March Madness is upon us. Folks on Twitter are complaining about how lousy their brackets are. It hit me that creating a poetry tournament could be a fun way to celebrate National Poetry Month in April.
I came up with the idea for four brackets: American classics, British/World classics, faculty favorites, and student favorites; however, you could create whatever brackets you want.
- Collect favorites from students and faculty (if you plan to use student and faculty brackets).
- English department discussion or teacher determination of quintessential classics of American and British/World brackets (or whatever brackets you have chosen). Alternatively, you could determine which poems should go in the classics brackets through research.
- Create your chart. I found downloadable 32- and 64-team blank charts in Excel at this website, but you could create your own if you wish. Google Docs also has several bracket templates you could alter for a poetry tournament. I plan to create a large chart to post outside my classroom using craft paper.
- Determine the poems for the first round based on submissions or other criteria.
- Pick your favorite way to match the poems up. You can have poetry slams and use an applause meter to determine the winner. You can post the poems and have people check their favorites, then score them. Students can advocate for a poem and determine how to try to convince their peers to vote for their poem. The possibilities are probably endless.
This is the kind of thing you can fill a bulletin board with if you like, but I have already decided to put the National Poetry Month poster from English Journal and all my students’ favorite poems on my bulletin board. Besides, I want to be able to share this project with people walking by the classroom.
Do you have any ideas to add? Please share in the comments.