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Make good use of the time before teams solidify

The first meeting or two is a good time to talk about rules and get to know each team member’s skills, interests, and personality. During these meetings, focus on building a cohesive team without talking about the actual long-term problems. That way, if one of the team members decides not to commit to Odyssey of the Mind, there is no issue of outside assistance.

  • Team members’ skills: Use a flipchart to go around the room and have kids list their OWN strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. This information will help the team decide on which long-term problem to select, come up with a theme/storyline for their skit, assign roles in completing the solution, and think of style elements that highlight team members’ skills and interests.

  • Parents’ skills: On another page, have them identify the skills and abilities of their PARENTS. You can use this later when you are looking for parents to pick up roles such as providing snacks, leading field trips, coaching spontaneous practice or teaching the team how to sew, drill, or wire a simple light. (Make sure the parents understand outside assistance before they conduct the training.)

  • Rules. Use this early on to identify THEIR rules and YOUR rules. Ask them to figure out what YOUR rules might be. Write it down and post it. They will have buy-in if they develop their own rules, and you can point to it throughout the year – as something THEY decided.

  • Teams and commitment: What does it mean? Why do you need their commitment? What do team members expect from each other and their coach?

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