SAGES Quizbowl Questions (elementary & MS)

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SAGES Quizbowl Questions (elementary & MS)

Postby alexdz » Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:43 pm

I'm pleased to announce that this year, I will be coordinating the writing of 3 question sets available for use at the elementary and middle school levels through my new question business name, SAGES Quizbowl Questions (website forthcoming). There are three tiers of questions available for target difficulties at these levels of competition. The questions are written by a talented cadre of both new and experienced writers from across the country and edited primarily by me.

Sets 1 & 2: SAGES II-A and II-B
The inaugural SAGES set (Spring Academic Game for Elementary Students) was used across the country last year to expose young students to the game of pyramidal quizbowl. I will again be coordinating the writing of this year's SAGES II set, which will initially be written as tossups-only and then converted to TU/bonus. Each tossup is approximately three lines long and is written in a pyramidal style (harder clues progressing toward easier clues), and each bonus features three parts: an easy, medium and harder part.

This year, I'll be taking the ~900 question tossup set and forming it into TWO sets of 20/20 tossup-bonus packets (10 rounds each). The first, SAGES II-A, will consist mainly of material from the 3rd and 4th grade sections of the tossups-only set and is intended for use in elementary-school competition. This set is intended for use with elementary school students who have little to no previous experience with quizbowl-like competition. The second set, SAGES II-B, will consist mainly of the 5th and 6th grade material and is intended as both a slightly harder elementary set or a "novice" middle school set. The tossups-only set will also be available.

SAGES II as a tossups-only set will be available from February 2016 through December 2016 assuming there is interest in fall mirrors. Mirror fees are $7/team for this version.

SAGES II-A and II-B will be available from March 2016 through December 2016, again assuming interest at that point. Mirror fees for either of these sets will be $10/team.

Set 3: PLATO
I'm also happy to announce another middle school set available for competition this spring. PLATO (Perfectly Likeable Academic Tournament Offering) is being written to target the 7th/8th grade level, similar to CMSTs of years past. The set will consist of 12 packets: the first three are already nearly complete, and the other nine packets are scheduled to be completed over winter break. Tossup questions in the PLATO set are between 4-5 lines in length.

PLATO is available from sometime in February through the summer of 2016, and I do not plan on having mirrors of this set extend into the fall. If interest seems to be there, I hope to offer a PLATO II starting in the fall semester of 2016. Mirror fees for PLATO are $10/team.

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In areas lacking organized elementary and/or middle school competition, these questions might be appropriate for other kinds of events: a school "trivia night" contest, an intramural event or a "teachers vs students" competition, for example. Under no circumstances should these questions be used at any event catering primarily to organized high school or college quizbowl teams; there are far more appropriate sets for such events.

If you are in a situation where you require any reformatting, significant adjustments or other unique situations, simply email me (see below) to inquire. I want these questions to be used and for younger students to be exposed to good quizbowl, so please don't hesitate to ask for something. To set up a mirror of SAGES or PLATO, please contact me at sagesquizbowl@gmail.com with information about your event, including tentative or scheduled date(s), grade levels and location. Hosts are encouraged to keep statistics at their tournaments; I can provide information on how to do so.
Last edited by alexdz on Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alex Dzurick
====
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
====
University of Illinois ('15-'17)
MOQBA Secretary ('08-'15) ::: MACA Vice President ('13-'15)
South Callaway MS/6th Grade Coach ('12-'13) ::: University of Missouri ('08-'12)
ACUI Region 11 Coordinator ('10-'11) ::: South Callaway HS ('04-'08)
alexdz
Rikku
 
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:29 pm
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: SAGES Quizbowl Questions (elementary & MS)

Postby alexdz » Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:47 pm

I am happy to take on more interested writers to join the SAGES team. If you are interested, please email me at the same address listed above with some information about your quizbowl experience in general (how many years you have played/coached and where) and, if applicable, any writing experience you have. It will also be useful if you provide some information about the categories you are interested in writing.

I especially encourage new writers to join the team. The question length and difficulty are manageable for people who are just starting out, and there is no set number of questions you must commit to. SAGES writers will be paid for their contributions.
Alex Dzurick
====
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
====
University of Illinois ('15-'17)
MOQBA Secretary ('08-'15) ::: MACA Vice President ('13-'15)
South Callaway MS/6th Grade Coach ('12-'13) ::: University of Missouri ('08-'12)
ACUI Region 11 Coordinator ('10-'11) ::: South Callaway HS ('04-'08)
alexdz
Rikku
 
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:29 pm
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: SAGES Quizbowl Questions (elementary & MS)

Postby alexdz » Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:58 pm

MIRRORS

SAGES II:
(TU-only) Show-Me Conference Elementary Knowledge Bowl - Jefferson City, MO - March 15, 2016

