End of the Year History Activity - Tournament of Champions!

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  1. If you’re looking for ways to keep your students engaged as the year comes to a close I’ve put together a bundle of resources for you! These are tried and true activities that get even the most reluctant learners to participate. You can have friendly class competitions with the presidential eyes,
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  2. As a middle school teacher, it can definitely be a challenge to keep middle schoolers engaged and on-task as the year comes to a close. I came up with this tournament bracket hoping that a little fun-spirited competition would help during the last week of school, and I was so glad that it did! Thi
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As a middle school teacher, it can definitely be a challenge to keep middle schoolers engaged and on-task as the year comes to a close. I came up with this American history end of the year activity by creating a tournament bracket hoping that a little fun-spirited competition would help during the last week of school, and I was so glad that it did! This was three days of students on-task and will always be my go-to activity during the last week of school!

It was so powerful going from me telling kids what was important to hearing them tell me what they felt was important.

Check Out My World History Tournament of Champions:


Please note - I have made this fully editable for you with instructions, but you will need MS PowerPoint to open/edit the Tournament Bracket and MS Publisher to add/change possible contenders

In my U.S. History course we cover European Exploration through Reconstruction after the Civil War. I chose 100 people/events/inventions from that time period that we learned about and allowed students to work in pairs to select a topic they felt had the greatest overall impact on our nation’s history during the time period we studied. I created a NCAA March Madness style tournament bracket, which if fully-editable, so students could then prepare a persuasive speech on why the class should vote for their topic. On day one, after the Sweet 16 round, I had the class vote on each topic and then I tallied the scores. The winners were announced and the Elite 8 bracket was established. On day two, the time for each speech is lessened which allowed us to get through the Elite 8, Final Four, and Championship rounds.

This was SO much fun for us so I hope you and your students enjoy it as well!

Table of contents:

1 page: 100 Possible Choices (.pdf)

1 page: Tournament Bracket Categories (PowerPoint)

1 page: Editable Tournament Bracket (PowerPoint)

1 page: How to Create a Bracket Instructions (.pdf)

6 pages: Instructions/Writing Pages (.pdf)

100 pages: Images/Name of People/Events/Inventions (.pdf)

The topics included in this resource are as follows:

Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Artisans, Battle of the Alamo, Benedict Arnold, Benjamin Banneker, Benjamin Franklin, Bill of Rights, Bleeding Kansas, Brigham Young, Caning of Charles Sumner, Cato (Stono Rebellion), Christopher Columbus, Civil War, Confederate States of America, Continental Congress, Crispus Attucks, Daniel Boone, Daniel Shay (Shay’s Rebellion), Davey Crockett, Declaration of Independence, Donner Party, Dred Scott, Eli Whitney (Cotton Gin), Elizabeth Freeman, Emancipation Proclamation, Erie Canal, Fort Sumter, Frederick Douglass, French & Indian War, Fugitive Slave Act, George Washington, Gettysburg Address, Harriet Tubman, Henry Clay, Ida B. Wells, Indian Removal Act, Industrial Revolution, Interchangeable Parts, James K. Polk, James Madison, James Monroe, Jefferson Davis, John Adams, John Brown, John C. Calhoun, John Locke, John Paul Jones, John Peter Zenger, John Quincy Adams, John Smith, John Wilkes Booth, King Cotton, King George III, Ku Klux Klan, Lewis & Clark, Lincoln Assassination, Louisiana Purchase, Lowell Mills Girls, Loyalists, Manifest Destiny, Martin van Buren, Massachusetts 54th, Mexican Cession, Minutemen, Missouri Compromise, Molly Pitcher, Nancy Hart, Nat Turner, Native Americans, Patrick Henry, Patriots, Paul Revere, Pilgrims, Pioneers, Pocahontas, Puritans, Quakers, Reconstruction, Revolutionary War, Robert E. Lee, Sacagawea, Sam Houston, Samuel Adams, Samuel F.B. Morse, Samuel Slater, Slaves, Sojourner Truth, Sons of Liberty, Stephen Austin, Surrender at Appomattox, Tecumseh, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Three-Fifths Compromise, Transcontinental Railroad, U.S. Constitution, Ulysses S. Grant, Whiskey Rebellion

For a GREAT classroom management tool check out my BEST-SELLER!

Student Conferencing "Deli-Style"

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