family Night, included story time, games, snacks, and of course, shopping for books! Fifth graders also performed their original Monster Shuffle Dance in their handmade monster outfits and crocheted monster hats.
 
Last, but definitely not least, was Grandparents Day. The unofficial favorite event of their Fair, St. Timothy’s Lutheran School team hosted breakfast and lunch for every child and their grand. For kids that didn’t have a grandparent attending, church members volunteered to fill in so every child had a grand with them.  The school hired a professional photographer for a special photo op and kids made a photo frame craft so grandparents could take home a memento from their special day at the Book Fair together.
 
They heavily advertised their Online Fair, hosted teacher and student previews, and incorporated the monster theme into their curriculum as part of a reading and writing activity where fifth graders wrote their own monster stories then read them to younger students.
 
St. Timothy’s Book Fair was a dream fulfilled for students, faculty, and families alike, and a Book Fair worthy of the first-place prize for the Fall 2015 National Elementary Contest!


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

Calvin Bledsoe Elementary School
Frisco, TX

Book Fair Chairperson: Dawn Gray
Theme: Monster Book Fair: Reading is So Much Fun You’ll Get Goosebumps!
 
The fall 2015 Book Fair at Calvin Bledsoe Elementary School didn’t just give students goosebumps, it gave them tons of new books to read! For their Monster Book Fair, the chairperson and volunteer team set a goal to sell 4,000 books. They also wanted to raise enough money through their All for Books™ program to help a neighboring school. Not only did they meet both these goals, they exceeded them!
 
For the team of 85 volunteers at Calvin, being good monsters was all about being good neighbors. They shared their love of books and reading, while another elementary school shared some of their Book Fair decorations as a supplement to their already terrifically terrifying monster doors and eyeball danglers. At the end of their Fair, Calvin then passed along their decorations to another school, continuing the gift of giving.
 
The generosity kept growing as each classroom had one representative decorate a monster container to collect monetary donations for the All for Books campaign. The identities of the creators were kept secret and students voted on their favorite by “feeding the monster.” All in all, they raised enough money to buy 76 books from the Book Fair for Bright Elementary.
 
Their events were also spine-tingling! The kick-off rally included a Monsters Love Underpants skit and each child wearing a handmade monster headband. Families attended the Family Monster Bash where shoppers enjoyed monster munchies, costumed characters in the Monster’s Lair, creepy crafts, and door prizes. The week wrapped up with Lunch with Bledsoe Beasties in the Creepy Café. Anyone special, whether it was a grandparent, parent, or neighbor, could attend with a student and devour lunch and books together.
 
Calvin Bledsoe’s fall 2015 Book Fair shared more than their decorations and books, they shared their love of reading and the importance of helping others, giving their entire community feel-good goose bumps.

Big Bend Elementary School
Big Bend, WI

Book Fair Chairperson: Julie Kastello
Theme: Monster Book Fair
 
Big Bend Elementary School tackled their fall 2015 Monster Book Fair head on with the help of dedicated volunteers, enthusiastic students, and one “slimy” sports celebrity.
 
Advertising began early during the August open house where students could win monster-themed prizes for a shiver-and-shake game. Book Fair excitement continued to grow through other events like a googly-eyed guessing game, viewings of the Author Video, spirit days, and the All for Books™ lollipop pull. But the biggest motivation came from the All for Books coin drive where the principal agreed to be slimed by former Green Bay Pack LeRoy Butler.
 
The student council handled the majority of the coin challenge responsibilities, encouraging their peers to participate in dress-up days like “tie-dye for dollars” or “hats off to nickels” in order to surpass the goal of $1,000. Not only did the school meet that goal, they exceeded it by $632.18—their biggest All for Books collection to date!
 
The school planned the What Would You Do For Reading? sliming event so it coincided with the Grandparent Lunch and parent/teacher conferences, taking advantage of the more than 450 guests to celebrate their Book Fair success. The student council greeted, directed, and helped visitors during the event, and then invited everyone to shop at the Book Fair, resulting in their largest shopping day ever with more than $3,480 in sales!
 
