Going against a pared down field of nine, Jordan Elementary School won the Battle of the Bluebonnets Friday.
Held at the Odessa High School Fieldhouse, the competition involves students in grades third through fifth reading books on the Texas Bluebonnet Award list and then competing in a quiz-show style event where they test their knowledge about what they’ve read.
The top team included Ella Elnar, Morgan Harris, Rylie Rey, Amani Carrillo, Addison Payne and Serenity Palma.
Along with Jordan, the other participating campuses were LBJ, Travis, Murry Fly, Reagan, Milam, Dowling, Alamo STEAM Academy and Buddy West elementary.
Jordan’s team was a mix of fourth and fifth graders. Carrillo said they were surprised.
Payne said her father bought at least 10 books for her to read.
“… I sat in my room and read almost all the books that he got me,” Payne said.
Jordan Media Specialist Margie McCrury said they had missed winning in previous contests by one question.
“I was really excited for them,” McCrury said.
When they got back to school, they were going to have Chick-Fil-A delivered, a cookie, then she will get trophies for them.
In their swag bags, they get snacks, a book, a water bottle and a gift card from Taco Villa.
McCrury said they prepared for the contest all year.
“It was very hard. I started doing the lessons for the kids and doing virtual books. Whenever the pandemic first started, we’ve been doing it virtually, but I would go into their classrooms. We couldn’t hand out books, but I would go into their classrooms and do the lessons with them. And I did that with all the third through fifth graders,” McCrury said.
Jordan has 800 students, so she said that probably included 400 youngsters.
Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jaime Miller said this was a smaller version of Battle of the Bluebonnets due to COVID.
Miller said they had to start planning the battle in August and they weren’t sure how to bring everyone together. They had students submit projects to decide who could participate.
“They had a choice board and they got to pick the project they wanted, so they read the book. Then they got to pick from the choice board what they wanted to create and so they created those projects. That went on all year long. The students created those projects and turned them in to the library media specialists. And then the library media specialists selected who the team was that came, and then also submitted one project to us that was going to serve as the tiebreaker if we ended up needing to go to basically round three, which would be the project scores,” Director of Instructional Technology Lauren Tavarez said.
“They turned in some neat stuff,” Tavarez added.
She noted that libraries had a different look at each campus.
“It was an extra challenge for the library media specialists to get books to kids. … Some libraries were checking out books and some that did not feel safe doing that. It was totally up to them, what their comfort level was so that was an extra thing that we’re proud of them for,” Tavarez said.
Miller said they hope to bring everyone back together next year. She expressed thanks to the instructional technology specialists on hand without whom an event like the Battle of the Bluebonnets could not be staged.
“They are the bomb,” Miller said.
Later in the afternoon, younger students participated in the 2x2s.
“We have three this afternoon, but it should be a good battle,” Miller said.