Violence, unfortunately, is nothing new in the world, and especially in America. One thing I think may be changing is our view on violence. The nation mourned as we bare witness to the school shooting at Columbine. We were confused and unsure of the how and why after the Virginia Tech shooting. Then Sandy Hook Elementary happened, and while some vowed Never Again, others said now is not the time to discuss guns. Each time we heard it is a time for thoughts and prayers. Unfortunately, thoughts and prayers didn't bring about the end to school Violence. So we find ourselves in what is becoming a familiar place, the aftermath of another act of senseless violence against children. This time, however, the children are demanding change. They are spearheading a movement to not only bring attention to the issue, but to demand action. They are doing what the adults have neglected to do for too long and that is take a stand, and take action to make their demands a reality.
This group of courageous young people are using their first amendment rights to shine a light on the failings of our elected leaders, and other adults in our society to protect them. They are attacking the inaction, the apathy these adults have shown to making sure our children, our young people can attend school and be safe. They are using their voice to call out those who have failed them and all children in this country.
If you have been following this movement, you see the courage of these young people, but you also see the dark side of any push back against the status quo. You have some of the adults in the room, especially elected officials whose job it is to represent and protect all citizens of this country acting like infants. I don't use the world child because the children in this movement are through their actions, and words representing our nation in such a positive manner that I don't want to tarnish them. The adults are acting like infants as they attack these young people. They attack them for the way they look, dress, or for being an immigrant. They attack the movement as being anti-second amendment, when the conversation is so much more than guns. They show how out of touch they are by telling students to stop protesting and learn CPR. They provide classrooms with buckets of rocks. They want to arm teachers, as the idea of more guns in schools is the answer. It is not!
The young people and all those who have joined the movement across the country are helping move the dialogue from thoughts and prayers to a discussion of action. It is still early, but it is my hope that the outrage by our children, will force the adults in Washington and the rest of America to sit down and really discuss the issue and come up with a viable plan to protect our students. We must encourage our students to stand up for what they believe in to fight injustice and make this world better for all of us. While we give them the tools to find their voice, we must join their cause and make sure school shootings never happen again!
This week I attended the WCSS, Wisconsin Council for Social Studies in Madison. It was a great conference filled with young and veteran educators exchanging ideas and connecting. I was fortunate to get to hang out with amazing educators, including Chuck Taft and Michael Matera. These two are incredibly talented, creative and most of all passionate about education and kids. Each time I get to connect with them I am filled with energy and inspiration.
I was also fortunate to hang out with Erin Patchak who is an incredible middle school teacher and an Ambassador for National History Day. Between sessions she and I were talking and she shared that she was working on a Presidential March Madness project for her students. I shared that I had done a similar project a few years ago. As we were talking through the activity, she mentioned that she was struggling to find a bracket that you could enter the names in and edit it beyond the first round. So many allow you to enter the information in for your first round teams and then you have to print the bracket and record the subsequent rounds by hand. I started to search for an alternative and found an example made in Excel. It didn't do what I wanted, but it provided the inspiration to create my own version.
I worked Sunday and Monday during the conference when I had some free time to fine tune the bracket so that teachers would have a template that would meet multiple needs. I created a sheet that can be used for multiple bracket configurations. You can do an 8, 16, 32, 44, and 64 team bracket. To use you go to the Team Names tab and enter the names of the teams in column B. These names will then populate each of the various brackets. If you want to use the 32 team bracket, you need to enter 32 team names. You can delete the names in column B for 33 to 64. The same is true for each of the other brackets. Only enter the number of teams, people, topics that you want to use.
If you want to use images instead, you can add the url of the image in column C on the Team Names page. This will put images into the brackets just like the names. I put examples of numbers and images to show that you can use numbers to outline the seeds for your tourney, or you could even use the team logo instead of team names as you move through the bracket.
When you click on the brackets there are additional directions to help you set up the brackets.
I am including the link to the Team Bracket Tourney. Please let me know if you use it and what you think. I appreciate your feedback and how you used it with students.