Do you love March Madness? Check out these fun ways to incorporate March Madness into your school counseling program.
Career March Madness
What careers are your students interested in? Have your students vote on the careers they find most interesting.
Coping Skills/Calming Skills March Madness
What coping skills help your students the most? Have them practice these skills to help self regulation and then vote on the one they find most helpful.
How it works:
1. Teach it
For my Career March Madness I used the fun facts sheets in my activity pack to share more about each of the top careers on the morning news.
I also made a Canvas webpage for students to learn more about the careers with these fun videos. I encouraged the teachers to let students self explore or spend time during their class meeting talking about them.
No one expects a young child to choose a career at an early age, but learning about occupation options helps inspire them to go after their dreams as they grow. By visiting career sites for kids children get overviews and requirements for various professions and learn what they will need to pursue their ideal job. Here are some of my favorite career resources:
What is a career? (Sesame Street video with Judge Sonia Sotomayor)
Wonderopolis (search job or career)
For my coping skills bracket I taught the skills throughout the year so this was a great review we could do in class. As we narrowed down our favorites, I practiced each skill on the news for a mindful moment and/or discussed why it was helpful (the why behind that what.)
You can also set up each skill as a station during a class and then let students practice before creating their own individual bracket to take home. Never done centers in class? Counselor Keri has some great ideas.
2. Share the bracket
I let my teachers pick what was best for their class. They could choose to do it as a class or allow students to vote individually.
I also gave them options to complete it on paper or through a Google Forms survey. They turned their brackets into me and those became the “vote” to decide which careers and coping skills advanced.
Each career or coping skill is paired, so as the bracket continues the vote is based on the previous round.
So for example, if banker had more votes than travel agent it continues to the next round. So when I sent out the next round of voting I deleted the travel agent option and left banker.
To make it easier you could create a Google Forms survey and make each pair a separate multiple choice question.
Here’s how it looks on paper:
I had my students vote on their Top 16 and then I paired them to create the bracket. You can pair them anyway you like. I like to partner careers with similarities- skills, attributes, education level etc. For example, travel agents and bankers both work with people and social skills are important. I also paired YouTuber and pro athlete because they are so popular among my students. You can also do this before hand (you pick the Top 16) and then skip straight to voting for the Elite 8.
These activities are designed to be different each year- with many options for pairings that change each year. I have no way of knowing what you partnered up, so the Google Forms in my Career packet is a survey that is simply a list of the careers. Here are some options for voting using Google Forms:
- Add more questions and each question asks the students to choose between the pair. I’d suggest this option! So for voting on the Elite 8 you’d have 8 questions of 2 pairs. Then when you send out the next survey vote for Final 4 you’d have 4 questions with each pair from the Elite 8 round. When you send out the vote for the Top 2 it would have 2 questions- using the example above question 1) youtuber or travel agent and 2) podcaster or artist.
2. Find your pairs on the long list and whichever has more votes wins.
3. Paper Brackets- these work best for individual classes and individual students. If a teacher used a paper bracket for a school wide vote, I would tell them which career or skill had advanced so they could vote inlign with those doing it online.
Share the results.
I like sharing winners on a bulletin board. This helps everyone know which careers are winning and gets everyone excited for the next round. For calming skills it’s also a fun way to showcase what skill they can practice.
My coping skills packet includes a bulletin board set and brackets that can be printed out and given to classes or individual students. Students would write or draw their winner from each round on the line.
Get your debate on!
I am OBSESSED with this idea from Cheryl Fleming@FlemingWNES5. Having students debate what career they think is the best is an incredible way to practice SO MANY SEL skills and promote cooperative learning.
I didn’t write a lesson plan for this exact idea- this was just how one amazing counselor used this set. If I were to write it into a lesson here is what I would do:
1) share with students the career choices and they could pick their favorite. You could use any of the Google Forms included to have students share with you what career they picked or they could just write it down.
2) Collaborate with your school librarian to have student research the career they picked (if you want). You could also have them spend a little bit of time on any career websites. Those are included but here are my favs: https://www.knoxschools.org/Page/17160
3) Have students individually or in groups write down their top reasons their career should win.
4) Set ground rules for the debate. I use Socratic Seminars a lot to set those limits. Here are some tips: https://www.edutopia.org/article/teaching-kids-argue-respectfully
5) Have students vote! They would do a classic eyes closed hand raise or use the included Google Forms.