PBL Series: NCAA Basketball Tourney, Best Lessons Never Taught…. It’s Madness!


As you might know I am a big time fan of Project Based learning.  In this post I provide a mix of educational ideas pressing full court toward the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  Please enjoy and share this special story through a retweet or email.  I am sure you will understand my thoughts in regards to the 8 Essential Elements as defined by BIE (BUCK Institute) found in PBL.   Please let me share this special story and dream about educational transformation possibilities based on authenticity,  relevance, and student centered learning.  First, please take a moment to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and  join me on twitter at mjgormans .  Also, please explore my Booking Info.  I would enjoy being part of your district, organization, or conference PD.  You see… we really must learn to put into practice some of the best lessons never taught! Have an exciting tournament and a wonderful week! – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Best Lessons 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 and communication, as they learned from each other some interesting facts about each of the college teams. Geography was a main topic, as students discovered via 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 founded science of “Bracketology” thought!  Some students came to the teacher ready to present their reasoning for their selections showcasing some powerful  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 in my tribute to 21st century education. Please understand that every lesson may not be 100% PBL, but it can contain some of those import essential elements.  In the coming weeks you will discover posts devoted to 21st century education including such topics as Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, technology integration, web resources, and digital literacy.  I enjoy learning from all of you.  Also, remember to subscribe to this 21centuryedtech  Blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans.  I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets.  I hope you enjoy your journey of  best lessons never taught.  Have a great week! – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)


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4 responses to “PBL Series: NCAA Basketball Tourney, Best Lessons Never Taught…. It’s Madness!

  1. We do this at our school. We have a drawing and the kids decorate their Advisory doors with material from a rubric we designed that’s cross-curricular. One of the most fun things we do ever! Kids love it

  2. “Bracketology” is that really a word?

    I don’t think the problem was the bell ringing commencing actual “learning” it was simply interest based probably spurred on by one of the class leaders.

    Fun story though, thanks for sharing.

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