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  • Core Values Poster

    Our region (VA-DC) does not require a CV poster. I know many regions do. I have some questions for the regions where it is required:
    What happens when a team shows up at a tournament without a poster? Are they not eligible for the CV award? Any awards? I could imagine a new team that didn't read all of the instructions not coming with one.
    What are the minimum requirements for the poster? Could someone just write "Team 12345 Core Values" at the top of a blank piece of paper and display that?
    Are the teams guaranteed a certain amount of time to present their poster to the judges? Do all regions use ten-minute judging periods (my region does).
    Do you think the CV poster helps the teams, judges, both or neither? Who really benefits from the poster?
    Norfolk, Virginia, USA
    FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

  • #2
    Experienced Core Values judges and Judge Advisers tend to be really decent human beings, capable of always doing the right thing for the kids involved in any situation. They celebrate the triumphs of a team that shows really good GP, Inspiration, and teamwork even more warmly than us klunky old robot design judges appreciate a nice four-bar linkage. And they despair a team that snaps at each other even more than we hate to see the program that consists of just green blocks. Granted, I've seen qualifiers in the past where the there was no experience backing up the CV judge pairs. I've seen eight young people with no FIRST experience from a high school Beta Club read the rubrics and make a stab at it. Even then, the people willing to be CV judges did a pretty good job and were kind and perceptive.

    Lets answer your question from the viewpoint of a region where a handful of judges went with their Judge Adviser and their Partner to the World Festival, and really learned how to make it work.

    I won't let a team enter my qualifier if the roster isn't done. (But I'll go out in the parking lot with them to the parent's cars and help them get the waivers done.) My head referee won't allow a team at the table with fifth motor, but we always have a practice round so that they learn about the rule early enough in the day. But the poster is a little different. Yes, I've suggested to a team on the morning of their qualifier that they fold a sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper and write their number on it. I kneeled down in the middle of them and got them to think about putting one story on that piece of paper before judging started, and asked them to think about what that story was. Then I told them a Woody Flowers quote, and went to put out the next fire.

    A really good region sets a standard for the CV room, for example "four minutes for the exercise, two minutes for them to present, and the rest for questions, in that order," and then they tell the coaches by email before the qualifier. There is a suggested format that gets sent to the coaches and teams. Keeping to that schedule makes it a level playing field, but after that it's all up to teams, who vary wildly in ability and direction. Ten minutes is pretty much the minimum, but it doesn't get much larger either.


    Read the rubric, and try to imagine which items are best judged by counting the spelling mistakes on the poster. (This is the 19th time I've mentioned on the forums that coaches who judge are the ones who "get it.") If your team has a coach or parent or mentor who has judged, they might be able to provide a bit more specific insight into how a team's overall presentation can be more or less effective in communicating to the judges at the top levels. Now consider how many minutes a judge has to actually READ the poster. Hummmn.

    OTOH, I have seen a really great coach use the process of making the poster as a very hands-on and specific way of teaching the basics of what will be judged. A young or rookie team that finds examples and prints out pictures and shares the work of filling in the poster will have a fantastic start at being ready for the Core Values room. Even a team with no emphasis on CV will have to at least read the words and write something there. It definitely benefits beginning teams.

    At the top levels of the teams who excel in Core Values? I've seen teams who walked in, said this is our poster, put it to one side and launched into a wonderful song with rich examples of what they've learned. I've seen a team whose board is just big clear pictures that the team can point to while they're telling rich examples of what they've learned. I've seen a team with a really clever and simple message on the board, and then they describe lots of rich examples of what they've learned.

    The disaster that happens is when a team comes in, puts the poster on a desk away from the judges, then begins reading the poster instead of looking at the judges. Ouch. Everybody loses.

    Imagine this scenario: A younger team from a disadvantaged area has a coach who only managed to get through about a third of the huge stack of rules and information that is FIRST Lego League in her rookie year. They got two missions working sometimes, and at least thought about a problem that affects astronauts. They arrive in a CV Judging room and say "What do you mean, a poster?" Now imagine their judge smiles at them and says "It's OK! If you had one picture of your team doing something together that made you a better team, what would that picture be?"



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    • #3
      I think this question falls squarely in "Does it matter?". If you "must" make a core values poster and you are a team with a great robot and great project and great core values and would advance and win awards you will know that you "must" make a core values poster. If you don't know about the poster you are probably not a team that would qualify to advance or receive a core value award. There is a lot of stuff to learn your rookie year, and there is stuff that is overlooked. Learning how it all works, including what fell into the cracks, is what your rookie year is for. I judged FLL for 5 years before becoming a coach, thought I knew everything there was to know, and still was a walking disaster area my first season. We all make mistakes.

      I think all teams should make a core values poster and a robot design summary whether these are used in your region or not. Making the core values poster is a good core values exercise and helps prepare for core values judging. Making the robot design summary prepares you for design judging. These activities are valuable, not just "busy work". My girls would write all this information down as part of their tournament prep, but I think they would have enjoyed the creative aspects of making a nice poster. Glitter glue! Yay!
      Last edited by Dean Hystad; 12-17-2018, 11:47 AM.

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      • #4
        Rbbbbb,
        This might be my favorite post on this forum! The stories in here so epitomize the spirit of FLL.

