Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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Engaging Your Class with Brackets

Overview

People love filling out brackets. Just look at March during college basketball season, especially since it's so difficult to fill out just one. Channeling that enjoyment into the classroom could make for a really engaging lesson. A tool that I recently heard about was Brackify. This website is simply a place for teachers to create brackets for class content, students to vote on them, and then determine the winner of that bracket. Never before has voting for something in class been so enjoyable, engaging, and interactive, which could spawn some persuasive discussions as students make their cases for their choices.

Getting Started

Once you arrive at the Brackify page, the first thing you will want to do is to sign up. The best part about Brackify is the price. It is absolutely free to use. After that point, you are able to create your own bracket, view the statistics of a recent bracket, or even fill one out that's already been created.

Creating a Bracket

Once you're ready to create your bracket, you are presented with several different options. The first thing to do is give your graph a title. Then, select how many spots you would like to have. The four options you're given are: 8, 16, 32, and 64 slots. Then, select your point calculation type: will it be a score based on the complete bracket or scored round by round? Then, assign it to a category, select a cover image, and give it a short description and you're just about finished. You can also assign a start and end date to your bracket so that entries are only able to be submitted during a certain time frame.

Adding Entries and Setting up Matchups

Depending on how many entries you've selected, you have the ability to completely customize each one. Once you label the entry, you are able to add a description, a link, and even an image. A really neat feature is the built-in Google Image search that you can use to gather your images. After all of our entries have been added, you're able to drag and drop the matchups according to how you'd like them.

Customizing the Look and Sharing Your Bracket

An additional aspect of Brackify that's really cool is the ability to completely customize the look of your bracket. When you click on the "Styles & Fonts" banner at the top, you are able to personalize the bracket in several ways, such as: Bracket font and color, background color, alignment, and even a round by round color differentiation. In order to share this with your students, you can simply share the link with them, or you even have the ability to embed this into a class website. Or, you can even post a link (with an image of your choice) on a school Facebook account or a classroom Twitter.

Participate in Another Bracket

Another cool thing about Brackify is the amount of brackets that you can participate in. If you have a strong opinion about the Greatest Cartoon Ever, the Best Movie Ever, or even the best Star Wars character ever, make sure to complete a bracket and see how your results compare with everyone else's! There are even some brackets that stream across the top of the website when you log in, making the invitation to complete them more enticing.

Brackify in the Classroom

Incorporating brackets into the classroom may seem like a tall task, but when we look at "how" this can be done, there are several different ways:

Science: Create brackets to determine which elements reigns supreme in your class, or even which scientist students felt made the biggest impact

Language Arts: Determine which novel read throughout the year was a favorite, or an in-depth study of which character was the favorite in a given story

Social Studies: Students could determine which country has the better flag or even stronger government, or they could select which leader they felt was the most effective in Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece

Math: Look in-depth at famous mathematicians and determine which one made the greatest contributions, or take a look at formulas covered throughout the year in class and see which ones were the easiest to understand or most challenging

Art: Offer several pieces of famous artwork to determine which is the class favorite, or analyze all of the projects completed throughout the year to determine which one was enjoyed the most

Music: Of course you could look at famous composers, but choosing a theme would be a fun way to gather data: favorite current pop song, determine the best song of all time according to your students, or the best song of the past decade.

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