I have found a way to have 10 seconds of quiet. Actual – you can hear a pin drop – quiet, in my first grade classroom. I created a March Madness Bracket for my class but instead of teams, it is filled with all the favorite books we have read aloud this year. I put all the book covers on a bracket with a backround that looks like a basketball court. I have it on a google slide and present it to everyone on our class tv. The students have taken this Madness quite seriously. They put up their privacy folders before the daily ballot with all the match ups is handed out. They fold the ballot several times before placing it in the box to ensure secrecy. There is definitely no way to peek at the results early.
I tally the votes after they leave and adjust the books on the google slide by advancing the winners. I then create a new ballot for the next day’s “games.” The kids are totally invested in the Madness. They talk about it as soon as they come into the classroom in the morning. They make predictions and compare their reasons. The conversations are thoughtful and the students use the vocabulary from our persuasive writing unit to convince one another to join in their opinion. It has been an interesting activity. What I planned as a class builder has actually turned into a great review of our opinion writing strategies.
But back to the quiet… once everyone has arrived and settled in, I announce that the results are ready to be posted. I go to the computer and open up the file, I hesitate, to build some suspense. When I look out at my kids, the are mesmerized. All eyes looking directly at the tv. Some of them are holding their breathe. And for those 10 seconds, it is absolutely quiet. And then the slide appears…
And that’s why they call it March MADNESS!