Overall, their Monster Book Fair scored big for books and kids!

Vintage Elementary Math, Science, Technology Magnet
North Hills, CA

Book Fair Chairperson: Karla Forbes
Theme: Monster Book Fair
 
The Monster Mom team and Book Fair chairperson at Vintage Elementary Math, Science, Technology Magnet really drew the community into their fall 2015 Monster Book Fair. With one of their goals being “increase sales,” the team started strategizing early, attending a Book Fair workshop in August and setting regular meetings in October. They upped their advertising, sharing booktalks and the Author Video, as well as making P.A. announcements, principal phone blasts, and sending home the save-the-date flyer. They even posted a countdown to the Book Fair on their school website that also linked to their Online Fair homepage. Students also dressed as monsters wearing sandwich boards.
 
Two family events, a Monster Muffin Morning event, and a Books and Burgers evening event got everyone excited and shopping. Then, in an effort to create even more reading monsters, the Vintage team reached out to two local preschools and the nearby senior community, proving that no matter how young or old, books are delicious.
 
The books were so yummy in fact that the school launched a “Feed the Monster” All for Books™ campaign. Classes turned empty, everyday milk jugs into hungry monsters and students were encouraged to feed it coins. In addition to the milk jug monsters, the Book Fair team placed boxes at the registers where shoppers could donate leftover change. Anyone who contributed was acknowledged with a bell ringing, a cheer, and a pencil pull from the monster pencil pull. In total, they collected their most All for Books donations ever—$1,458! They surpassed their books sold goal by 320 books and overall increased their Book Fair sales 33 percent from the past year. Needless to say it was a monster year for Vintage Magnet!

Pearre Creek Elementary School
Franklin, TN

Book Fair Chairperson: Julie Boggess
Theme:   Monster Book Fair: Reading is So Much Fun You’ll Get Goosebumps!
 
More than 70 volunteers whipped Pearre Creek Elementary School into a Book Fair frenzy for fall 2015.
 
It all started with decorations that went up a week before the Book Fair opened—monsters made out of milk jugs, tissue boxes, paper towel rolls, pipe cleaners, feathers, and wiggly eyes. Anticipation grew as students couldn’t wait to see what was inside. When the monster doors finally opened, they were greeted by a friendly monster librarian who gave them a video tour of the entire Book Fair, and the middle school dance team performed a modified version of the song “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” using the words, “Watch me shop, watch me read a book.”
 
Competition was fierce as students participated in a monster-themed writing contest, “Guess the Googly Eyes” estimation game, and an original book trailer contest. But the biggest competition was their All for Books™ change drive. Each day during the Book Fair, students wore a sticker home noting what type of coin they were supposed to bring in the next day. Classes that collected more than $100 received a popcorn party, and the top class would receive a popsicle party. Students and parents were relentless and collected a record $4,700—more than twice their $2,000 goal! As an extra prize, the principal, assistant principal, and librarian danced the “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” song in front of the entire school.
 
A dedicated Pearre Creek Elementary School Book Fair Facebook page was a one-stop shop for advertising, volunteer recruitment and recognition, and event updates. The chairperson posted pictures from the Family Night event, where shoppers enjoyed tasty meals from food trucks, free face painting, balloon art, monster tattoos, and Book Fair shopping. In addition to Family Night, Pearre Creek hosted not one, but three Donuts With Someone Grand morning events, and increased sales for their Classroom Wish List program by 50 percent. 
 


President’s Award for Exceptional Performance winners (who win 500 Scholastic Dollars) are:

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (What Would You Do for Reading?®):
Bascom Elementary School
Leavittsburg, OH

Book Fair Chairperson: Debby Engler
Theme: Reading is So Much Fun, You’ll Get Goosebumps!
 
 
The What Would You Do For Reading?® challenge at Bascom Elementary School was a sticky subject for the school’s principal. To get students excited about the Book Fair and reading, the Bascom team challenged the preschool through second graders to spend 800 hours reading outside of school in five weeks. If they did, Principal Maggie Kowach promised to let the top reading student douse her with ooey gooey slime.
 
