Tuesday, 24 March 2015

March Madness in the English Language Arts Classroom

Do you have a March Madness bracket going at work?  We do, and with all of the upsets this year it is anyone's guess who the big winners will be.  I have always wanted to have a March Madness for books, but I have never been able to get enough people on board.  Next year I will make it happen!

That's why I loved the post from edutopia on March Madness Meets AP Lit.  The teacher, Brian Sztabnik, wants to create hype and excitement around reading.  In order to determine the best piece of writing that the class has read, he holds AP Lit March Madness.  Students make brackets, determine seeds, and begin the competition.  When your favourite book is on the block, you have to defend your choice and make your plea to the class.  Students vote between two texts at a time until a final winner is named.

(Image credit: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/march-madness-meets-ap-lit-brian-sztabnik)

The article ends with some suggestions for other content area teachers who want to use the March Madness idea in their own classrooms.  Social Studies teachers might choose the most ruthless dictator or the best leader.   Math students might look at the statistics for the teams in the NCAA and choose winners based on those.  Biology teachers might look at traits of mammals and choose the true "king of the jungle."  ELA teachers might choose to talk about the best protagonist or antagonist instead of looking at an entire novel.

Why not harness the excitement surrounding March Madness and use it in your class?

Food for thought... how might you use the idea of voting in brackets in your classroom?  Do you have any other suggestions for a classroom March Madness competition?

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