Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

New high school teams looking for advice should post here.
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tmanderachi
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Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by tmanderachi » Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:05 pm

Hello Board,

I am the new advisor for the Neptune HS Academic Team in Neptune, NJ. Our main goal is to compete at the MSG Varsity Academic Challenge in New York at the end of October (first round), but in the meantime and beyond we would like to compete at other tournaments in the New Jersey area. I have 5 or 6 very bright students already signed up. Can someone lend me some advice as to what my first steps should be?

We are meeting next week to set up a team website, go over sample questions, and set a schedule, but I’d like to know a bit more about typical expenses and “must do” activities for us. The administration is generously supporting us with a budget as well.

Thanks in advanced,
Tom Manderachi
NHS Academic Team
Tom Manderachi
Neptune HS Academic Club

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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by Tower Monarch » Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:27 pm

Well, I don't know your area very well, but I wanted to make sure you've seen this thread. It looks like you're an hour away from Princeton's PHSAT on October 8 (Yom Kippur, in case that matters for your team). I'm not familiar with this MSG Academic Challenge thing, but it sounds like it might conflict with possibly your best tournament choice: October 29's Fall Novice at Hunter High School in NYC. Good luck to you, and hopefully you can get some more region-specific advice from Dave Madden, Jon Pinyan and Ed Powers.
EDIT: In terms of sample questions, be sure to look over this packet archive, specifically the 2009 & 2010 Fall Novice Sets and the HSAPQ sample questions.
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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by ryanrosenberg » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:19 pm

The Challenge won't conflict with Fall Novice; it's a TV show that tapes during the week. There are others who can explain better than me, but the thread Cameron posted is a good start.
Ryan Rosenberg
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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by tmanderachi » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:12 pm

The above link is great, thanks! Our MSG Varsity taping date is Friday, October 28th, so the second trip up to NYC the same weekend might be hard but we'll see.

We have a decent budget to play with so I'd like to ask what sort of equipment and supplies we should be gearing up with? I looked at buzzer systems and the basic 4 person lockout seems sufficient, but with 4 players plus the alternate, I'd might like everyone playing at once. I am up to my ears in practice questions, so do I need the NAQT packets they have for sale on their website?

FYI, I am only a second year teacher with a love of Jeopardy! and am a former Academic Decathlete (North Penn HS class of 1999) :grin:
Tom Manderachi
Neptune HS Academic Club

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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:51 pm

tmanderachi wrote:We have a decent budget to play with so I'd like to ask what sort of equipment and supplies we should be gearing up with? I looked at buzzer systems and the basic 4 person lockout seems sufficient, but with 4 players plus the alternate, I'd might like everyone playing at once.
You will definitely want to buy a buzzer set that lets at least eight people play at once. Virtually all tournaments offer you a discount if you bring a buzzer set for use in games, but the buzzer need the ability to let both teams to play if you want those discounts (which add up quick). Furthermore, if your team expands and you have an "A team" and a "B team" that both want to play in practice, you'll want to be able to expand easily so everyone can play at once, and a 4-person system doesn't allow for that.
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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by Tower Monarch » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:38 pm

tmanderachi wrote: I am up to my ears in practice questions, so do I need the NAQT packets they have for sale on their website?
I would recommend holding off on paying for any questions for now. If you plan to attend an NAQT event, then it might be nice to prepare for their question style and distribution by taking advantage of this. Overall, the majority of good quizbowl is going to be similar enough that the free packet archives are more than sufficient. You can also introduce your students to this database for some nice self-study.
Cameron Orth - Freelance Writer/Moderator, PACE member
College: JTCC 2011, Dartmouth College '09-'10, '11-'14
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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by jonpin » Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:41 pm

The practice sets that are available for free are likely more than sufficient. Worth noting, most tournaments that run on NAQT questions have a few packets left over at the end of the day, and most offer the questions to competing teams, either for free or a nominal fee ($10 or so). That typically gives you 3-4 packets that you can use between then and the next NAQT tournament for more practice on their style (which is heavier weight on pop culture and geography, as well as computational math tossups which most question writers do not use anymore). For now, you can note the sample packets NAQT publishes on their website.

Princeton and Hunter Fall next month are two tournaments I would definitely consider attending. Glad to see a new team on the circuit!

