People love tournaments. They love making predictions, they love explaining their comparisons, and regardless of how successful they are, they love to follow along and react.
You’re thinking what I’m thinking, aren’t you… that tournament brackets are perfect for a language class. So I made one; it’s animated. Click here for all the thrills, including the final solution.
The bracket shown above is not the basketball tournament; it’s a tournament for who is my favorite singer. I could have chosen vocabulary words, but I chose celebrities instead.
There will be predictions; description, comparisons of inequality, maybe even narrations in the present past. Students will have to reconcile their own opinions with what they know of my opinions. There will be conjecture and hypotheticals, so they will have to use all kinds of future, conditional, and subjunctive tenses.
There will be reactions; expressions of victory and loss, disgust and incredulity at upsets and defeats. Also at stake: the wisdom/stupidity of whoever seeded the brackets. Subjunctive, subjunctive, subjunctive.
This motif can be repeated ad infinitum; favorite foods, favorite restaurants, favorite colors, who cares. We can use historical figures or members of the faculty and set them up as a death match… or just as easily, a niceness match; who wouldn’t want to win a niceness championship based on a Spanish class conversation topic?
Who would win the condiment tournament? Would Mayo finally face off against Miracle Whip? If there was a cute baby animal tournament, people would learn animal names in a snap.
You could even do numbers; which items, are more expensive on Amazon? Which cities in Western Washington have the highest murder rate? Who in this class has the most Twitter followers? Possibilities are endless.