Every March the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) hosts a March Madness Poetry Tournament. The idea is to create a basketball-tournament pairing chart like the NCAA does each year in March but using poetry, and to determine a final winner by reading the poems. Students can choose a “winner” in a number of ways: One option is that students select their favorite poems and then create the tournament brackets. Two students then read their poems in front of the class. The class votes, and the winning poems advance to the next round. The process continues until the final four and eventual winner are selected. Or the teacher can select 64 (or 32) poems and read them in pairs, one pair each day. The students select the one they like. This poem is then declared a winner and advances along the tournament bracket. The teacher and students can also select the poems together, and then a combination of the teacher and students read the poems. The website suggests other ideas as well. The tournament’s webpage provides a freely downloadable, blank bracket-pairing chart to start a competition today.

Kim Estes
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Kim Estes

Lead Learning Technologies Coach at Burleson ISD
Teacher, Techie, Mom of 6, Autism Advocate, Army Brat, Navy Wife, Starbucks Addict, Pinterest Fanatic, Google Certified Trainer
Kim Estes
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March Madness—With Poetry
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