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October 2010


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Heather Houlden <[log in to unmask]>
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Heather Houlden <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 18 Oct 2010 23:48:46 -0400
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Hi there,

I have the same issue. I have 10 kids (9-11 yo). All of us are new at 
this and I find it is difficult (but still fun) to keep all of those kids 
focused at one time. 
The biggest issue I find, is that all the kids want to program the robot, 
but I cannot convince all of them to work out all the details in advance 
and then program. So some tend to lose time while they wait to get on 
the computer.
The kids seem to be having a good time, and they are learning, so I 
focus on that. :)

Sonya, I really like your team led approach. Maybe we can do something 
like that with our next year's team.


On Mon, 18 Oct 2010 23:29:03 -0400, Sonya Shaver 
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Hi Laura,
>Ten is a lot.  I honestly don't know that I could do it, so I commend 
> Do you have another adult who can help?  Can you ask the parents to 
>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 
>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 
>would like them to work out a better way to sort out their conflicts.  
>them come up with a solution and stick to it at least for one meeting.  
>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 
> So the kids decided to use a "talking stick" during discussion time.  
>can only talk when you are holding the talking stick.  When you have 
>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 
>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 
>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 
>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, 
>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, 
>suggestions, help them through tough spots if they need it, and help 
>set realistic goals for themselves.  And make snacks!
>I have found that I just have to continue to talk about these values 
>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 
>just remind them that this is about the process, and that you are so 
>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 
>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 
>> (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 
>> 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 
>> and if he isn't the one in charge doesn't want to do anything. We 
>> 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]> 
>> 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 
>> 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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