Sugar Creek Consolidated Middle School (West Terre Haute, IN) teacher Rebecca Boehler prepared a series of lessons around March Madness. Displaying the brackets on a hallway bulletin board, Rebecca identified texts to “compete” for which demonstrates the assigned trait best.

For each “round” of the trait tournament, Rebecca reads aloud both texts within the same class period. Students will then identify which of the two texts best demonstrates the trait more effectively. Students will vote, and the winning text advances to the Elite 8 and then the Final 4.

Once the championship texts are identified, students will pick one of the two texts and write an explanatory piece as to why that book should be the winner of the Traits Madness Tournament. Within their arguments, students must cite textual evidence supporting their claims on how the traits were used most effectively. The book that receives the most votes will be declared the overall trait winner.

Not only is this a brilliant way to assess students’ understanding of the 6 Traits, but this kind of careful scrutiny and multiple readings of a text is tapping into the skills required for close reading. Rebecca is challenging students to analyze author craft and structure (CCSS Reading Standards 4-6). OUTSTANDING!

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