How to Use Sports in the Classroom

This morning, after meditating, I scrolled upon an amazing Instagram video of Lebron James dunking the basketball in last night's game. What struck me, however, was how only a few seconds before the dunk, he was crawling on the floor. There is so much symbolism in that. I have to use it with my students. My lesson will go as follows:

1. Analyze and paraphrase the following quotes: 

"Fall down 7 times, stand up 8." Japanese Proverb 

"Falling down is a part of life. Getting back up is living." 

"What defines us is how well we rise after falling." 

2. First, show the Labron James clip (credit @Complex). Then, show the same clip, with James crawling on the ground in slow motion. Do not explain the emphasis on the fall. This is for the students to grapple with. 

Step 3 could go many ways but I'm going to give you 1 of 2 prompts that I would use:

Prompt 1: After analyzing the quotes and the video clip, develop at least 2 critical questions to contribute to our Socratic Seminar. Be ready to provide context for your questions, rendered with text-world connections. 


A Socratic Seminar is a fancy name for an intellectual group discussion - if you google it, you'll find the steps to facilitating a Socratic Seminar with your class. 

If your students have not had practice with developing deep questions, you may want to model this with the first. However, having them grapple with making the questions, instead of modeling first, is much more rigorous. Yes, it will be a challenge. That's the point. Don't jump to help them. Give them at least 5-10 minutes to try. (They will get frustrated. Talk about those big feelings during the debrief at the end of the lesson.) Then, chart their questions on the board and as a group, develop the questions that might not be deep enough. Finally, use the questions to engage in discussion. 

Prompt 2: Provide students with critical questions. Allow them to choose 1 to write a response. After writing, students may share their responses out loud.  Have students sit in a circle to create equity in sharing. 

Examples of questions:

Describe the shared theme between one of the quotes and the video clip. Use specific evidence to support your response. 

Identify the impact that one of the quotes and the video has on your personal views about success and failure in life. Use specific evidence to support your response.

Use these steps your own way and leave comments or email me to let me know how it goes in your classroom!