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Tournament of Minds

August 11, 2012

It’s the countdown trail to annual Tournament of Minds competition day (Saturday September 1), and we only have one team of seven students entered this year in the Language Literature challenge.

Chosen characters were selected from Beatles’ songs as well as Dickens’ novels, but the hardest choice for competitors was whether Romeo and Juliet were more deserving than Macbeth…. they opted for Juliet.

As usual, the competition demands no outside help other than indirect support for purchasing resources, or offering general advice about staging. It’s difficult maintaining distance during team meetings. I resist commenting during team decision-making, and I can see that students are very adept at collaborative processes, especially year 10 leaders.

Our one organisational tool never-to-be-without is Edmodo where the Tournament of Minds team wall has filled with clarifications and prompts from members. Documents are posted for referencing (no more multiple photocopies!).  Students even stayed in touch when musicians were out of school yesterday morning for a concert.

As the deadline nears, we’ve planned for a series of rehearsals to culminate in the full dress rehearsal; this means I’ll be picking up pizza to sustain us on the final Friday after school.

Last year’s show-stopper is illustrated in the photograph above. With creative thinking brought to the fore, and groups comprised of students from years 8 – 10, the real privilege is seeing students coaching younger peers.

There’s a community spirit imbuing Tournament of Minds. The spirit is uplifting, and it helps us sustain a culture of learning among our Gifted and Talented students.

Like our ongoing commitment to the West Australian Debating League competition, first term’s Home Sweet Home workshop and installation at the WA Museum as part of the 2012 Perth Festival, along with last year’s student CHOGM event at the Perth Convention Centre, G&T students who go beyond the school context to experience learning opportunities certainly widen the lens on learning.

And, as their teacher, I get to share both passion and pizza!

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