How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

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How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by kayli » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:07 pm

Down here (and I assume in a lot of places), we don't have a lot of exposure to quizbowl before you even get to high school. When school starts, we usually try to recruit a lot of freshman to the team; and a lot stay. But the freshman who do stay are completely confused as to what is or is not in the quizbowl canon for a couple months. So, my question is: What is the most efficient way to introduce new players into the world of quizbowl?
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:14 pm

Read packets. After a tournament's worth, they'll have heard a tournament's worth of canonical answers. After two, they'll have heard one point five, since there will be a substantial amount of overlap. Repeat as necessary.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by kayli » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:18 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:Read packets. After a tournament's worth, they'll have heard a tournament's worth of canonical answers. After two, they'll have heard one point five, since there will be a substantial amount of overlap. Repeat as necessary.
A big problem I see with freshman though is they kinda zone out after the first couple lines of the clue. Also, they don't really learn all that much from just reading packets. I'm kinda thinking of if doing things like keeping a notepad and telling them to write an answer along with an important clue is useful or like just keeping a list of things they should know to look up on wikipedia later. I dunno.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:19 pm

Learning what is and isn't part of the canon isn't exactly the same thing as learning how to improve.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by kayli » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:37 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Learning what is and isn't part of the canon isn't exactly the same thing as learning how to improve.
It's necessary to have a starting point for freshman. I'm going to venture that Bulgakov is less important for a novice to know than Hawthorne.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:54 pm

Well, yeah. That's why even if for whatever reason your teammates can't learn from hearing packets (which I just don't believe) they can certainly hear what answers and common clues are and figure out a lot of things that are canonical from that.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:55 pm

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:I'm going to venture that Bulgakov is less important for a novice to know than Hawthorne.
Read three tournaments worth of packets, they will hear the word "Hawthorne" three times, at least. They will hear Bulgakov zero or one times. Ta da! You have taught them what's in and out of the canon.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:57 pm

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote: It's necessary to have a starting point for freshman. I'm going to venture that Bulgakov is less important for a novice to know than Hawthorne.
This is why it can be helpful to have some older players give a bit commentary as you go through practice. Like, say there's a Thomas Hardy TU. You can say, hey, this guy's important, here are some works of his that can be tossups (Jude the Obscure, Tess of the D'Ubervilles, etc) and if the question had plot descriptions of those, make sure they're clear on which work was which. You don't want to spend too much time on stuff like that or you'll reduce what you can get through in practice, but occasionally it's useful. The 07 seniors did a fair amount of that for us and I'd say it was helpful. Before this year's NSC one day the Roach brothers and I were the only people at practice for a bit, so I read them high school packets and tried to teach them things about every topic that I knew and/or knew to be important that they missed. JR took notes and went and learned more about some of the things I mentioned to him as important, and he told me it helped, so that's perhaps something to consider if you have a small group of experienced players around or have them take turns leading practice for the newer players. I know when we had enough people we used to split our practices; I'm not sure if that would work for you guys, depending on how/where you practice.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by at your pleasure » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:04 pm

A big problem I see with freshman though is they kinda zone out after the first couple lines of the clue.
This has been happening a bit with our freshmen, too. My first idea is that when you take them to a tournament, make sure they see how many buzzes are on middle or late clues.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Joe Romersa » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:11 pm

Read them a lot of packets, and tell them to go look at the YouGottaKnows on naqt.com
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Jesus vs. Dragons » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:17 pm

I have very little experience Kay, so these other guys probably have better advice, but I would suggest assigning certain subjects. You obviously want to play to their strengths, so assigning a person who loves to read or is well read to literature would be the obvious choice. By doing this, you would narrow down the amount of questions they would need to write down from 20ish to 5-8ish. I am sure you have noticed a person who is better at science,history,art etc, and simply add on to their natural strengths. Make sure that everyone agrees on the area they are given, and if a person feels they are more qualified, let them both have it. Of course it is better to have a team with at least one "generalist" on it, but if you have 4 lights out specialist, you will contend.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:36 pm

I don't know that that is the greatest idea - if a player knows a lot about a topic, then what's the point in writing on it?
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Joe Romersa » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:43 pm

Because they can still get better at that topic.

Although i think you shouldnt go for natural strengths as much as interest. A person will study harder and retain more on a subject he or she is interested in, rather than something theyre naturally good at.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:00 pm

It is a far less practical use of your time to write a tossup on a book you've already read, since you probably are already going to get any points related to that book, than if you write a tossup on something you haven't ever been exposed to before. If you really can't figure that out, then I'm kind of regretting pointing that out now to you.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Cheynem » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:22 pm

I mean, Andy is right here. The way to learn the canon is to read packets. There's really no point in my opinion to systematically identify what's canon and what's not, other than to discourage them from obvious areas of "not-canon" (world capitals, element numbers, trash). While it might eventually pay off if you want to be an elite player in college to really nail down what's canon and what's not, reading packets and learning things is probably the best route for 99% of high school freshmen.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by cvdwightw » Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:50 pm

I don't know where this discussion got into asking freshmen to write questions. Asking people who have no idea what the canon looks like to write questions is just asking for disaster. The general thread consensus is correct - the only way new players will have a conception of the canon is to read through packets and have an older player explain whether or not something is worth remembering for the future.

