It’s March Madness time everywhere-from the weather to the hoops. While I’m not the biggest sports fan, I still want to get in on the bracket fun because it’s a great way to engage students in reviewing vocabulary!
INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO PLAY:
Use the printable Bracket Template to provide students three blank bracket sheets. They will use one for nouns, one for verbs, and one for adjectives. Have them fill in the far left eight spaces with vocabulary words that are that specific part of speech.
Note: The words they fill in can be on the current vocabulary list or a mix of old and new words—whatever words you want them to review. Please remind them that each bracket can only have words that are THAT specific part of speech, and, if they are working with one specific vocabulary unit, they may need to use some older words so that they are able to complete their charts.
In the first column, have students write one sentence using both of the words in each initial faceoff.
For example: If the first bracket has “admonish” against “commandeer,” students should write a sentence using both words, which somehow highlights why one of the words is “greater” than the other.
Although admonished, he commandeered the lead anyway and sailed on to victory! (since the use of commandeered is “greater,” it wins the first round).
Note: Why one word defeats another is arbitrary and up to the students; as long as students are using the vocabulary words correctly in sentences, they can determine the winner for any reason. The subjects of the sentences can be anything. Students can even write about basketball teams if that makes the vocabulary bracket more engaging to complete. The goal is to help students with their vocabulary building skills. The ways by which each student contrasts the words should not matter, as long as their context is correct!
Once students have written sentences for the initial duels, they should then write sentences using the winners of each bracket. Again, for each pairing, each sentence should use both words and highlight one word dominating the other.
When students complete their brackets and have a final “vocabulary winner” in the noun, verb, and adjective categories, have them turn in their sheets. Once you have collected all students’ brackets,determine which word in each part of speech was found to be the “winner” most frequently, and give all students who picked that word a prize, or put their names on a big basketball in recognition, etc.
Note: You decide how to reward students! I recommend hanging all the brackets up for students to compare and perhaps even have multiple winners in categories such as: most creative use of words, best illustrated bracket, best use of short sentences, best use of puns in sentences, etc.
With this game students use vocabulary creatively to win this Bracket Battle Game!
I’ve read about March Madness brackets being used for poetry and short story analysis, so the options for English teachers are limitless-ultimately, it’s all about engaging students in reading, writing and interpretation!
Hopefully this will be another fun vocabulary lesson plan at your disposal each time March Madness comes around.
Download the Bracket Battles Vocabulary Game now.
Writing Standard 1. Write arguments to support claims, using valid reasoning and evidence.
Writing Standard 10.Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Language Standard 3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
Language Standard 4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown words
Language Standard 5. Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meaning.
Language Standard 6. Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge