Yesterday was the Destination Imagination Regional Tournament (with State and Global to follow). I think that my kids did a great job. They presented their solution to the Team Challenge with great presence of mind. (They "can't say" anything about the Instant Challenge until after the Global Tournament in May.)
Four of the children stayed for the awards ceremony. They were disappointed to learn that our team didn't place in our Challenge. (I have to admit that I'm disappointed, too.)
However, in talking things over with several parents today, I've come to some realizations:
• This year needs to be viewed as our learning year. (Or as our diagnostic test telling us what we know and what we don't know.)
• The team manager and I were new at this and had never even seen a DI Challenge before.
• All but one of our team members were new to this and had never even seen a DI Challenge before.
• We started late in the DI season -- our first team meeting was Pearl Harbor Day.
• February happened!
• Team members hadn't read the challenge or the Rules of the Road early enough.
• Probably the biggest thing to learn: Our team had every part of the Challenge completed. However, in reviewing the scores, I'm thinking that we had every part completed to the basic level only. I think that DI is really looking for creativity over and above just solving the challenge. I think that this year, our inexperience, late start, and interrupted schedule were big factors in the team's solution. I know I'm not saying it well, but I think my point is this: I don't think that our team didn't place because they can't do this type of work. I think that they can do this kind of work. I think that they are capable of doing better next time around. More than capable. I'd love to see them learn from the experience and try again.
• Our kids may have taken the loss hard because they so rarely "lose."
• Seven schedules can be difficult to coordinate.
Therefore, if my team wishes to participate in DI next year, I have these recommendations:
• Try to have experienced team managers. :-)
• Consider keeping this same team; they were just starting to become a cohesive group. (One member will be moving on to the middle school level, but the six girls could continue together.) Perhaps consider going with six instead of seven team members.
• Or consider putting all interested kids together for 1-2 meetings. Have them look over the challenges and decide which one is really interesting to them. Group them by interest rather than by what time of day/day of the week they can meet.
• Start as soon as the new season's challenges are available online (idodi.org) even though an announcement hasn't yet been made through school.
• Have every team member read the Challenge description and the Rules of the Road as soon as they have chosen the challenge.
• Schedule regular meetings!
• Practice team building and instant challenges while also working on the Team Challenge. For Instant Challenges, work on understanding the directions, time keeping, and communicating. Communicating includes listening to each other.
• For the Team Challenge: Work with the team on not just solving the challenge but on going above and beyond a solution. Allow enough time to do so. Think a cupcake vs. a wedding cake. Both are a tasty treat to serve your guests. But one goes above and beyond a piece of cake.