Our school district created its own Battle of the Books program for middle schoolers, and most of the winter months were spent preparing for the competition day. Interested students met weekly with me during lunch, where we'd discuss the books, do practice questions, make lists of key words, etc. It was a fun part of the day for me. We started with dozens of kids at the sixth grade level, a nice handful at seventh, and a few at eighth. The good news is that most of them stuck with it until it was time to pick a team, which made it pretty difficult!
One of our seventh graders (one of my favorites-shhhhh!) has such a great sense of humor. She routinely cracks us up. During her sixth grade year, I was obsessed with the baby eagles that had been born in Washington, D.C., and I would live stream the eagle cam during lunches. As the babies grew, we would watch them eat and well, sometimes, poop. If you have never seen an eagle poop, I highly recommend trying to catch it. The eaglets lifted up their behinds and would shoot poop out of the nest. We were able to see it a couple of times, and well, you know middle schoolers--we loved it. Right then this student decided that our unofficial team name would be the "Pooping Eaglets."
This year, one of our books mentioned a band named "The Mystery Pissers" and this, of course, became our unofficial name, thanks to this same student. What a delight she is! When I mentioned this in a note to the student on the back of a photo, she said, "Now I'll never be able to show this to my mom! She doesn't get my humor!"
Last year, as a sixth graders, this student posed for pictures with the team, and as I pulled out my phone to take their pictures, she immediately threw herself on me, yelling "selfie!" This year, our group picture featured her free-falling to the floor just as I snapped the photo.