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October 2010


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First Lego League in Virginia and DC <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 18 Oct 2010 23:29:03 -0400
Sonya Shaver <[log in to unmask]>
Sonya Shaver <[log in to unmask]>
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To: Laura Dysart <[log in to unmask]>
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Hi Laura,
Ten is a lot.  I honestly don't know that I could do it, so I commend you!
 Do you have another adult who can help?  Can you ask the parents to take
turns coming to the meetings for these last few weeks?  If you had one more
adult at each meeting, you could break the kids into groups and just rotate
through working on different things.  One group could work on research while
one does programming, then switch.

You might also sit down with the team and ask them what they think.  Let
them know that you are having a hard time with all the arguing, and you
would like them to work out a better way to sort out their conflicts.  Have
them come up with a solution and stick to it at least for one meeting.  Then
if it isn't working, they can try something else.  For example, one year, we
were having trouble with everyone getting their say in and feeling heard.
 So the kids decided to use a "talking stick" during discussion time.  You
can only talk when you are holding the talking stick.  When you have the
talking stick in your possession, the rules are this:  Be kind, be brief,
and speak from the heart.  The talking stick was a Lego apparatus, and it
didn't last very long, and they didn't even do it every time.  And they
weren't always brief!  Ha, ha!  BUT, the point was that it was brought to
their attention, they became more conscious of it for a time, and after
that, they were much, much better.

Another thing we tried one year was having the kids take turns being the one
who keeps everyone else on the team "on task".  So at the beginning of the
meeting, that person would lead a quick group meeting.  The group would
decide what they wanted to work on that day, and what they wanted to get
accomplished before the end of the meeting, and set up a time frame for how
they would spend their time.  Then it was that person's job to keep everyone
on task, focused, remind them of their goals for the day, and what time it
was.  If you don't have ten meetings left (since you would want to give
everyone a turn), then maybe they could do it in pairs.  In reality, this
didn't work perfectly.  However, it was totally worth it because again, it
generated discussion about the issue, brought it to their attention, and at
least they were thinking about it and it did make a difference.

Our team is completely team-led.  The kids decide what they are going to do
and how they are going to get it done.  We have to be there to help, make
suggestions, help them through tough spots if they need it, and help them
set realistic goals for themselves.  And make snacks!

I have found that I just have to continue to talk about these values and
ideals, and we are all learning (me too!).  I feel like at times there is a
tremendous amount of pressure.  The kids have eight short weeks and a task
that they could probably work on every single day of that time and still not
be 100% done.  Towards the end, I think the kids can start to feel that
pressure and time crunch.  Do you think that is part of it?  If so, I would
just remind them that this is about the process, and that you are so proud
of them for jumping in and putting forth their best effort, and it's really
okay if they don't get things perfect, just do your best.

I hope some of that is helpful.  I am sure you are doing a great job, and so
are they!  Try not to get stressed out and just enjoy the process.  Even
when it is hard, we are all learning.  Even in conflict, if you can help
guide them through to a peaceful solution, they are learning how to get
along with their future co-workers!  Good luck!

Sonya in Harrisonburg

On Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 11:01 PM, Laura Dysart <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Sounds like you will have what you need- but I have an extra NXT brick
> (personal)- not parts I'd be happy to lend in an emergency; in Richmond Va
> if you need. I had a 7 person rookie team that worked well together last
> year. This year have the max of 10.  Keeping the newer kids occupied- we
> have one robot- (have an extra brick but not enough parts to do much with)
> and right now only one computer for research during team meetings- i sense
> some of the newer kids struggling- one new kid who feels he knows everything
> and if he isn't the one in charge doesn't want to do anything. We continue
> to do team building exercises- now each sessions cause has been an issue-
> lots of arguing- wasn't like this last year- the larger team- three new
> members with no experience- they don't seem content to shadow veteran's -
> goof off and distract.  Any ideas for new members without a lot of
> experience involving them?  We have 5-6 very dedicated team members who are
> getting frustrated.
> On Oct 18, 2010, at 4:37 PM, Salas, Alex wrote:
> We can lend you one, we are in Hopewell Hgh School.
> Let us know.
> T. 804 541 6402 ext 247
> Hopewell High School
> 400 South Mesa Drive
> Hopewell, VA 23860
> (804) 541-6402   phone
> (804) 541-6403   fax
> On 10/18/10 4:05 PM, "Patrick Angel" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hello all,
> I am in my fourth year of FLL and our team is in a desperate need of an
> NXT.  All three of our NXTs died this year.  I have contacted Lego Education
> and the Tech support people confirmed they all have a dead LCD display.  I
> have sent all three off to be repaired at no charge.  However, the turn over
> time is 3 - 4 weeks.  If any team has an extra NXT that we can barrow for
> the season it would be greatly appreciated by my kids.  I reside in the West
> Point area and teach in Middlesex.  I will travel to pick-up if one is
> available.  Hopefully Richmond or Tidewater.
> Thank You
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