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October 2009

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Subject:
From:
Michael Blanpied <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Michael Blanpied <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Fri, 23 Oct 2009 01:54:54 -0400
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Tom,

As you've heard from others, most consider it a tractable job to 
coach an FLL team only if there are at least two adults engaged. 
Unless the team is tiny (perhaps five or fewer), they will need you 
in too many ways at the same time, for management, programming, 
brainstorming, research work, etc.

Please don't be shy about reaching out to the parents. You are doing 
them a HUGE favor by coaching their kids. Some of them may be tied 
up, but others may be happily just dropping off their kids then doing 
chores or kicking back. Get the word out that you need some help 
during meetings, and get at least one or two to stay to work. 
Depending on their skills you can put them to work in whatever way 
makes sense.

As you get close to tournament, also get the parents involved. It 
will be helpful to have them signed up to stay and help at the last 
few meetings (or extra meetings) as the kids work on their research 
presentation. Perhaps a parent can work with the kids on script, or 
props, or run-throughs, or whatever. Also have a parent or two work 
with you on gathering materials to take to tournament (including 
making the team information sheets that the kids will hand to 
judges), and have a designated parent helper to keep track of the 
kids and the schedule during the tournament, to make sure that the 
team gets where it needs to go, with the right equipment, at the 
right time, and can also obtain and dispense snacks and lunch. That 
will allow you to work with the team on last-minute robot issues or 
whatever the case may be. Depending on the local tournament rules, 
you may also be able to engage a parent as a videographer, to 
accompany the team to (unobtrusively) film the research presentation, 
the robot competitions, and whatever else. A DVD of tournament 
highlights makes a nice take-away gift at the wrap party.

Cheers,
Mike


>Hi everyone, just wondering how many adults and or mentors your team 
>has.  I am coaching solo and feel overwhelmed at managing all the 
>kids.  Any ideas?  As soon as I start helping a few on a task the 
>others start running around.   I don't want to be a policeman all 
>the time but am wondering how to keep the others busy.  thanks.  The 
>kids range from 10 to 13 years old.
>
>
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