Elise Santorella8 April, 2012Mrs. Corbett4th Period My name is Elise Santorella and for my senior project, I wrote questions for Elementary Academic Bowl and used them in game play. Through the duration of my project, I was able to experience the difficulty of writing questions, acquiring curriculum information, and the different approaches that have to be taken when dealing with gifted students. Through my research, I discovered that gifted students cannot be taught in the same ways as regular students. However, due to the current overcrowding and because of policies like No Child Left Behind, it is very difficult for gifted children to find an intellectual outlet and they often become bored. This usually leads to behavior problems in gifted students or a lack of motivation because the work is too easy. However, Academic Bowl acts as an opportunity to show off how smart a student is and is a good way to teach the very first lessons about teamwork, the importance of practice, and also the importance of extracurriculars. Without outlets like Academic Bowl, many gifted children don’t get the intellectual stimulation that they crave and turn to alternative activities, which may not always be favorable. My product is the questions I created. I wrote 15 questions for each category in the Elementary Level Academic Bowl regulations. The five acknowledged categories in elementary level Academic Bowl are Math, Language Arts and Reading, Earth Science, Social Studies, and Miscellaneous. I decided to make this my final product because I was not able to actively coach the Ballground Elementary Academic Bowl team, as it interfered with school. Also, I wanted to be able to show a tangible object as my product. I wrote all of the questions on my own, but I used the Georgia fifth grade curriculum as a
Santorella 2guide on what to ask. The curriculums were initially hard to access, which I found somewhat unsettling,but since my project facilitator is a teacher, he knew exactly where to look and was able to help me.When I began writing the questions, I consulted my facilitator in how to properly structure the questionsto comply with the time restrictions and game play. Together, we were able to come up with a way toeasily remember the structure of the questions: the Diamond Method. The questions all have to beabout 30 seconds in length, but the wording itself is also important. The way the question is worded hasto start out narrow, so that a very advanced player can jump in quickly before the question is completedand score points for his team. After a narrow section, the question has to become broader, so that theaverage fifth grade student can process the information and think of the answer in a normal span oftime. After this point, the question will end on a more narrow section of wording, so as to make theplayers second-guess themselves. While this may seem mean, it is a game play technique that is used atevery level of Academic Bowl. Mr. Carter, my project facilitator, was my academic bowl coach for all three years of middleschool. He was very experienced at the college level and has been a wonderful coach. Even after I lefteighth grade, he allowed me to come back and help out the younger students. Mr. Carter was a hugehelp to me, giving me access to practice materials, curriculum information, and offering a lot ofguidance. Through the process of writing these questions, I was able to test their effectiveness on theBallGround Elementary School Academic Bowl team. The following video is the session I had with them. In the video, you saw how the team functions and the style of gameplay. At the elementarylevel, each team gets an allotted number of questions and cannot be interrupted by the other team’sattempt to answer. However, at the middle, high school, and college levels, this style of play does notexist. Also, the time in which the students answered the questions was within the average range of 15-
Santorella 330 seconds, which is the sign of a properly written question. Furthermore, the math questions proved tobe challenging, mostly due to the time limit. While I don’t plan on centering my career on teaching, I found the experiences I gained to bevery positive. Through my work, I have gained more respect for academic bowl coaches and teachers ingeneral. While their jobs may seem rudimentary, they have a lot to consider when teaching giftedstudents, whether they are in a mixed classroom or in their own separate unit on an Academic Bowlteam. I have a much deeper respect for educators now, as I have seen the coordination skills andmultitasking involved in working at an elementary school. I have seen the immense patients thateducators require in their work and the hard work that, oftentimes, goes unnoticed and unappreciated.Furthermore, I have learned the different techniques that some educators use when dealing withchildren. Fifth-graders, while very bright and well-behaved, must be dealt with and spoken to differentlythan an adult or peer. I did not realize that until I had to test my questions. My senior project was a lot of fun to create and participate in. At this time, are there anyquestions?