Jen Hudson Current Affairs, Life in the Classroom, Web/Tech

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Yesterday used to be one of my favorite days of the year: Selection Sunday. 

For those unfamiliar with the madness that is March, Selection Sunday is the day where sixty-eight NCAA men’s basketball teams receive their place in the championship tournament. The tournament almost always coincided with Spring Break and filling out a bracket became somewhat of a point of pride. There is no NCAA tournament; it has been canceled along with most sporting events and large group gatherings. There is no bracket to fill out.

This year is not a normal year. Yesterday, Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman announced the statewide school closure in order to keep our communities safe. These are times unlike anything anyone has seen before. I tried to get the words down, but I don’t have them, not in a way that makes coherent and logical sense. Instead, I ask for some space for some levity.

I present: the 2020 Teacher Tournament Bracket Challenge. Instead of four geographic regions based on the location of games, we have true teacher-life regions. Instead of 68 teams and a full tournament, we’ve got the Sweet-Sixteen of being a classroom teacher.

Here’s the bracket. Call me Joe Lunardi- It’s time for some Bracketology; let’s go region by region and take a look at the matchups. Click the link to check out the Classroom Bracket Challenge

Tech Tools: 

As much as I’d love to say that Google Classroom has an easy matchup in the first round, I fear that TeachersPayTeachers may give the fully-integrated GoogleClassroom a run for its money. The showy fonts and well-advertised ‘cross-curricular connections’ that TPT offers may prove too much for the Drive-dependent Classroom.

Newcomer to the tournament, Flipgrid, has its work cut out for it to take down the perennial teacher-favorite Twitter. For this matchup, it’s all going to be about who shows up? If the teachers pose the right questions, Flipgrid has a chance to take it, especially if the Twitter Trolls make an appearance.

Open Tabs

Whether you’re a minimalist or a million-tabber, chances are there are at least four tabs open when you’re instructing. These matchups become a little dicey because Attendance and Mandated curriculum are just that, mandated. So these matchups are really teacher and day-dependent and any one of them could make it out of the region victorious. 

I feel like the mandated curricular programs don’t ever get the respect they deserve and always come into the competition as an underdog, but most times performs exactly as expected (except at the moment you need it to, of course). On the other hand, for all the benefits that e-mail brings to the teaching game, it spends too much time clogging up the lane and passing the ball around, but never really getting anything done.

Not Just a Buzzword

This region has the potential for meaningful change in the education landscape. However, too often, these words get tossed around like sloppy bounce passes, too easily stolen by the next misnomer. 

The winner from this region is going to be the one who shows up with the best game-plan and the strongest coaching staff, and I’d like to think that team is Equity. However, Virtual Learning is having its moment right now and may surprise us all. The idea of preparation is key here, all key players have to be on-board with the vision and buy into the team philosophy. Without buy-in, all will fail.

Classroom Supplies

Now this region takes into account a normal classroom environment, not the new ‘normal’ our state is experiencing. I feel like too often, New Dry Erase Markers miss the mark. Notice, the team is New Dry Erase Markers, the brand is noticeably absent. See it’s March, so obviously the name brand Dry Erase Markers have been sidelined with injuries from overuse. You’re left with an off-brand. They’ll do the trick in a pinch but will always collapse in the fourth quarter. 

“Good” Pens remain a tournament favorite, as their different color schemes and zone patterns speak to their sensibility and true performance abilities. Yes, sticky notes are multifaceted and offer a dose of novelty with their multi-sized starting lineup, but once the stick wears off, all you’re left with is some paper.

So, who was ‘on the bubble’ and didn’t make it in? Who’s your Cinderella story? So, who makes it into your Final Four?  Who is the ultimate Teacher Tournament Champion?


I always knew I was going to be a teacher; from assigning neighborhood kids homework during the summer to reading with a flashlight under the covers, school and learning have always been something I have loved. Phoenix born and raised, I attended Northern Arizona University and received my undergraduate degree in English Education. While at NAU, I received the Golden Axe Award and was lucky enough to be the President of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education. After college, I spent my time in the classroom teaching 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts. I wanted to push my instruction and my students’ learning, so I decided to pursue a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University, which was completed in 2010. This desire to do more for my students continued through 2013 when I was named Arizona English Teachers’ Association’s Teacher of Excellence and received my National Board Certification in English Language Arts/Early Adolescence. In 2017, I earned Master Teacher recognition. This will be my second year as a Mentor Teacher for first-year middle and high school teachers in my district and I am looking forward to continuing to learn and grow with my new teachers. On a personal level, I still love to read (though the flashlight has been replaced with a Kindle). Most of my time is spent with my husband, Chris, our toddler, Oliver, our newborn, Carter, and our pitbull-dachshund mix, Kipton. I love all things Sun Devil football and am known to binge-watch 90s and early 2000 sitcoms much too often.

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