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One of my most favorite days of the year! After two decades of teaching middle school students, trust me, I understand the craziness that can take place the day before break.
My go-to strategy over the past few years has been to hold a “Day Before Winter Break Connect Four Tournament.”
My classes usually comprise of 30 students each hour (49 minutes) and I assign students to a spot on the bracket. I let them know that all of the rounds up to the Final Four will be whoever wins the best 2 out of 3 games moves on to the next round. The Final Four and the Championship Rounds are just one game – winner advances due to the amount of time we have left in class.
Students who are eliminated can play for fun against others in class or they can watch other matches. I don’t allow observers of a game to offer help in anyway to the competitors in the game they are watching.
This has proven to work for me year after year, and my favorite things are that students are talking, they’re playing, they’re having fun, and I don’t have any classroom management issues on this day because of the structure.
I’ll usually have candy canes available for the Top 4 from each class as a little reward. Kids love it!!
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