3 Ways College Bowl Games Can Make Your Students Winners

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3 Ways College Bowl Games Can Make Your Students Winners

by Beth K. Johnson

Winter breaks are coming to an end and as the new semester begins, I look back fondly at how I spent my winter break: watching college bowl games (every single one, believe it or not). Being from the Midwest gives me an unhealthy love of football. And mixed with the craziness of touchdowns, interceptions, fumbles and penalties that those college bowl games brought, were three winning strategies for any classroom.

1-Team effort and collaboration 

Football teams require that everyone has a job and they do it to the best of their ability, allowing the team to win games. Teammates in college bowl games inspire each other to work hard together to find a way to put points on the board and encourage each other when they fail. Classrooms can mirror this true team effort and collaboration when every student is empowered to work together toward a common goal, and each student feels like a part of the learning process.

2-Performance-based rewards 

College bowl games give you a definite winner and loser. The performance of your team determines the outcome of the game. I did not hear a single coach at the end of college bowl games say “Well, the kids finished and I guess we did okay.” Instead I heard, “We performed great on defense” or “The other team just outperformed us.” Performance-based learning changes the game in the classroom. Performance tasks, project-based assessments and the like give your students the direction they need to move their knowledge of the playbook to understanding and execution on their academic field. It also changes the classroom to a more interactive environment where all students can perform at the best of their ability.

3-The come-from-behind attitude

There were multiple college bowl games where one team overcame a large deficit to ultimately capture victory. In these circumstances as the game unfolded, some coaches left the original plan behind. If it wasn’t working, they threw it out and tried something else. Classrooms and teachers have to change with students, especially if you are behind and not winning. Change the environment, change the instructional design, try something new. There may be times when your decision may look like a Hail Mary pass, but these are  the classrooms that win, even when the game seems hopeless.

So, when breaks end, embrace the next semester with a a renewed vision; remember those college bowl games, and make your students winners!

Beth K. Johnson is a former 8th grade teacher, who now coaches teachers to use technology in their classrooms for an Oklahoma school district. Follow Beth on Twitter: @bethiejq

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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