Jon
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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by Edward Powers » Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:57 pm

Hello Tom,

Welcome to the the boards and, hopefully, the quizbowl circuit. The advice given so far by everyone upthread is excellent. Cameron's links to the Torrey Pines data base, to the HS Packet Archive and to the NY/NJ 2011-2012 Schedule should help you immensely, as will the link to the NAQT sample packets suggested by Jon. And although I do not know how generous your budget is, Matt's advice about getting a buzzer system with at least 8 active buzzers is the way to go; in fact if you can get one with 10 or 12, this might even be better, allowing possibly even 3 teams of 4 to practice in one room, providing all with the excitement that practicing on live buzzers can generate. And one thing that has not been mentioned that you might find helpful and that my kids enjoy is when I have specialty practices and competitions. I will ask 75-100 Science questions at a time, then do the same for Language & Literature, then likewise for History/Social Studies and then finally, the Fine Arts/RMP. if this is done on a weekeday after school, we ask about 150-200 of these, but sometimes we have Saturday Fests and ask over 400 such questions, breaking for a pizza Fest about 2-2,5 hours in. The kids love it and we learn our strengths and weaknesses in these areas while developing team chemistry & cameraderie. It also helps us devise strategies for improvement in each specific area of the canon. Finally, if you can get to Princeton on October 8th or Hunter College High School on the 29th, as Jon suggested, you won't regret it. The Hunter competition in particular is designed for Novices, so that should be right up your alley, and I believe there are questions from last year's Fall Novice set on the HS Packet Archive link that you can use to prepare your kids. Good luck! And below is a link to a discussion of inexpensive buzzer systems. I hope this helps.

http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... highlight=
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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by Great Bustard » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:09 pm

Hi Tom,
I think my colleague Greg Bossick emailed you our Quiz Bowl Resources guide (note to all other teams who are interested in a copy, let me know, and I'll send it along) the other day, but if there's anything I can assist you with, please let me know. You may also want to have organize scrimmages with other North Jersey Coast teams. I know MAST, Manasquan, Middletown North, Middletown South, and Point Pleasant Beach have all done tournaments in recent years and would probably appreciate the opportunity to have some practice locally. Also, if you need a buzzer system to practice with for the time being, let me know. I will likely be at my family's beach house at some point in the next two weeks, and can drop one off (I own 24 systems up here in North Jersey) if you'd like to practice with an 8 player system (actually, up to 10 can play at once) until you've ordered one for your own team. Welcome to the world of quiz bowl!
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by Eric Huff » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:27 am

Tom,

You've gotten some great advice so far; no doubt you'll find that the quizbowl community is incredibly giving and helpful. We all love this activity, and want to see it grow and see more kids get an opportunity to play.

In addition to coaching, I work with ACE Quizbowl Camps. I invite you to check out our free coach mentoring program designed to help coaches with recruiting/building a team, conducting practices, fundraising, etc. If you're interested, more information can be found here:

http://acequizbowlcamp.com/improve/mentoring/

Let me echo what others have said, and say welcome to the quizbowl community!
Eric Huff

National History Bee (eric AT historybee.com)
ACE Quizbowl Camps (eric AT acequizbowlcamp.com)
Former Head Coach, Dorman High School (2001-2012)

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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by tmanderachi » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:32 am

Wow, lots of great advice so far. Our first meeting is today and we are going to go over the plan for the year and the practice schedule. I hope to attend as many of the aforementioned tournaments as possible and would love to scrimmage, in the meantime, with other local schools. As far as a practice strategy and materials goes, is there a good starting "fact packet" out there that would get students up to speed quickly in the subject areas (I am thinking of using a world atlas for geography, formula sheets for math, etc)?

Thanks,
Tom
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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by Tower Monarch » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:51 am

tmanderachi wrote:Wow, lots of great advice so far. Our first meeting is today and we are going to go over the plan for the year and the practice schedule. I hope to attend as many of the aforementioned tournaments as possible and would love to scrimmage, in the meantime, with other local schools. As far as a practice strategy and materials goes, is there a good starting "fact packet" out there that would get students up to speed quickly in the subject areas (I am thinking of using a world atlas for geography, formula sheets for math, etc)?

Thanks,
Tom
Well, I'd recommend you just play packets and when someone hears something they are interested in, they can make sure they know it by the time of tournament. If you really want guides, there's Stanford's Culture Pages, and the more accessible NAQT You Gotta Know lists.
Along these lines, read the first post from this thread for study tips. Hope that answers your question.
Cameron Orth - Freelance Writer/Moderator, PACE member
College: JTCC 2011, Dartmouth College '09-'10, '11-'14
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Re: Newly formed NJ team seeks advice

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:25 am

tmanderachi wrote:Wow, lots of great advice so far. Our first meeting is today and we are going to go over the plan for the year and the practice schedule. I hope to attend as many of the aforementioned tournaments as possible and would love to scrimmage, in the meantime, with other local schools. As far as a practice strategy and materials goes, is there a good starting "fact packet" out there that would get students up to speed quickly in the subject areas (I am thinking of using a world atlas for geography, formula sheets for math, etc)?

Thanks,
Tom
The standard best practice is to have everybody bring a notebook to practice (and to tournaments) and to just read questions at practice. When people hear an answer or clue that they don't know or want to know more about, they write it down. Then afterwards, they go home and do research on the things written in their notebook.

Many people go so far as to write every single answer to every single question they hear in their notebook.
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