The messy motivation worked like a lucky charm and the top reading student, a second grader who read a total of 1,170 reading minutes outside of school, was given the privilege of dumping the green concoction on Principal Kowach’s head. The students got quite a show—and a lot of reading—all in the name of fun!

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Volunteers): 
Saint Mark the Evangelist Catholic School
Southwest Ranches, FL

Book Fair Chairperson: Sandy Garcia and Danielle McConnell
Theme: Monster Book Fair from the Black Lagoon
 
A Scholastic Book Fair would not happen without the help of generous volunteers, and the fall 2015 Book Fair at Saint Mark the Evangelist Catholic School was no exception. However, their volunteers took their Book Fair one step further!
 
It all started with a Family School Association Parent Volunteer breakfast where the treasurer promoted the opportunity to volunteer at the Book Fair. Twenty volunteers signed up right then and there! Following the breakfast, room parents sent out emails with a link to the school’s Book Fair webpage, resulting in another 50 parents agreeing to volunteer.
 
The next step for Saint Mark was a volunteer training meeting. The Book Fair team and the Scholastic representative served food and drinks, trained volunteers on the cash register, and presented a PowerPoint presentation that included details about running a Fair. Making sure volunteers were well trained and ready to go was a top priority.
 
During the Fair, more than 40 volunteers worked the student preview and Fair, helping students make their wish lists. And that was just the adults!
 
Saint Mark also had a stellar Junior Crew, 30 students strong. Middle school students applied for the Junior Crew by writing an essay, and members did everything from setting up and breaking down the Book Fair to presenting booktalks, making décor, and working the Family Event.  Their volunteer teams were exceptional, making this their best Book Fair to date with more than 3,800 books sold!

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Theme): 
Little Stepping Stones Child Development Center
Garner, NC

Book Fair Chairperson: Jennifer Gibbs
Theme: Christmas Around the World
 
Even though this was the first Book Fair for Little Stepping Stones Child Development Center, a small kindergarten through fifth grade school in North Carolina, they didn’t let that stop them from going global! Their theme, Christmas Around the World, was incorporated into every aspect of the Book Fair and curriculum. Each classroom was assigned a country, including Germany, America, Spain, Australia, Phillipines, Denmark, Argentina, and more. The teachers researched the holiday traditions in their assigned country extensively, then incorporated that knowledge into their lesson plans. The children completed beautiful and elaborate window displays based on what they learned, which were voted on by the school.
 
At the open house Family Event, the families journeyed around the globe participating in holiday traditions at each country before shopping at the Book Fair. The kids were so excited to show off their hard wor. Their love of books showed across all languages and continents! 

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Student Engagement):
Cherry Creek Elementary School
Springville, UT

Book Fair Chairperson: Eileen Tew
Theme: Monster Book Fair
 
The students at Cherry Creek Elementary School were all in for their fall 2015 Monster Book Fair. The Book Fair chairperson consulted the school’s student leaders, picking their brains for ideas that would excite their peers, involve staff, and make sure that everyone in the school, no matter their socio-economic status, could enjoy the Book Fair.
 
Their main projects were the What Would You Do For Reading?® reading assembly and the Monster Mash event.
 
The first event’s goal was to help new teachers build their classroom libraries. During the assembly, the student leaders called the new teachers up to the front and asked them if they would eat a monster’s favorite snack, a sardine, for $50 in books. The trick was that the teacher could then invite a student to eat it for them!
 
For the Monster Mash event, students planned a coin collection contest for each class, helping raise money for their All for Books™ campaign. The teachers from the winning grade were then entered as contestants in the Monster Mash contest where students mixed together random ingredients in vanilla pudding. The teacher who finished their Monster Mash pudding first won $100 in books!
 
Between planning and executing both events and creating hundreds of decorations for the Book Fair, the students at Cherry Creek Elementary School were more than engaged with the Book Fair, they were the Book Fair!

