NCAA Bracketology: Classroom Lessons Never Taught…. It’s Madness!

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Welcome to a midweek post with my mix of educational ideas with the NCAA Basketball Tournament. It is amazing the impact that the NCAA tournament has on students. In this reflection I would like to share a story and dream about educational transformation.  We must learn to put into practice some of the best lessons never taught!

An added note – I am currently  a co-professional development chair and I am now on the ballot for Vice-President of SIGOL, the special interest group for online learning, of ISTE. I want to take this moment to invite all ISTE members to join us at SIGOL as we explore all forms of online learning related to K-12 and post K-12 classroom activities that include web 2.0 integration, student collaboration, hybrid learning, global communities,  digital citizenship, and online learning standards. Please visit our SIGOL page and also take a moment to cast a ballot.

As always please  subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and give me a follow on twitter (mjgormans). Have a wonderful week and please enjoy the post… enjoy this lesson never taught – Mike

SIGOL Election and SIGOL Website

A Classroom Lesson Never Taught

It was twenty minutes before the first school bell would ring, signifying the beginning of another day of learning. Students were beginning to enter and fill the classroom.  There was air of extreme excitement as the teacher looked from nook to corner. It was a typical room filled with students, desks, chairs, and a few computers. This morning seemed to be different from the others. The teacher stood perplexed, in awe of an  amazing event that was beginning to unfold. Students were using computers and  printers to produce what appeared to be a complicated worksheet. Some kids were on the floor while others were seated at tables eagerly filling the paper out! Their eyes were filled with inquiry and enthusiasm as they completed the graphical sheet from top to bottom! It was definitely a worksheet experience like no other the teacher had ever witnessed! Upon closer inspection the teacher realized the students had searched for and found the new NCAA Basketball Brackets.

The teacher watched students engaged in a true spirit of collaboration, as they learned from each other some interesting facts about various college teams. Geography was a main topic, as students discovered using Google Maps, the location of various universities. The teacher could hear students compare and contrast strengths and weakness of the various competitors, while others children used mathematics to perform some comparative scoring.  There was a massive research symposium, as students looked on the internet to find out what the experts of the newly found science of “Bracketology” thought!  Some students came to the teacher ready to present their reasoning for their selections and amazingly showcased their persuasion skills. Any observer would have been amazed by the thought, creativity, and reflections that the students were able to share. It appeared that that the students were in control of this special learning experience. They had created their own lesson with an engagement based on their interest in the real world. It was much like watching a game of neighborhood baseball long before the advent of sanctioned  leagues and teams.

The twenty minutes were soon past as the bell  rang, and announced yet another day of learning. The Brackets Papers were put away, while the room came to a silent halt. Students left their collaborative groups and sat in their individual seats. They pulled out a worksheet, some only half filled out, assigned  from the day before. The teacher initiated a lecture entitled ” Making Predictions Using Compare and Contrast”. The students  appeared to listen as they took notes. After all this was an important standard to be repeated for a test. What a change the bell had made.  The March of Madness was over.  It was now a time to learn!

Thanks for joining me on another reflection of 21st Century Learning! Please take a moment and follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans), I will return the favor and we will learn from one another. You are also welcome to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with free and amazing resources.   Again take a moment to subscribe this blog by email or RSS. Read below to see some upcoming articles and if you liked this article there is a button below for a retweet! As you  follow the NCAA Basketball Tournament make sure the real winner is your facilitation of 21st century educational transformation! Put the kids in center court! – Mike

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Are There Really Whales In Lake Michigan?… A Seven Step Approach To Website Evaluation (A-G) – In this seven part series I will deliver what I believe to be a powerful and meaningful way to teach web site evaluation. It will include downloadable powerpoints, activity sheets, information sheets, posters, and PDF booklets.

* Pushing The Process In  Project Based Learning – In this multi-post, readers will discover one of the best places to learn about PBL, learn how to pump up the power of PBL with technology integration, and learn about some of the key highlights of PBL including project development, writing that driving question, and how sports and athletics are really related.

* A Message From An Almost Analog Native – Wait til you hear about my encounter with an almost analog native. This post is written in the style of my Letter From Santa and I Teach Because I Can’t Do Anything Else. Enjoy a message that  celebrates real teaching… no, it’s not just 21st century! You will want to share!

If you like this post please retweet (below), share with a friend, and subscribe by email or RSS – Thanks


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4 responses to “NCAA Bracketology: Classroom Lessons Never Taught…. It’s Madness!

  1. Kim

    Love this post! I do a March Madness unit every year, it is a perfect math lesson! The students fill out brackets, create spreadsheets to compare win-loss ratios, calculate win percentages, and read data tables of historical results. Students draw a team out of a hat and find out what city and state the university is in, the population, enrollment, and the mascot. The teams are mapped on a map in the hallway. Students check their brackets and calculate what percentage they predicted correctly. I change it up a little each year, but this year they started asking if we were doing it at the beginning of March! (Last year I had a life size poster of one of the players, but he’s moved on to the NBA).

    • Kim,
      Very cool and also relevant. I know your students are not only enjoying but are also engaged and learning. There are so many opportunities out there to allow our student to connect the skills we are teaching with the real world that they live in. Enjoy watching all of your students become winners as we all learn who will become the new championship team! Thanks for the comment and please continue to return! – Mike

  2. Hello Michael, I didn’t see your email so I guess the only way to contact you is via a comment.

    I wanted to know if you could add the site I have helped founded which is called which is a public online children’s book library which already has more than 30 books and 1-2 books are being added each month. There is no need to register or log-in. One of the nice things about our stories is that it teaches kids about socially relevant themes. We have lots of stories that teach about helping the environment, helping another country when faced with a natural disaster and so forth.

    Another thing to look at is our personalized books for teachers and kids to use which you can view here: Our first book is about Earth Day which is right around the corner. Kids will be able to illustrate and/or complete the book (depending on their level) on a book all about Earth Day with them being the star of the book. There is no cost for this as well.

    I thought since you have a education blog this would be up your alley to write about. Please let me know your thoughts.

    Andrew Gitt

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