For four or five years in the early 90's our district's gifted program participated in Odyssey of the Mind, a national problem solving competition. We would introduce the problems in November, divide up into teams and start preparing for the local and state competition. The actual work would begin in earnest the day we got back from holiday and that's when all hell would break lose. The introduction of the problem and the brainstorming sessions in the late fall were great fun and the kids loved brainstorming possible solutions. I spent those years dreading the day we got back from break because one of the major components of the competition was NO ADULT HELP!! The kids spent the next six weeks floundering, while we the teachers tried to keep our mouths shut and hoped the kids wouldn't make fools out of themselves and of us. Boy did we waste a lot of time!
One year, I think it was 1991, I had two teams win the state competition and we got invited to the World Finals!! Of all the places in the world we could go, in 1991 the World Finals were in AMES, IOWA!! We were from Kansas--whoop-ti-do!
Several years after we stopped competing there was a big scandal in the OM community, I can't remember the details.
Now as the winter break ends I smile to myself and say "at least we aren't doing OM!"
2 months ago