The Excitement of March Madness in History Class
By Josh Hoekstra, HS History Teacher Extraordinaire and creator of "Teach with Tournaments"
Everyone loves March Madness!
This time of year is always exciting. You hear people talking about it at the grocery store, gas station, at work, and beyond:
- “How are your brackets?”
- “How about that upset?”
- “Sweet sixteen.”
- “Final Four."
Yes, it is NCAA Basketball National Tournament time - March Madness.
Even those who haven't watched a college basketball game all year!
This time of year allows even the smallest basketball enthusiast to participate in picking teams they believe will win and lose. We watch as teams move forward in this college basketball tournament to finally determine the national champion.
I have had the great fortune of teaching U.S. History to high school students in Minnesota for the past 14 years. During this time, one thing has become crystal clear; the more interesting, high-quality and in-depth information I bring to the students, the more they learn and the more they enjoy learning.
Just like the excitement that comes with March Madness - I wanted to capture that enthusiasm about US history.
This led me to develop "Teach with Tournaments"
Teach with Tournaments involves the simple process of taking people or events that you want your students to study and placing them on a tournament bracket board (similar to the NCAA March Madness Tournament).
For example, it becomes an opportunity for your students to decide, for themselves, who was the Most Courageous American in history, or what was the Most Important Scientific Discovery ever, or who was the Most Influential Founding Father in American history – just to name a few.
The educational opportunities are endless!
Teach With Tournaments can enliven the learning process for your children. Children you think have very little interest in learning suddenly become participants in their own education. In fact, students whom I rarely heard from prior to this lesson became some of the most active and engaged participants.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, students communicated with each other and demonstrated a deep passion for material that has real value. Seeing students research, debate, vote and celebrate victory or mourn defeat is something that I will always cherish. When students are engaged, their body language and the look in their eyes says it all. They sit up straighter, ask questions and actually linger after class to ask more questions. For a teacher, there is nothing like it.
This is an exciting time of year in my classroom but you do not need to wait for March Madness time to create this excitement in your home or classroom. As parents and fellow educators we can take this principle and use the ideas of Teach With Tournaments to inject life and joy into the learning process.
Allow your children the opportunity to debate and research things that excite them. It is ok to have a little competition in the learning process. It helps to give children personal accountability and you will be surprised at the amazing learning that occurs.
Josh Hoekstra appears by permission. He is a teacher of High School History who lives and works in Minnesota, and the creator of "Teaching with Tournaments."
Josh has his Masters Degree in Education (Social Studies) from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. He was a standout hockey player in his youth, playing three years on the Varsity team at Edina HS (MN) and serving as Team Captain his senior year. He played Division 1 college hockey at Colorado College
Judd is also a Bridgedale uncle, as his nephew Cole is presently an 8th grader at Bridgedale Academy.
"Bridgedale Academy is honored to have Josh Hoekstra as a contributing writer on our blog page. At Bridgedale we are committed to the development of our young student-athletes, helping them to develop their physical and mental skills so they can perform at their best when it matters most, no matter the arena of life that challenges them. If you would like to learn more about Bridgedale Academy, please click the button below so we can schedule a time to chat."
Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy
To learn more about "Teach with Tournaments," click the image to the right or one of the links provided below:
"At Bridgedale we are committed to the development of our young student-athletes, helping them to develop their physical and mental skills so they can perform at their best when it matters most, no matter the arena of life that challenges them. If you would like to learn more about Bridgedale Academy, please click the button below so we can schedule a time to chat."
Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy
To learn more about Bridgedale Academy, please click the button below so we can schedule a time to chat.