Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Title for Year 5

All In! is five years old.

What started as "The Hunger Games Book Club" - fun fact, all of our documents are saved under that original name - morphed into the "School-wide Read," then became the educational non-profit All In!, and now here we are. We are so proud of our journey, and the five year mark feels momentous.
Students filled a banner with their guesses back in October.

Before we knew anything about this year, before we considered one title, before we wrote a single idea down on paper, we knew we wanted this year to be memorable. We wanted to mark the milestone. Five years! We have a lot to celebrate.

Truth be told, we started thinking about titles a year ago. There's no real starting date for us, we just constantly read and constantly talk. And somewhere along the line, things just click and an All In! title is discovered. For the last four years, it has been that simple.

This year was different. Nothing was clicking. We read all summer long and couldn't settle on a book. There were a few good ones, but nothing was great. We didn't LOVE anything. For the first time, we started the school year without having a title in mind.
This year, our kids waited longer than ever for the reveal.
But here's the crazy thing - we didn't panic. We knew a title and a plan would come to us. And we knew we were going to make it awesome.

We have several "unspokens" between us. One of them is that we are a literacy initiative. We choose books that we love. We choose books that get kids reading. And at this stage, we are confident that we can get students to buy-in even without a movie. We've earned their trust. As long as there is a field trip - and only readers get to go - we can sell it to our kids.

One idea that sort of came and went was the idea of student choice. Several people had mentioned it to us over the years and for one reason or another, we always left it on the table and went in another direction. It never felt right. This year, it fit. We couldn't decide on a title, so why not let the kids pick it?

Since we had the serendipitous tie-in of the election cycle we decided to (wait for it...) go all in. The book for All In! 2016 would be chosen by our students.

In late November, we aired this promo, which put our already desperate children over the edge. We'll put it up against any political ad out there.

Coming up, we'll tell you all about our campaign, debate, and election process - which featured not a single hanging chad.