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Sunday, March 26, 2006

MARCH MATHNESS, BAY-BEE!!

Well, my beloved Blue Devils may be out of the tournament, and my bracket is busted -- big-time -- but in my class, the tourney is just starting. Over Spring Break, I drew up brackets of my own on a big piece of white poster board. Last week, I had my students draw numbers to decide which slot their names would go on in the opening round of our little classroom tournament.
When I first asked the kids if any of them ever watched college basketball or had heard of March Madness, most of them looked at me as blankly as they do when I ask who knows what a line of symmetry is. But when I held up the brackets and announced that we would be having "March Mathness," there were a lot of gasps of excitement. When I called the first child up, and he selected his number, there was a general, "OOOOOH!!" from the rest of the class (Even though his opponent had not yet been decided, mind you). The rest of the slots were gradually filled in, and we had our first-round matchups set. Excitement was in the air! I felt a little bit like Dickey V. (except that I'm not bald, blind in one eye, or certifiably insane).
Friday's test scores got us down to the Sweet Sixteen. Winners were based on test scores, with ties being broken by a short round of multiplication and division questions. Now the challenge will be to keep those kids that did not win their matchups interested. In years past, this has not been a problem, as I've implemented a "Second Chance Contest." Anyone whose name is not still on the brackets is playing for a different reward. This keeps them motivated and still trying their best (ideally at least).
Anyone else out there celebrating this fine time of year? Please share!
PS There is nobody in my class named Cinderella...

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