How to Practice

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Coach them on the little things. If you care and pay attention, the kids will do the same. Track what they do well, what they don’t, encourage, cajole—Knowledge Bowl takes mental and physical endurance.

Do something physical on Zoom. Do hand exercises. Play air piano. Run laps on occasion under the premise that Knowledge Bowl is an academic sport.

Warm-up. Read questions and leave out details; keep only the pertinent information needed to answer. Let students decipher the clues to arrive at the answers.

Multiple coaches? Rotate. Your building or district has content specialists. Schedule a virtual tutorial with these folks or simply invite them to a practice.

Play Games. Look into virtual board games, apps, Play, play, play. It’s all about play.

Trust and mutual goals matter. Intuitive and empathetic thinking are skills that can be practiced.

Incorporate a send-off. Answer questions in an area where your team has a relative weakness. The last few students that don’t nail it help with KB tasks that you can offload to students.

Learning doesn’t stop with class and practice. Encourage your kids to host a movie night, attend plays, musicals, concerts and other online cultural events together.

Design an online scavenger hunt. Send the players on a Wikipedia rabbit hole to find information about Selassie’s exile in Bath. Then, find Bath’s connections to Roald Dahl’s story, The Landlady. Then, figure out who Dahl spied on in World War II.

Have players create binders for a teammate. Collect articles, stories, lists, factoids, etc. in Google Drive that students may find useful for competition.

Encourage as much outside reading as possible. If you want the obscure, irreverent, arcane, and profane check out Mental Floss.

Even your virtual classroom is a repository of knowledge. Consider décor, availability of resources for check-out, an open door policy to discuss string theory.

Unknown, edited from 2005 Coaches Clinic; excerpts from Jamie Jurkovich, coach

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