Charlie, there is nothing wrong with writing questions in subjects one is strong in. Reinforcing one's knowledge (e.g. through writing questions) is arguably as important as adding new knowledge. Using subjects one is strong in to develop basic concepts of question writing is far better than a non-scientist trying to learn principles of question writing through writing physics. If you know everything about a topic, it might be still be a good idea to divide that knowledge into "definitely canon," "maybe canon," and "way too hard for canon." If you're strong in Renaissance art, then writing on a canonical Renaissance artist you've only been exposed to through a couple of giveaway paintings might help you get the next tossup on that artist (and will certainly help you compared to writing a history question if you neither know nor enjoy history and will forget all the clues you used five minutes after finishing the question). Perhaps you haven't read a book in three years and want to remember more about minor characters and episodes that occasionally show up in other packets. There are any number of reasons why one might legitimately prefer to write a question on a topic with which one is familiar.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by ClemsonQB » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:33 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I don't know that that is the greatest idea - if a player knows a lot about a topic, then what's the point in writing on it?
You completely missed the point of Ethan's post. You're confusing "write down" with write questions on. By "write down", Ethan means that when going through packets on a player's own time, or at practice, they should be taking notes on that particular subject, and then presumably looking that stuff up later.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Jesus vs. Dragons » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:31 pm

ClemsonQB wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I don't know that that is the greatest idea - if a player knows a lot about a topic, then what's the point in writing on it?
You completely missed the point of Ethan's post. You're confusing "write down" with write questions on. By "write down", Ethan means that when going through packets on a player's own time, or at practice, they should be taking notes on that particular subject, and then presumably looking that stuff up later.
Yeah that was what I meant. I didn't even catch his response to my own post.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Mike Bentley » Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:02 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:It is a far less practical use of your time to write a tossup on a book you've already read, since you probably are already going to get any points related to that book, than if you write a tossup on something you haven't ever been exposed to before. If you really can't figure that out, then I'm kind of regretting pointing that out now to you.
It has little to do with this thread (as mentioned, it's almost certainly not very productive to force freshmen to write questions), but writing tossups on things you know is still quite useful. Just because you've read something doesn't necessarily mean you've thought about that book in terms of quizbowl. Writing a question makes you go back through what you've just read, thinking about the early and middle clues much more than you ordinarily would.

I know that in general when I read a book and write a tossup or bonus on it, I tend to do better on future questions on that book than if I didn't write a question on it.

Plus, for new writers, writing on topics you're not familiar with is really hard. At least if you've ready a book or whatever you have a general idea of what you remember from reading it and what you don't, which can be transformed to a semblance of clue order.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by at your pleasure » Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:16 pm

If I may interject with a request for advice, how should one and only one returning non-novice work with an otherwise all-novice group? Would it be a good idea to split the group of novices who are likeliest to be A-teamers off for extra-intensive practice sessions with the one non-novice?
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:10 am

Anti-Climacus wrote:If I may interject with a request for advice, how should one and only one returning non-novice work with an otherwise all-novice group? Would it be a good idea to split the group of novices who are likeliest to be A-teamers off for extra-intensive practice sessions with the one non-novice?
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That sounds good, but here's my constructive criticism. You never know who might turn out to be good (wasn't Shantanu on the B-team until mid-junior year?), so limiting extra practices to select players could discourage other newcomers. Instead, I'd suggest the extra practice as an opportunity for everyone, with the caveat that it would be more intensive and time-consuming. Strongly urge the people with the most promise to come, and if someone is causing trouble or slowing down the practice, ask them to leave.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by at your pleasure » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:44 am

Er, I was talking about split A/B team practices, although extra practice sessions does sound like a good idea. If we do split A/B team practices, Mrs. Danis would presumably promote any especially good B-teamers to A-team practices. For that matter, our lineup early on will probably be somewhat fluid.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Jesus vs. Dragons » Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:36 pm

Another good way of getting them into quizbowl/quizbowl canon is to read them easy question sets (ie A-level or even intramural, which is even easier.) These questions will allow them to get a lot of questions and basically every tossup in them is canonical, as they are the most famous works and authors and concepts that are around.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:17 pm

TheLessFamousEthan wrote:Another good way of getting them into quizbowl/quizbowl canon is to read them easy question sets (ie A-level or even intramural, which is even easier.) These questions will allow them to get a lot of questions and basically every tossup in them is canonical, as they are the most famous works and authors and concepts that are around.
The problem with that is that A-level and Intramural sets are not free, and they oftentimes ask about random esoteric things.
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Re: How to Get Freshman Immersed in the Quizbowl Canon

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:21 pm

Kamen Rider Punch Hopper wrote:
TheLessFamousEthan wrote:Another good way of getting them into quizbowl/quizbowl canon is to read them easy question sets (ie A-level or even intramural, which is even easier.) These questions will allow them to get a lot of questions and basically every tossup in them is canonical, as they are the most famous works and authors and concepts that are around.
The problem with that is that A-level and Intramural sets are not free, and they oftentimes ask about random esoteric things.
Well there's always HAVOC...
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