January 2019

ESU3 Early Intervention

National Bound! Gallaudet University, Here We Come!

Three players, I should correctly say readers, sat patiently waiting for the question to appear on the screen. Poof, a question and 4 possible answers appeared on the screen with a narrator signing the question and the 4 possible answers.The narrator stopped signing and the timer started counting down from 15 seconds ...14….13… Evelyn, 5th grader from Papillion-LaVista, Ben, 7th grader from Westside, and Jasmine, 8th grader from Omaha Public Schools, started discussing what the correct answer was to that question. Jasmine and Ben wrote their answer on the whiteboard and the team decided to go with Jasmine’s board and handed it to Evelyn. Evelyn handed the whiteboard to their chaperone, Mike Brummer, Activities Coordinator for the Metro Regional Program, on her right. Mike took the board and showed their answer to the judges on the video screen. The judges, two Gallaudet University Youth Programs coordinators, reviewed the team’s answer carefully before flashing out a green “correct” sign and awarded the team 2 points for a correct answer. The team cheered and high-fived each other. Once in awhile the team would receive a red “incorrect” sign, but they didn't let it deter their determination to get the next question correct.

Gallaudet University Youth Programs has been hosting the Battle of the Books competition for students in 5th - 8th grade since 2012 and the Nebraska Regional Programs has had a team participating since 2014 in any of the following 3 divisions- Buff, Blue, and Green. The Buff division is for readers who can read independently above 7th grade level, the Blue division is for readers who can read independently between 5th and 6th grade level, and the Green division is for readers who can read independently between 3rd and 4th grade level. There are 3 stages of competition in the Battle of the Books: Preliminary, Playoff, and Nationals. Each team has the opportunity to compete with 3 other schools during the preliminary stage via video conferencing and the points are tallied to determine who will advance to the next stage- Playoff. Each team in the Playoff stage plays 3 rounds or 3 chapters once in front of the judges through a video conference call. The top 8 schools in the Buff and Blue divisions and the first place winner of the Green division from the Playoff stage advance to the Nationals competition held at Gallaudet University in Washington, D. C. in the spring.

Battle of the Books by Gallaudet University Youth Programs set up the matches in an unique way to ensure all the readers have an equal opportunity to answer questions. All the questions, multiple choice answers, narrator, and the correct answers are all shown on PowerPoint slides. A question may be displayed as a multiple choice, true or false, or a short answer. The readers have to write down their answers on a whiteboard (they are expected to spell correctly and write clearly). Each correct answer is worth 2 points. The narrators or characters on the slides use American Sign Language and sign the questions and the multiple choice answers if applicable. The timer starts when a narrator or a character completes their task. Preliminary matches or volumes allow a team to compete 3 times and tally-up their points for advancement to the Playoffs. During a Preliminary match or a volume each team will play 2 rounds or chapters and have the opportunity to answer 12 questions in each round or chapter together as a team. When a team advances to the Playoff stage, they will play 3 rounds or chapters which will be played differently than the Preliminary stage. Like the Preliminary stage, the first round or chapter, the readers discuss together to answer each of the 12 questions, then, during the second round chapter, each individual reader takes turns answering his/her question without any team discussion, and the final round or chapter is a presentation format. Each reader has 2 minutes to ponder and verbally express in sign or speech their answer and they are judged based on the content and presentation style. The scoring for content is between 0-3 and for the presentation between 0-2 with a total score between 0-5. The Nationals are played similar to the Playoff format but face-to-face with an opposing team across the room instead of seeing each other on a screen via video conference. The first day will be a Pool play in which the results of the day will determine the ranking of each team for the Bracket play the following day. Day 2 is the single elimination Bracket play in which a team vies to bring home the championship. As the readers in all three divisions prep for the Preliminary and Playoff stage, they will read 3 books from the end of September to the end of Playoff stage; National bound teams in the Buff and Blue divisions will read 4 new books from December to March. The team who placed first in the Green division during the Playoff stage will be invited to attend the Nationals as distinguished guests.

Evelyn, Ben, Jasmine, and Mike will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Nationals representing Nebraska Regional Programs as Nebraska North on March 29 - April 1, 2019. To follow our matches please like this page, http://facebook.com/GUYouthPrograms.

I want to take the time to send a shout out to the fellow Buff team in the Nebraska Regional Programs, Nebraska South, who played valiantly in the Preliminary stage but fell short to qualify for the Playoff stage. The Nebraska South team consisted of Grant, 8th grader from Syracuse, Isaac, 7th grader from Lincoln, Evan, 6th grader from Springfield-Platteview, and their chaperone, Lindsey Hinzmann, coordinator for the Southeast Nebraska Regional Program.


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