PLATO:
Hallsville Middle School Quads - Hallsville, MO - December 9, 2015 through March 2016
Dayton, OH area mirror - April?
Alex Dzurick
====
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
====
University of Illinois ('15-'17)
MOQBA Secretary ('08-'15) ::: MACA Vice President ('13-'15)
South Callaway MS/6th Grade Coach ('12-'13) ::: University of Missouri ('08-'12)
ACUI Region 11 Coordinator ('10-'11) ::: South Callaway HS ('04-'08)
alexdz
Rikku
 
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:29 pm
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: SAGES Quizbowl Questions (elementary & MS)

Postby alexdz » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:40 am

I have pushed back the availability of PLATO to sometime in February to give us time to complete the writing process for both it and SAGES. I hope to have a more definitive timeline on its completion later. Both sets are still seeking mirrors; if you're interested in seeing the set(s) played in your region, please let me know.

More writers would always make our task easier and faster. If you're willing to contribute even a small handful of elementary school or middle school level questions to this effort, and get paid to do it, please contact me at the email address in the first post above.
Alex Dzurick
====
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
====
University of Illinois ('15-'17)
MOQBA Secretary ('08-'15) ::: MACA Vice President ('13-'15)
South Callaway MS/6th Grade Coach ('12-'13) ::: University of Missouri ('08-'12)
ACUI Region 11 Coordinator ('10-'11) ::: South Callaway HS ('04-'08)
alexdz
Rikku
 
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:29 pm
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: SAGES Quizbowl Questions (elementary & MS)

Postby romeokar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:42 pm

We recently ran the Second Annual Darien Elementary Academic Challenge, and for the second year in a row, we chose SAGES for our question sets. This year, since SAGES offered two levels, and we wanted our tournament to be a friendly introduction to Quiz Bowl for our 5th graders, we went with the more novice SAGES II-A set. We asked for a custom-made tossup/bonus / all tossup combination package, and were so incredibly pleased with the product we received! The level of difficulty was perfect- scores were in the high 100's to mid 200's (without powers and without negs, and PPB's were in the mid-teens. While these may seem low, being that this was the first tournament for each player and that there were 12 teams of 5th graders all from the same district, I found these scores to be completely reasonable.

Most importantly, the 5th graders really enjoyed the experience. Some of the credit goes to the players of my middle school team for officiating efficiently and effectively, and some of the credit goes to my colleagues at the elementary schools for organizing rosters wisely, but most of the credit goes to SAGES for providing great questions.

If any Middle School coach is contemplating running a similar tournament to get the feet of their incoming potential quiz bowlers wet, I highly recommend these questions.
Ken Romeo
Middlesex Middle School
Darien, CT
romeokar
Lulu
 
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Re: SAGES Quizbowl Questions (elementary & MS)

Postby alexdz » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:53 pm

Thank you so much for the kind words, Ken. I will be giving myself a much longer window to work on next year's elementary set and hope to do even more to control the difficulty and hopefully boost those scores while still providing a meaningful competitive experience. Pyramidal elementary sets are still new, and as the conversation in the USABB thread showed, it's a difficult area in which to work for a number of reasons. But as things start to coalesce and more data can be gathered on what works and what doesn't, I hope that upper-elementary students can be exposed, however briefly, to a good pyramidal quizbowl experience. I'm glad that it worked for Darien, and hope it can be as useful for others!

Look for more information to come at some point in the near future about what SAGES plans to produce for next year.
Alex Dzurick
====
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
====
University of Illinois ('15-'17)
MOQBA Secretary ('08-'15) ::: MACA Vice President ('13-'15)
South Callaway MS/6th Grade Coach ('12-'13) ::: University of Missouri ('08-'12)
ACUI Region 11 Coordinator ('10-'11) ::: South Callaway HS ('04-'08)
alexdz
Rikku
 
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:29 pm
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: SAGES Quizbowl Questions (elementary & MS)

Postby alexdz » Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:55 pm

A few relevant updates, some long overdue:

In order to best allocate time for editing, and in order to prepare the 2016-2017 sets with a much earlier timeline, at this point I do not plan to fully convert the 2016 elementary (SAGES) sets into 20/20. For now, there are around 3 packets of 20/20 and numerous other tossups. If people are interested in early fall (up to ~October) mirrors of the 2016 elementary set, and if you would require more than ~60 bonuses, please be in touch early. We can negotiate pricing depending on the mix of questions you need.

Relatedly, going forward it is unlikely that elementary sets will be converted into full 20/20 sets. I am adding a bit to my graduate school teaching duties this year and am choosing to reinvest some of my quizbowl editing time into assuring that PLATO gets more attention. There will continue to be hundreds of elementary level pyramidal tossups available from SAGES.

I will also have available in late fall of 2016 a number of short pyramidal novice high school difficulty tossups. I also currently have no planned use for these tossups, but if you think they might be useful for any events or formats that could use ~2 line tossups at that difficulty, please be in touch. I would be happy to format these questions for use in a state format if such a use would not require writing any significant amount of new material.

