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> Choosing your team
melanie98
post Oct 26 2017, 09:27 PM
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I have an especially large class for Acadec this year. I'm looking for some ideas about what to do with my students who do NOT make the team. I normally put them on what we call the "study" or "support" team and ask them to do things that help out the competition team (flashcards, posters, whatever) but it never really works well because I am distracted during class with my competition students. Does anybody do anything brilliant?


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Melanie Atkinson
Summit High School
Mansfield ISD
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ridgepoinths
post Oct 27 2017, 02:58 AM
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QUOTE (melanie98 @ Oct 26 2017, 04:27 PM) *
I have an especially large class for Acadec this year. I'm looking for some ideas about what to do with my students who do NOT make the team. I normally put them on what we call the "study" or "support" team and ask them to do things that help out the competition team (flashcards, posters, whatever) but it never really works well because I am distracted during class with my competition students. Does anybody do anything brilliant?


I struggle with this as well, but what time period will you ultimately select your final nine-member team? Typically, I'll announce our regional team after our district meet (early December) which doesn't provide much class time from that announcement until finals and the semester break. When we return to school in January, everyone in class continues to work together on material until the regional meet. This year with one less week of prep time, I think we'll certainly stick with that schedule. The key will be the month between regionals and state (assuming we make the latter!) I'll be curious to hear what other more experienced coaches suggest. Does it matter to you if the students who don't make the team are mostly underclass or seniors? I wish I had some specific ideas to share, but all I can say is that my team will probably all continue to work under the same class schedule through the end of February.


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Academic Decathlon Coach, Ridge Point High School, Texas
State Qualifiers 2016 (medium school level) and 2017 (large school level)
World Scholar's Cup Houston Regional Team Champs, 2014, 2015, 2017
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Dave C
post Oct 27 2017, 02:59 AM
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QUOTE (melanie98 @ Oct 26 2017, 04:27 PM) *
I have an especially large class for Acadec this year. I'm looking for some ideas about what to do with my students who do NOT make the team. I normally put them on what we call the "study" or "support" team and ask them to do things that help out the competition team (flashcards, posters, whatever) but it never really works well because I am distracted during class with my competition students. Does anybody do anything brilliant?

I don't have anything brilliant, but I'll share what we do. We call our non-competitors "Slackadeca," and they do things to help the team like you say, but we also generally give them a project of some sort to work on. For WW2, they had to research something they wanted to learn more about and come up with an extensive report and presentation, and they can do this either solo or in pairs/small groups. Those presentations are due the week after our state competition (in Nebraska we are early, the 3rd Saturday in February). That can fill a week when the team is exhausted and they just want to rest their brains, so they get to sit and watch these presentations. For the energy year, we were DONE with anything topic-related, so we assigned each kid a 50 or 100 year historical period and had them research the defining art, music, and literary styles of that period, including coming up with major works that demonstrate the period and the movements. This was done with an eye to providing me with material to pull from in future decathlon years when a new topic would be announced in March but no guides or specific works would be given until May.

Speaking of new topics, that is what we do after a topic is announced in March. We fake our way through the new material as well as we can, and we always have the class read the novel (and we get to spend way more time on it than we do in the course of regular competition preparation in the fall.

All of this is only possible because my wife also teaches at my school, and she gives up a free period for a lot of the year to help watch or even teach these extra guys while I'm with the team. She and I both come up with what we can on the new topic. If I was solo all the time, I don't know what I would do.
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Stanley Tree
post Oct 27 2017, 12:03 PM
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QUOTE (melanie98 @ Oct 26 2017, 09:27 PM) *
I have an especially large class for Acadec this year. I'm looking for some ideas about what to do with my students who do NOT make the team. I normally put them on what we call the "study" or "support" team and ask them to do things that help out the competition team (flashcards, posters, whatever) but it never really works well because I am distracted during class with my competition students. Does anybody do anything brilliant?


What we've done in the past is that any underclassmen who do not make the team but want to compete the next year will stay in and work on economics and math in preparation for the next year, as well as writing a speech. This gives them a nice base to work from come March when the whole team is back together. We will then incorporate the competition team back into the full team after state to start working on the novel for the next year which is usually announced right after state. Any seniors who do not make the team have been put into a teacher aid class, but we're going to see if they want to stick around this year. We want to create a culture for these kids, and telling them that they're no longer part of the program their last semester seems exploitative. We will probably have them do the same stuff the others are doing minus a speech. Still haven't figured that out.


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Academic Decathlon Coach, Dulles High School
2017 Texas Large School State Champion
AP World History teacher
Former Varsity Head Coach, Girls Soccer


Pearland High School '08
2008 Team State champion
2008 Varsity State champion

“It’s all these guys. They’ve been with us for a while. They believe in each other. They put up with me and go out and do it better the next day. They’ve got the courage of a lion.” - Frank Martin
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zzzptm
post Nov 2 2017, 02:58 PM
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My cut team guys could be speech/interview judges as well as graders, but they pretty much went into study hall mode until the next year's curriculum was announced.

Since our class was at the end of the day and not for credit, seniors that didn't make the team would drop the class in Spring and just go home early.


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