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October 2009


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Steven Ruwe <[log in to unmask]>
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Fri, 30 Oct 2009 18:06:21 +0000
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A thought for all who have not competed before and even for those who have... 

Think about the 1988 Calgary Olympics: 

Who remembers who won the bobsledding?  But we all remember the Jamician Bobsled team.  They never had a chance, but they competed anyway. 

You got it right, It is about the process and "being there" 

Steve Ruwe (6th year coach) 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Brian Nussbaum" <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2009 1:08:10 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: [VADCFLL-L] It's all about the process.... 

(My thoughts with a question at the end) 

I am a first-year coach with a very young team of 5th graders.  Earlier in 
this listserv there was some conversation about coaches who do not feel that 
they are ready for the competition. 

We have a week until our day at JMU, and I can definitely say that ateam and 
bteam from Thomas Harrison Middle School will be bringing up the rear.  It 
will be quite amazing if our group is able to complete one task on the 
table, and have any sort of powerpoint with a linear thought process.  We 
have not completed any of the requirements on the rubric for our research. 

HOWEVER, as coaches we are looking at the process rather than the end 
result. Learning has happened on the part of both the students and the 
coaches (for example, some of our students are learning that it is not a 
good idea to completely dismantle the robot a week before the competition). 
On the whole, it is a good example of how this particular group of 5th 
graders has some significant growing to do in the thought-process and 
maturity departments. 

As coaches, we have done significant scaffolding for them to try to break 
down the problem into smaller chunks, but we will just call our students 
'creative thinkers' rather than linear or result-oriented thinkers. 

But this is OK, because we have made progress, even though very little of it 
will appear on Saturday.  We are trusting that this will be a learning 
experience for this very young team.  At this point they don't even realize 
what they don't know.  Seeing other teams will be a good opportunity for 
them to realize their potential for the future. 

If we work together a few times in the spring to go back and solve a few of 
this year's tasks, and then get an earlier start next fall, we may be more 
in the middle of the pack next year (I'm thinking optimistically). 

This is to assure all of you that are feeling worried--it's OK. 

Question:  will there be an opportunity for my teams to watch other groups' 
research presentations?  I think they never really got a full understanding 
of what we were going for on the research end of things.  Seeing a 
successful group could be helpful for them. 

Mr. Brian Nussbaum 
Mathematics Teacher 
Thomas Harrison Middle School 

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