Who can be a coach?
Any adult over 18 years of age, such as a parent, volunteer, older sibling, scout leader, or teacher may be a coach. An individual may only coach one team. A team may opt to have an assistant coach as a stand-in, in case the coach is unable to perform their mentoring duties the night of the battle. The coach or another designated adult MUST attend ONE of the mandatory coaches meetings held in the fall prior to the event. In addition, the coach or other designated adult must also attend ONE of the Battle’s logistics meetings in the spring.
The spring logistics meeting for the 2021 competition is March 23, 2021 virtually via Zoom.
Student Participation and Teams
Who can participate?
Teams of Howard County fifth graders who attend the same school. The competition is open to all 5th grade students that attend public, private, or home schools in Howard County.
What constitutes a team?
A team is comprised of five students and an adult coach (at least 18 years old). When registering, the online form requires the registration of three to five students. If a team loses a member before the actual Battle, remaining members may still participate; however teams, must have at least three members to participate on the day of the Battle.
Will special accommodations be made for visually challenged team members?
If any type of special accommodations are needed, let us know by February 7, 2022. During the Battle all questions are spoken. If a team member has trouble circling the answer within the allotted 30 seconds, another team member may circle the answer.
Does a homeschool team all have to participate in the same co-op or tutorial or can they be from a mix of unaffiliated/co-ops/tutorials?
They should represent one co-op. If a co-op wants to put individuals from other Howard County home school associations that it okay.
Does a homeschooler have to reside in HoCo in order to participate, or is it enough that they attend a co-op/tutorial in HoCo?
They only have to attend a co-op/tutorial in HoCo. Further it is only open to students that attend HoCo associations not students that are virtually attending some other organization or attending a co-op in another county.
For homeschoolers, what constitutes a 5th grader? Is there a birthday range? Do they need to be being reviewed as a 5th grader? Do they need to be doing 5th grade-level work?
A fifth grader is someone that would be attending/accepted as a 5th grader if they were in a public/private school.
What type of team costumes are permissible?
Team shirts, spirit wear and/or costumes are encouraged; however, costumes must comply with all requirements listed in HCPSS Policy 9210: Student Dress Code. Please see the Coach’s Handbook for more information. If a costume/prop/sign is not in compliance, it will not be permitted to the event.
May the name of any of the characters or book titles be on costumes?
No book titles, character names, or authors are allowed on costumes, signs, team members, or coaches.
I understand that costumes and any props must not have any mention of this year's books. Can they contain names of other famous books?
Instead of a book title used in this year’s event, consider making up book titles. Or, do not use book titles and use genres for titles (mystery, science fiction, fantasy, etc.) instead.
Are school names allowed on costumes?
Is there a need for costumes?
Do we have to get approval for a “logo” or t shirt design?
Can we put our pictures on the jam board?
Are the teams allowed to keep the book and author names with them?
No. They would not be allowed.
When do we find out which books to read?
The book list is posted to the HCLS web site: Book List
Where will I obtain the Battle books?
Each team is provided with a set of books, courtesy of the Battle sponsors. The books are distributed via curbside pickup at the Miller Branch on December 2, 3, or 4, and must be picked up at that time. A limited number of copies of the books are available to borrow at HCLS branches. Battle books are subject to the same borrowing period (three weeks) as other library materials. If possible, books will be available in audio format, although some Battle questions will address visual details in the books, such as illustrations and photographs. Remember, all questions will come from the specific editions given to the teams, see the Coach’s Handbook for ISBNs.
How are books chosen?
A committee of librarians from Howard County Library System and the Howard County Public School System discuss and determine the title list for each year. The target number of books per list is 10-14 titles. Reading levels of titles reflect on, above, and below grade level of participants. In its entirety, the list should represent a broad and diverse range of topics, writing styles, settings, genres, characters, authors, and classifications. Most books need to be available in paperback with no more than two titles in hardback. Books may not reappear on the list. Award winning books such as Caldecott, Newbery, and ALA Notables are all excellent sources for potential list candidates.
Procedures and Rules
The event is going to be about 2 hours with 4 rounds. is there any break in between the rounds?
We will have one intermission after round two.
Could our student’s families watch/listen in the background?
How do we know if parents of our team members did or did not sign the photo release?
You will be contacted if release forms are not received. But if you are not sure email the [email protected],
Is there a collection of practice questions that coaches can use in mock battles?
We do not have a collection of practice questions. It helps the students prepare by writing their own practice questions for their teammates.
How much time will be allowed for the answering of the 2 questions?
Will all the options for answers be the correct title and author? (i.e., no incorrect options will be provided - slightly wrong title or author name)
To clarify, the questions come from the content of the book. Will any questions from covers?
So, every team moves on to the next round? There is no elimination, correct? Would the teams be able to know how many questions they've answered correctly at the end of the competition?
Yes, that’s correct.
Will the answers be announced after each question?