Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Tournament of Words

I love words and learning new ones (The last new word I came across was spall.) and have been thinking of how I can bring this enthusiasm into my classroom. One of my ideas is the "Tournament of Words"
  • Each time a student encounters a new word in their reading they can submit it, with a definition and the sentence they encountered it in, to the monthly word pool.
  • At the end of every month I'd share all the entries with the class and set up a bracket.
  • Students then vote on every match up and decide which word ends up as the new word of the month.
  • At the end of the year all monthly winners compete for the title of new word of the year.
I'm hoping this gets students excited about encountering new words.

I thought of using polls, like a Google Form, for doing this, but at the school I'm at that would mean booking the laptop cart and a lot of work setting up each draw and then making new polls (in class) for every subsequent round. So, I've decided on using the old school method of hands-up voting, with a web-based bracket that can keep track of each round easily.

I did a bit of searching around and found betterbracketmaker.com. It makes filling in brackets very easy. You type in all the entries in the first round and the rest is just clicking. Like this:
The one down side of Better Bracket Maker is that it only does powers of two: from 8 to 128. If I had 23 new words one month I'd be out of luck. So, either my timing would change from being strictly monthly to as soon as 32 words are submitted or I would have to use another site. printyourbrackets.com has fillable PDF brackets from 3 to 64 entries and every number in between. I could do a 23 word draw with this site, but have to manually type each entry in each round. I don' think I mind that too much though.

Do you think students would be interested in this? How do you build enthusiasm for expanding vocabulary?

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