#SOL16: March Challenge Day 14- #OLW


So, Slicer Friends, we are excited that this IS going to be a repeat . . . but we are hoping for different outcomes this time! I am filled with JOY (#OLW) and so proud of my Iowa Teams!




If this sounds vaguely familiar, here’s how it looked last year during the March Challenge!

Our capital city, Des Moines, Iowa, is the site of first round NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional Games for the first time.  “Some of the biggest teams including Kansas, Kentucky, and UConn are headed to Iowa.”  Alas, no Iowa teams are playing in Iowa. (Only ISU is considered the home team, but neither UNI nor the Hawkeyes are there!)

Three teams from Iowa dancing.  March Madness.  ISU, #4 seed, is headed to Denver.  UNI, #11  seed is headed to Oklahoma City.  And the Hawkeyes, #7 seed are headed to Brooklyn!

Most recently both Iowa and ISU were out early in their conference championships but UNI went the distance.  What will be the NCAA results this year?  How far will each team go?  How far will your bracket go?


If you don’t have basketball brackets, what about book brackets?

litlearnact march madness

These brackets are courtesy of Dana and Sonja, AKA @litlearnact,  and you can read about them here.

Or what about these instructional strategy brackets from Dyan last year?

strategy bracket

You can learn more about Instructional Strategies Brackets here.

What work can you organize with brackets?

Where will you consider using brackets?

Process:  I watched the brackets tonight as well as a statistics professor on the news breaking down the odds of winning (1 in 76 billion chance of winning with a perfect bracket).  The idea was still swirling in my head during the Sunday night “hour long” local news.  Fresh new ideas this year: Des Moines to host Regionals and connecting both Book Brackets and Strategies Brackets.  I went to look for book brackets and immediately found Dana and Sonja’s bracket post from January and then the post from last March about Dyan’s strategies.  I decided to add “Joy” (my #OLW) and then I had my title and focus for the article.  Time to draft.  Revise, edit, preview, tag, grab the photos for the 3 Iowa schools, and “Voila”!  (2nd day in a row that I searched for my photos while still drafting in my head.  Depending on photo/visual selection – narrative could vary so why write until selected?) Post drafted during the last half of the news.  Eureka – post early (after 11 pm CDT)!


slice of life 2016

Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!

21 responses

  1. Congratulations on your teams! I love how you celebrated your teams and the joy of March Madness, and then transitioned into other uses for the brackets. March BOOK Madness was one of my absolute favorite things I did with my class last year!

  2. Love reading about your process in your posts this year, Fran. I’m not a huge basketball fan, but how can I not follow once UConn’s Huskies are in the hunt. Haven’t been able to convince anyone to do Book Brackets, and haven’t ever thought about instructional brackets. Thank you for giving me some ideas!

    1. Catherine,
      UConn has always been a team we have followed after 2 sibs lived in CT for YEARS!

      I’m having fun with the process! Continuing to check for patterns! ❤

  3. Fran, I returned here because of your wonderful thinking about your thinking paragraphs where you discuss your process. This piece was so wonderful – the different uses and meanings of the word brackets and photos/graphics, too. Hope an Iowa team goes all the way!

    1. Lynne,
      I’m not that optimistic about our teams – but one in the Sweet 16 would be wonderful! (prefer anything but “one and done”)

      Thanks, Lynne, for continuing to read! ❤

  4. When we start with our passions who knows what brilliant thinking and writing we might find. Reminds me of the Stephen King quote the writers “recognise ideas when they show up” !

    1. Too funny, Julieanne. I was thinking of that quote this morning as I woke to DARKNESS (thank you, Spring Forward) and FOG! Ideas are all around us . . . sometimes we have to slow down to see them!

  5. Basketball is a sport I cannot summon any interest for – but, March madness for books? Anytime!

    1. I love March Madness for Books! It’s a fun way to get ready for Spring!

  6. Book and Basketball brackets?!?! Have I died and gone to heaven??? We are using the March Book Madness Weebly in my classroom. Last week we enjoyed all the picture books in the first round. As a fellow Iowan, I’m very excited to see Our 3 teams in the tourney. I’m also excited to be living in the DSM area, and to see what excitement this will bring!

    1. Economic boom for DSM! Traffic at times will be such a pain! But what a fun pain!

  7. Brackets are also a great way to help students think about summarizing paragraphs. Start with all things that happened, narrow it down to just those that are important, pick out the two strongest, and finally what is the one essential that happened.

    1. Bob,
      Love that idea of using brackets to summarize. May try that with MS and HS. SUPER!

  8. I have always wanted to try the book bracket idea. I love the picture of the one you included. So clean and easy to follow.

    1. That’s from Dana and Sonja – so grade 5! So fun!

  9. Not a basketball fan, but I am a huge fan of March Book Madness. The students really enjoy rotting for a favorite book and naturally pick a favorite that they want to see to all the way.

    1. Julie,
      I think that’s a natural reaction for “book fans” and this is a great way to capitalize on that “book love”. Besides if your team doesn’t do as well as you would like, you still can read a book or two!

      Thanks for commenting!

  10. A timely post, Fran. One of my schools is setting up NCAA brackets, another book brackets. Might as well tap into the energy and buzz out there for March Madness. Good luck with YOUR brackets!

    1. So many ways “tap into the energy and buzz” – Yes! Thanks, Paula!

  11. March Bracket Madness! Love it! My students and I are all about the books competing. Good luck with your basketball bracket!

    1. No $ here! I am going to play with Bob’s “Summary Brackets” and see how I do with those! (For collegiate sports – football and wrestling are My REAL loves!)

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