Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Madness

Hello, friends. I'm Monica from NC Teacher Chick. It's the first day of March! You know what that means... basketball, of course! I'm a huge basketball fan. To me, March = March Madness! I'm from North Carolina and my favorite team is NC State - the Wolfpack. If you love basketball as much as I do, then you see March as an opportunity to teach your standards through basketball. In today's post, I'm going to give you some ideas on how to incorporate basketball within your lessons. Even if you don't love basketball like I do, I can guarantee that many of your students do.

1. Research -  It's important to teach students how to find and use information. March Madness presents a wonderful opportunity to do this. Your students can research their favorite players, coaches, and teams. They can research and learn about the history of basketball. There are great sites for students to do independent research. KidRex, Fact Monster, and National Geographic for Kids. You can grab my also grab my Basketball Research Template for only $1 in my store.

2. Statistics & Graphing - Sports is the perfect way to teach statistics! You can make this as simple or as complicated as you want to. Students can keep track of a team's scores for each game during a month. They can choose a favorite player and track their stats - points scored, assists made, number of rebounds, etc. Not only can students record this data, but they can also graph it. Kids' Zone has a free graphing tool. I always keep up with the top teams during March Madness. I keep a bracket on the wall outside my door so that students can see what teams are playing. When it gets down to the sweet sixteen, I will post team signs and ask students to tally their favorites. You can choose two teams that are playing and ask students to put a tally, smiley face, etc. under the team they want to win. You can grab a simple chart for free by clicking here. If you want to take the data further, the students can always graph it. It's fun for the kids, and they rarely realize they are doing math! 

3. More Math -
Sports and math go hand in hand. Math is used to keep track of points made, goals scored, etc. I made a practice packet for my fourth grade students. In this packet, they are asked to solve math problems, but all sheets have a basketball theme. For example, they must sort prime and composite numbers by gluing them under the correct basket. This March Madness Math Skills Review Packet is also available in my store for only $1. 

4. Everything Else - You can make any topic that you teach into a basketball game. Here are just a few of my ideas:

  • Split your classes into two teams and make a sign for each team. They can name their team after a real sports team or make up a name. Post them in the classroom. When students answer a question correctly, they can put a point on their team's sign. 
  • Do you have a small ball? Throw the ball to students when you are asking them questions. When they catch the ball, they must answer your question.
  • Make student teams. (My students sit in groups, so this makes it easy to do this). Give each team points for behaviors and/or actions that you want to see. Give them 2 points each for completed homework assignments, good behavior in the cafeteria, etc. At the end of the week, the table with the most points can receive a small reward. You can use cute incentive charts to track this, or you can simply give them a sheet of paper to record their points.
  • Take time-outs! Research proves that students need to get up and move! Take "Time-Outs" between lessons by doing some fun activities. My go-to site is Go Noodle. They have lots of fun, free activities to get students moving. Students choose an avatar and their character will transform each time they complete ten activities. 
  • Go to Education World for some additional ideas for teaching with March Madness. This site has fun ideas and lesson plans.

I hope I've given you some good ideas for embracing March Madness in your classroom. I would love to hear some things that work in your classroom! Please leave your comments below.


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