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]>
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
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.
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