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Literary learning takes center court in this March Madness tourney

students with their hands raised in the air standing and sitting near tournament bracket board

Students in Amy Bartholomew’s 6th grade English Language Arts classes at Harry Hoag School held their own March Madness tournament during the last two weeks of March . . . but it wasn’t basketball teams competing this time!

In their Poem vs. Song March Madness tournament, eight poems and eight songs faced off in head-to-head competitions each day until there was one champion remaining. Students would listen to the performances as they analyzed the lyrics for tone, mood, theme and figurative language.

There were some clear favorites from the beginning such as “Can We Autocorrect Humanity,” by Prince EA, “The Rose That Grew From Concrete,” by Tupac Shakur, and “This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman. But none were able to beat out the actual champion of the tournament, the poem, “Explaining My Depression to My Mother,” by Sabrina Benaim.

Sixth grade student Khloe Hisert said, “I liked that we got to learn a lot more about figurative language and listen to fun music.”

Sixth grader Lainie McDuffee shared, “I liked that we got to listen to my favorite songs and try out some new poems. I have never really been into poetry, but I thought that the poems were pretty cool.”

Finally, Connor Lochner shared his favorite part of the March Madness Tourney: “I liked how when we were done, we got to shoot in the mini basketball hoop, and I liked that I got to learn more about what an idiom and a personification was.”

-Article and images by Amy Bartholomew

students with their hands raised in the air

students with their hands raised in the air

students with their hands raised in the air and seated student

group of students standing around tournament bracket board