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Team Formation

This article's content comes from the thoughts of experienced program coordinators and may be helpful to new program coordinators and others who help to form OotM teams. There are many ways to form teams. What works best for one group may not work for another.

Teams may participate under different types of program memberships for schools, community groups, or homeschools.

Who selects team members?

This may be easily done for small and/or experienced groups, but deciding who will select the team members often is the first or biggest question for new memberships. The answer may depend on your administration's discretion. Here are some options:

  • Coordinator-Managed: One or more coordinators (parent volunteer(s), school staff member(s), or a combination) collect information about interested students and coaches, and match them to form as many teams as possible.
  • Coordinator-Facilitated: One or more coordinators collect information about interested students and coaches, and then share that information with parents and coaches who communicate with each other directly to form teams.
  • Coach-Led: Volunteers willing to coach a team find interested students and send their rosters to the coordinator, or handle the administrative role themselves if there is no coordinator.
  • Student-Led: Sometimes the students themselves will form their team and seek a person to coach the team.

Recruiting coaches

The number of teams that can participate in your OotM program depends on the number of volunteer coaches available. Finding enough coaches can be the most challenging part of starting or growing the program in your school or community group.

Coordinators often send home information to parents to determine the level of interest, such as an OotM interest form (with a place for the parent to indicate their interest), on the group’s social media or website, by word of mouth, or at OotM information meetings/club fairs/or other in-person events. It is a good idea to hold an informational meeting for parents and prospective coaches. As an incentive, many programs guarantee spots on teams for the children of coaches. Although coaches most often are parents or teachers, anyone who is over the age of 18 can be a coach. Organizers may find grandparents, other family members, friends, Odyssey of the Mind alumni, or even community members who would enjoy coaching.

Common considerations when selecting team members

The following considerations are useful in selecting students.

  1. Children of Coaches/Other Volunteers: As mentioned above, many programs guarantee spots on teams for the children of coaches.
  2. Coaches’ Preferences: Coaches may be able to choose the students they want to coach.
  3. Schedule considerations: It is important to consider the schedules and availability of team members and coaches.
  4. Returning OMers: Most schools or groups give priority to returning students because of their experience.
  5. Grade Levels: Some schools or groups prefer to keep students in the same grade level, while others allow any combination of students as long as they comply with OotM division rules.
  6. Gender: Some schools or groups may prefer single-gender or mixed-gender teams.
  7. Academics: Some schools consider students’ academic suitability for OotM, whether that means working at or above grade level, a teacher’s recommendation regarding the student’s higher level thinking skills, or a coach’s personal knowledge of the student’s ability. It is important to remember that students at all academic levels have gifts and talents which can be used and developed in OotM.
  8. Location: Some programs consider the geographical location, especially with homeschool memberships.
  9. Long-Term Problem Interest: Schools or groups may form teams by grouping students by which full long-term problems they are interested in.
  10. Gifted classes: Some schools choose to use OotM as part of their gifted curriculum.
  11. First-Come, First-Served: Programs may fill available team spots on a first-come, first- served basis, as long as all team members have compatible schedules and can commit to the team for the season.
  12. Tryouts: Schools or groups may choose to hold tryouts using a Spontaneous problem to select their teams.

The goal is to form teams that work well together and allow each team member to get the most out of their OotM experience.

team_formation.txt · Last modified: 2016/01/12 02:31 (external edit)