All that being said, I hope to be able to offer the 2016-2017 versions of all of these sets around October, a much earlier timeline than before. With the exception of Michigan and Missouri, each set should be available for mirrors starting from - let's say - Halloween through the end of the 2017 competition year (or early summer).
Alex Dzurick
====
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
====
University of Illinois ('15-'17)
MOQBA Secretary ('08-'15) ::: MACA Vice President ('13-'15)
South Callaway MS/6th Grade Coach ('12-'13) ::: University of Missouri ('08-'12)
ACUI Region 11 Coordinator ('10-'11) ::: South Callaway HS ('04-'08)
alexdz
Rikku
 
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:29 pm
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: SAGES Quizbowl Questions (elementary & MS)

Postby alexdz » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:10 am

I wanted to write a post here reflecting on my experience this year working on SAGES questions. It's been a very bumpy ride and I haven't been very forthcoming about that publicly yet, so I wanted to openly recap some things I've learned from this endeavor.

When I started SAGES, I was really excited to be formalizing some work I had been doing to improve a local elementary school quizbowl-like event. The very first set I edited was a blast, and fortunately I was working an office job where I had evenings and weekends to dedicate to working on it. Several folks helped with that first effort and I found myself enjoying the process of writing and editing. The same spring that set was used, I got accepted to graduate school at Illinois and so I quit my job, moved 5 hours away and started taking classes while TAing a course. As anyone who has done a grad program here knows, my academic workload alone was overwhelming, not to mention the grading and class prep I was doing. However, I was still carrying the passion and exhilaration from producing my first SAGES set and I dove headfirst into producing SAGES II and the middle school PLATO set. It wasn't my smartest idea, but I slogged through and managed to churn out both sets eventually, and not without help from several writers from the community who chipped in.

This year has been an even bigger struggle, and it's the people who had to deal with along the way who I ultimately want to acknowledge in this post. I frankly understand now why so many grad students are stereotypically seen to be academic hermits. I don't know why, but I imagined my experience would be something like my "glory days" of undergrad where I could handle a full course load, working part time, and being deeply involved in several student organizations. I'm here to say that fantasy has borne out to be a fiction, and one that I continued to believe until I was in far too deep. I far from regret becoming involved with any of the groups I've become a part of here at UIUC, but I do regret how much time they took away from not only my schoolwork but from my quizbowl obligations. I ended up backing out of a SAGES writing commitment this year, which singlehandedly almost caused an event to be canceled, and after some soul-searching, I resolved to move forward with some dignity and finish my other commitments. I managed to pull through and deliver something workable to every other event I had promised questions to.

However, in the process of doing that, I still managed to be unprofessional toward some folks I had promised to help, and for that I want to publicly apologize to them. Instead of producing an independent PLATO set this season, I contacted the writers of the HIGS middle school set about the possibility of partnering to finish their event and for it to be used instead of PLATO at the tournaments I had promised MS questions for. They graciously agreed to this arrangement, and I took too much solace in the fact that they had volunteered to help me and I went on my merry way with some pressure relieved. To make a long story short, I personally ended up doing very little work on the set which I had promised in return for the ability to use the questions to meet my own obligations. I want to be clear that I wasn't doing anything with an intent to be deceptive; the intent from the beginning, which I made clear, was that the proceeds from "my" tournaments on the HIGS set would all be paid back to the HIGS team as the plan was to donate their profits to a charitable cause. This is still the plan, and to try and make some restitution for my failure to follow through on my workload, I also plan to make an additional personal donation to the same cause. To the HIGS team, I apologize for burdening you with work I had promised to take on.

So, what does all this mean for the future of SAGES Quizbowl Questions? I know for sure that next year I plan to be less personally involved in so much of the writing and editing workload. How big that workload is and what sets end up getting made is still up in the air. I am graduating in a few short weeks and will be starting a new job somewhere at some point thereafter. After seeing what happened with trying to accommodate grad school and writing so much, I simply cannot personally maintain the same level of involvement in the 2017-18 season. I think we'll manage to produce something over the course of the year, but what that something is I cannot say for sure.

To everyone who has been supportive of the effort to increase the availability and quality of elementary and middle school questions over these past few years, I thank you deeply and truly. I have tried my best to make a contribution to that effort, and despite my failures I hope I have had a net positive effect on the sub-HS circuit.
Alex Dzurick
====
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
====
University of Illinois ('15-'17)
MOQBA Secretary ('08-'15) ::: MACA Vice President ('13-'15)
South Callaway MS/6th Grade Coach ('12-'13) ::: University of Missouri ('08-'12)
ACUI Region 11 Coordinator ('10-'11) ::: South Callaway HS ('04-'08)
alexdz
Rikku
 
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:29 pm
Location: Champaign, IL


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