Saturday, April 30, 2011

Showing their stuff . . .

Today was the first day of the competition, though for many of us competition might not be the word we used to describe the process.  Each of the six units shares their specific responses with a team of three judges with only the other students, chaperones, and family in the room.  There is a different set of judges for each unit.  At no time are you able to view any of the other teams so you have no way of knowing how well you did in comparison to others, only the judges know that. 

In my very limited experience, I would say that our kids did a wonderful job.  I continue to be impressed by their knowledge, commitment, and ability to engage with the judges in response to spontaneous questions.  One of the goals is to make top ten so that you can continue in the competition through Monday.  We don't have any idea from today where we stand, but it would take an exceptional performance by ten other teams to keep us out of it. 

I have heard some conversations since I have been here about this top ten thing and how there are a number of teams that seem to make it each year with the others chasing one to two spots to get into the top ten.  There are some that are unhappy about this, but haven't been able to influence the process to change this norm.  I believe that our friend mental models and the lack of inter-rater reliability among the 72 judges has something to do with this.  I'll share more about this after the competition.

In the evening we attended a comedy at the Kennedy Center followed by dinner and back to the hotel for more practice.  As I write this it is 10:50 p.m. and the teams are doing run throughs with Gretchen and Darcie.  These two teachers are doing a wonderful job of preparing the units for questions.  I'm the time keeper and gopher and this evening I'm not even doing either of those.  I think everyone has figured out I don't know much about the constitution.

I've had the opportunity to watch and listen to these kids for three days now and they continue to do things that impress me.  These young men and women are simply good people, the kind that you want to be around and know that when you are in need they will be there for you.  There is a sense of team and mutual support that I rarely experience.  They talk about their teachers and their positive experiences in our school system so all of us need to take pride in their accomplishment and thank them for making us proud to be from Tahoma.

Tomorrow starts early with breakfast at 5:45 a.m. followed by more study time before departing for round 2 of the competition at 7:00 a.m.

1 comment:

Jeff Colosimo said...

Thank you for "sharing" this! I really like the photos, as well. I am glad we are entering an era where shared learning can occur both face-to-face and online.