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Grand Event):
Pearce Elementary School
Greensboro, NC

Book Fair Chairperson: Juli Guthrie
Theme: Monster Book Fair
 
The volunteers at Pearce Elementary School sure had a grand time at their fall 2015 Book Fair! For their Monster Book Fair, they made sure to advertise all of their events, but for their Grand Event, they sent personalized invitations home to each and every grand. The invites listed the student’s lunchtime and their designated shopping time for the day of the Grand Event. Boy, did this strategy work! At the lunchtime Grand Event, they hosted their largest number of Grands and students to date, resulting in a gross sales total of $5,000! That’s what we call a grand ’ole time!

Sarah Jane Anderson Elementary School
Vancouver, WA

Book Fair Chairperson: Vanessa Sauve
Theme: Monster Book Fair
 
Even though the Family Event for the Sarah Jane Anderson Elementary School Book Fair was a nighttime event, the fun began early in the day! As part of building excitement for the free Books Before Bedtime Family Event, students were encouraged to wear their pajamas to school, while staff dressed up in monster costumes. As the evening drew near, the anticipation continued to grow, as did the guest list. Dinner was served and families received a passport that they could mark with each classroom they attended.
 
As guests traveled throughout the school, they enjoyed fantastic monster literacy activities, such as: bilingual story time, music, poetry, art, literacy bingo, monster cookie decorating, and make-your-own comics, bookmarks, and pet monster rocks. The fun seemed like it might never end as more than 350 families got their passports stamped and were entered into a raffle drawing for prizes. When it was finally time to say goodnight, the students, faculty, and family of Sarah Jane Anderson Elementary could happily say, “Night night, sleep tight, be sure to let the book bugs bite!”

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Decorations):
Hosp Elementary School
Frisco, TX

Book Fair Chairperson: Jen Archer
Theme: Under the Sea Book Fair
 
The fall 2015 Under the Sea Book Fair decorations made an enormous splash at Hosp Elementary School. The school’s Green Team collected recyclable materials that were transformed into decorations, enforcing an important message of environment conservation amidst the Book Fair excitement.
 
What was once a library entrance became an underwater cave where pool noodle sea anemones, crepe paper seaweed, coffee filter coral reefs, and plastic bottle tropical fish delightfully swam into the Book Fair. Schools of fish danced in aqua-blue “ocean” draped across the ceiling, while paper mȃché rocks served as a dark backdrop for the bright and bountiful student artwork sea life. Students were so excited to create décor that they even did art projects at home, creating toothpick and foam sea urchins and shower cap jellyfish.
 
Decorations scattered throughout the school, too, as posters of teachers in diving masks engaged students in a fun game of “Guess Who’s Diving Into a Good Book.”
 
Overall, the Book Fair decorations created a wave of excitement for students and faculty alike, while also repurposing recyclable materials, helping the very environment with which they were recreating.  

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (All for Books™):
William Street Elementary School
Lancaster, NY

Book Fair Chairperson: Wendy Buchert
Theme: N/A
 
This wasn’t the first time William Street Elementary School ran an All for Books™ campaign during their Book Fair, but it sure was the biggest! Due to a snowstorm cutting their days short last year and the notion that they had “sucked every coin out of Lancaster, New York,” the Book Fair team decided to change up their change drive for All for Books for fall 2015. Instead of assigning specific coins to each day, students could bring in any coin on any day for three days straight. The grand prize to the class who collected the most coins was the privilege of duct taping the principal to the wall and a classroom pizza party. Needless to say, that did the trick!
 
They advertised the campaign on social media and tallied the counts each day to keep the friendly competitive spirit going. Everyone contributed, including parents, grandparents, and teachers who made matching donations. The response was overwhelming—the William Street Elementary School raised an astounding $7,500 in change in just three days’ time!
 
Thanks to the amazing effort of their school community, they were able to purchase more than 1,000 books from the Book Fair to donate to the Lancaster Youth Bureau in time for the holidays. Both the principal and vice principal were duct taped to the wall for a day, high-fiving students as they passed by. The story of their All for Books success even made the nightly news and both local newspapers, and will be sure to go down in William Street Book Fair history!