Dear Mr. Hoekstra,
My name is Brian McDermott, American History teacher and Dean of Upper School at Charleston Collegiate School, located on John's Island, SC (15 minutes outside the city of Charleston). I am contacting you to say "Thank You" for your assisting me in creating the structure of my class for this school year. Teach With Tournaments was discovered by me this past summer as I causally was researching Non-Traditional methods of teaching the necessary content for my American History class. After reading the background of your mode of thinking with The Tournament, I immediately purchased the PDF and got to work.
For my American History class, we are studying the 1960's (specifically 1968). The tournament that I have set up and are currently executing is based off the following question:
"What historical of 1968 best embodies courage"? After a lengthy discussion about the term courage, students selected individuals based upon a wide-ranging list of possible selections including:The Black Panther Party, Cesar Chavez, Apollo 8 crew, Nikki Giovanni, Walter Cronkite, "Chicago 10", etc. Next, students had to select a second individual/group and justify why they made their selection. The next step was for the Persuasive Essay to be submitted for both individuals. I am happy to report to you that the students are so serious about The Tournament, that they are designing a Life-Size Tournament Bracket, complete with imaging from the 1960's. Additionally, students are in the process of creating their individual Name Plate of their selected individuals. I am thrilled to report this information to you because of just how ingenious and creative your idea is. Moreover, expecting the students to present different arguments for each round remains THE overall point to this activity. Next Week, we will have our Tournament Selection Show, announcing each match-up.
As a former collegiate student-athlete and avid lifelong supporter of athletics (especially the NCAA Tournament), I easily relate to the expectations of The Tournament. Having students verbally articulate themselves with each round and with each new argument is something I am looking forward to. So far, so great with the collective "buy in" from my class. Certainly, I will keep you apprised to any new updates as well as any future questions I may have.
Continued Success to you!
Dean of Upper School