Lesson of the Day: March Madness Meets Common Core Writing and Reading for Information Standards

It was my second year teaching. It was the third Thursday in March. I was watching basketball. My administrator, Ms. Killjoy, thought that the third Thursday in March was a good day to come observe my class. She pulled a pink slip out of her purse and handed it to me. At the same time, I pulled this March Madness lesson plan out of my rear and handed it to her.

Disaster averted.

Common Core Standards

  • RI 9-12.1Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RI 9-12.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
  • RI 9-12.9 Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance.
  • W.9-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Before we move on, check out these highlights from the greatest night of my life.

Preparation is the key to enjoying March Madness without getting fired.

Obviously, the best choice is to stay home Thursday and Friday, but if you have five kids (like me) and a wife who doesn’t understand the historical significance of March Madness  (see RI 9-12.9 above), staying home guarantees nothing.

  1. Print a statistical chart of the local team, or your favorite team. Normally I use my alma mater (UNLV), but they were an embarrassment this year, so I think I’ll go with my home state Buckeyes of The Ohio State University.
  2. Do a little cutting and pasting to make sure you get the right information. Make sure the legend is included. That’s the “technical meanings” part of RI 9-12.4. Make enough copies for the class.
  3. On the back of the chart, ask some questions that require the ability to read a chart.
  4. Here’s where the magic happens. Have students write an essay. That’s right an essay about basketball that fulfills Writing Common Core Standards! Here’s the prompt: Based on the information in the chart, write a four-paragraph essay discussing the team’s two most valuable players during the 2013-14 season.
  5. Turn on the game. The Buckeyes tip off at 9:15 a.m.
  6. Invite your administrator to come in and watch the games.

Here’s some reading for information questions to get things started.

I based these questions on the 2013-14 Ohio State basketball team. Feel free to substitute your inferior team’s statistics for this assignment. Yes, I’m talking to you Dayton and Syracuse and whoever else must face the wrath of Brutus Buckeye.

  1. Who led Ohio State in Points during the 2013-14 season? Rebounds? Assists? Blocks? Steals?
  2. How many points did Aaron Craft average? Shannon Scott? Sam Thompson?
  3. Who made the most 3=pointers during the 2013-14 season?
  4. Who had the most free throw attempts?
  5. What was La Quinton Ross’s 3-pt shooting percentage?
  6. What was Aaron Craft’s free throw percentage?
  7. If there were 1-second left in the game and Ohio State was trailing by one point, which player with over 25 games played would you want shooting free throws?
  8. How many turnovers does the team average per game?
  9. What percentage does the team make on 3-pt. attempts?
  10. If there were two seconds left and the Ohio State was trailing by two, which player who played at least 25 games would you want taking a game-winning shot?

Essay Question: Using statistics from the chart, write a 4-paragraph essay discussing the team’s two most valuable players. Use statistics from the chart as evidence. Make sure you have an introduction that captures the reader’s attention, contains a thesis statement, and outlines your major points. Make sure you have two body paragraphs. In your conclusion, announce your choice for player of the year.

Come back tomorrow for an essay rubric. You’re welcome.

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  1. Lesson of the Day: March Madness Meets Common Core Writing and Reading for Information Standards | ELA Common Core Lesson Plans
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