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Sunday, March 11, 2012

O is for Odyssey Omer

I feel like March is the test that I have to pass before getting the reward of Spring Break the first week of April.

Dr. Seuss Day, Odyssey of the Mind competition, the end of tutoring, St. Patrick's day fun, and Relay for Life have been/are some things in my bowl. A friend told me to call it my bowl so I don't give anything the opportunity to fall off the edges.

The Gulf Coast Odyssey of the Mind competition was yesterday. Our school took two NEW primary (K-2) teams and our fabulously creative 3-5 team for the all day event.

If you've never heard of OotM, this is from their website:

I served as a judge and had a blast watching other teams last year. I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into by being a coach to 6-8 year olds.

We had been practicing twice a week for months and had a pretty good grasp on our problem's solution. Our primary problem involved creating a device that would lift containers off of three objects at 5, 8, and 10 feet away. Do you know how far away 10 feet seems to a 6 year old? Far I tell you.

One of our teammates (the Kindergarten one) having a hard time being a team player. I was having a hard time being a supportive coach.

A major sanity test came for me on Friday (the day before competition) when our principal called to tell me that my little K group member had been suspended from school and should not get to participate. I was majorly stressed.

So at lunch time on Friday (the day before competition!) I begged one of my little darlings in my class (M&Ms) to join our team. I knew she should have been a part all along and had all the confidence in the world that she'd do great. She came to our last practice Friday night (the night before competition!) and memorized all of her parts right away. I was so relieved!

All my darlings got to the competition on Saturday and we presented our long-term solution to a full classroom audience. They remembered ALL of their parts and lifted the objects flawlessly. Our solution involved a farm with a chick that switcheroo'd himself into a marshmallow peep so he didn't have to be "chicken dinner." The audience reacted perfectly and the judges gave us WONDERFUL comments. I was so proud of them and relieved the hard part was over.

The kids were relieved, too. This is what they begged to do during our down time.

Later in the afternoon we had to participate in Spontaneous. Coaches are not allowed in the room during this time so we practiced as much as we could before hand. The students are given a question that they have to answer off the top of their heads in turns. You can't pass and the next person can't give an answer until the person before them does.

I dropped them off with the judges and told M&M's she'd be fine. She comes up with creative answers all day long!

When my team was done and sent down the stairs, M&M's came down in tears. I asked what happened and she started sobbing. Apparently being on the spot in front of perfect strangers was too much for her and she had blanked. The rest of the team said they told the judges she had started on Friday and reassured her that she didn't let them down. I told them that it was okay and that I was so proud of them. I know I probably would have felt the same way as M&Ms.

We were done! All we had to do was make it to the awards ceremony at 6:00.

By that time we were all exhausted (and a little cranky). We paraded the three team members that were left standing up to get our participation ribbons since Primary isn't giving a number score (just feedback). The kids started to get a little antsy and I was trying to get them to listen for the big kids' results.

The next part of the ceremony was the Omer Awards. A very few of these awards are given out each year to people or teams that went above and beyond expectations or did something awesome for the competition.

We were listening to the explanation of each award when I heard "When one team member was stuck, the rest of the team was amazingly supportive. This award goes to West Zephyrhills Elementary School Primary Team A!" I was on my feet and tears were streaming down my face before my team even realized what was happening.

I don't think they realize how fabulous it is and how proud they should be of themselves. I am so proud of them for getting this award from their judges and am blown away by the way they learned to work together.

After that, the awesomeness went on when we heard our big kids' team get THIRD PLACE! That's out of about a GAZILLION teams!

Talk about a lot of (relieved) ecstatic kids and coaches! All of our hard work payed off and the lessons these kids (and coaches) have learned on the way are unbelievably valuable.

Thanks to all of my friends and co-workers for cheering us on and giving us so much love! Way to go WZES!

Now, I'm off to the Strawberry Festival to see Reba in concert. This rain can't ruin my happy weekend.

Enjoy the rest of yours!

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  1. That's just awesome! I am so happy for you and your team! They all did great! You should be very proud of yourself!!

  2. Congrats!

    And have fun watching/listening to Reba! :)

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

  3. My brother did Odyssey of the Mind when we were growing up! Congratulations on coaching such a fantastic team! : ) Also- thanks for the award (is it sad I can't remember if I've thanked you or not? Yikes!)

  4. yay!! that's so awesome!!!
    I did OM one year - it's tough!!! our school just got first place!!and they're going to state...but we are a severe title I school, so I hope they get the money for it :(