Battling, Over Books

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As time ticks closer to March 10th the school's Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB) team delves deeper into the world of books. The anxiety rises, pages fly, pens scribble down notes: the team is going race pace. The newcomers stress as they try to learn minuscule details from their chosen books, while veterans start feeling the rush of excitement over the much awaited book trivia challenge.

OBOB is a statewide reading program. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 2:15 Amy Mitchell, coach  of the OBOB team and science teacher, and her class delve into their reading to discuss the 12 assigned books.

In the beginning of the year the class is dedicated to providing time to read the books. Students create their own notes, debates, and flashcards to help retain details. Because OBOB is a team effort, some students choose to specialize in a few books, while others aim for comprehensive knowledge. Students are provided ample time to read the 12 books by the time tournament begins in February: when battles begin and their knowledge is put to the test.

All “battles” are between two teams. The team captains come up to the moderator and choose which team does the odd questions and which do the  even. After the spokesperson is introduced to the moderators the battles begin. Each battle consists of 16 questions with teams going back and forth until all questions are answered.

There are two types of questions. The first type of questions are “in which book” type of questions where the contestant answers with both title and  author of the book. The second type of questions are called “content questions” which is are about people, places, things or events from a specific book. The battles are run jeopardy style with 15 seconds to answer each question. If a team fails to answer the opposing team has a chance to steal.  

Jenna Conant an RPA senior, took some time to provide a personal insight about the class.

Arely: Is this your first time competing in OBOB and what made you choose to compete?

Jenna: Yes this is my first time, and I wanted to go into OBOB to find others who like to read and to make new friends.

Arely: What are you most looking forward to?

Jenna: I’m most looking forward to actually doing a battle and seeing how well we do.

Arely: If you would be able to change something what would that be?

Jenna: It would be how many people are in the class, there’s not enough to practice competitions with, and i feel like doing those mock battles would be really helpful.

Arely: Is there anything else related to OBOB that you would love to share?

Jenna: It’s just a super fun class and even though it’s a “competition” the whole motto is to have fun and enjoy it.

Next, Mitchell speaks on coaching OBOB and her difficulties in being the current coach.

Arely: Why did you decide to coach OBOB?

Mitchell: Well they had one in the middle school and people who did it in the middle school come to the high school and wanted to do it and there wasn't one. So they asked all the other teachers, like the  language arts teachers, but no one wanted to and i think they got to the bottom of the barrel because they finally asked me and i thought it would be so much fun even though i'm a science teacher.

Arely: I understand that there was a OBOB Middle school coach before you, Did you ever ask her for help?

Mitchell: Oh yes, all the time. I would always need to be babied asking to be helped to register and needing tips for this and that, but slowly i started to get things figured out.

Arely: What are some expectations that you have for this competition?

Mitchell: Well we got very close to regionals last time so i'm optimistic we will get pretty far.

Arely: What are some things you always say to your students?

Mitchell: Always have fun, and if for some reason you don't connect with a book, it's ok and just move on to a different one that you do connect with.

Arely Aguilar