        Thanks, my friend

        And yes, if you are a coach, find the time to volunteer as a judge! Somewhere, somehow. Make it a priority and you will see what we are talking about.
        Last edited by SkipMorrow; 12-17-2018, 11:43 AM.
        Norfolk, Virginia, USA
        FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

        Comment


        • #5
          Dean Hystad ,
          I also think all teams should do the poster and RDES. My teams always do. Officially, my region recommends that all teams do them, but they do not require them. But, if they were mandatory, I fear that many teams would be disqualified because they didn't do it. That's a tough lesson for a new coach that is trying his/her best just to make it to the tournament. I know a lot of first year teams skip the tournaments because they think they aren't ready, and I think that is a shame. I think kids need to have that end goal, even in that first year. I always tell new FLL coaches to go to that tournament. You will learn a lot. You might not get any points on the table, and that's ok too. But to have this new team come, along with the fear and apprehension that comes with something like this, and then to tell them that they are disqualified because they didn't do a CV poster (or RDES), seems harsh.

          I like the other possible workarounds that Rbbbbb mentioned, and those may be suitable alternatives.

          My region is toying with the possibility of making the poster and RDES mandatory. The answers here give me good insight and perspective.
          Norfolk, Virginia, USA
          FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi SkipMorrow,

            You know the feeling where you're at an FLL event all day, and all the faces are familiar but the ones that aren't familiar yet are still people who you would do anything you could to help them and their team? Dude, I don't have to actually meet you to be your friend. Still, if you ever see a judge with a 18" silver bottle opener blade from a Swiss Army knife on his head, come introduce yourself again.

            My other two cents, if you're discussing policy at the regional level. Disclaimer, I'm a frequent World Festival Judge, frequently a head Robot Judge, qualifier director, but I am not at the Partner level, I'm not a State Judge Advisor or a Senior Mentor or such. Your Partner knows all those people, I'm a worker bee below that level.

            "Disqualify" is a pretty harsh word. Pretty much reserved for "Red Level" behaviors at an event, like watching the coach definitely change the code and download while the team threw paper plates like frisbees. It's almost always better to let the judges know about the behavior and adjust the rankings. Let the judge adviser and the assembled judges quietly make the right decision inside the deliberation room, and pass it back to the coaches.

            If a team in your region fails to bring the board, don't disqualify, but educate. I can imagine a rubric comment: "We enjoyed hearing your story about the team name. We would have liked to have seen a picture of that event on a good Core Value Board."

            This stuff we do is HARD, and subtle. Skip, you can't let the rules-lawyers take control of your region and suck the spirit out of it. You can't ever let the rule-benders like me take control of your region and let it descend into frenzied chaos.

            And take it all with a grain of salt, especially anything I say. In my eighth year of judging, I made some whopper mistakes Saturday morning. I got unhappy with a tourney director, because I needed my ranking sheets back quicker, and then she told us to hurry up. I broke a team's robot picking it up. My rubric comments were illegible and full of cross outs. One of the kits I brought got wet in the trunk of my car. I got two teams with light blue shirts confused in my head. I ate a doughnut despite my wheat allergy. It's endless.

            Good Luck, you're fighting the good fight.

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            • #7
              Does anyone ever get disqualified? The only things I can think of that disqualifies a team is not doing a project or a robot, or misbehaving at the tournament (being abusive or really disruptive). Excessive coach involvement will effectively disqualify a team, but it does that by lowering all the judging evaluations. It is hard to imagine anyone telling a team they were disqualified. The FLL police make British Bobbies or Canadian Mounties look like Conan the Barbarian.
              Last edited by Dean Hystad; 12-17-2018, 02:13 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rbbbbb View Post
                And take it all with a grain of salt, especially anything I say. In my eighth year of judging, I made some whopper mistakes Saturday morning. I got unhappy with a tourney director, because I needed my ranking sheets back quicker, and then she told us to hurry up. I broke a team's robot picking it up. My rubric comments were illegible and full of cross outs. One of the kits I brought got wet in the trunk of my car. I got two teams with light blue shirts confused in my head. I ate a doughnut despite my wheat allergy. It's endless.
                Last weekend I started out an evaluation with "I'm going to drop the sunshine and lollypop comments to focus on information you can use." Looking back that probably wasn't the best choice even though I did provide a lot of useful information to a team that didn't need me to feed their self esteem. And when the head judge told me it was time to wrap up one of the sessions I gave her the raspberry. At least I didn't break anyone's robot.
                Last edited by Dean Hystad; 12-17-2018, 02:14 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post
                  Does anyone ever get disqualified? The only things I can think of that disqualifies a team is not doing a project or a robot, and misbehaving at the tournament (being abusive). Excessive coach involvement will effectively disqualify a team, but it does that by lowering all the judging evaluations, It is hard to imagine anyone telling a team they were disqualified.
                  A sad story from a few years ago. Our Head Ref was extremely senior to me, and I was acting as judge adviser. A team of very young kids showed up with a robot that was far beyond their piloting ability. I was also Robot Design judge, and they couldn't explain the code very much at all. I caught them in one egregious example, turned to the camera of the adult in the room filming, and said "teaching them that grinding backwards against a wall is possible is a great thing. But then they need to decide when to use it, and they need to code it, and they need to understand how it helps."

                  I thought my job was done. Bottom of my ranked list.

                  The head ref had already sent me a note suggesting I investigate further. Two refs took off their zebra shirts and walked through the pits at lunch. The coach was programming the robot, then downloaded it, then told the kids "That ought to fix the second trip." The kids were throwing paper plates like frisbees. He had to tell them twice what he had done.

                  The kids got the top score on the table. Now what do we do?

                  The head ref was adamant that we not award them the robot game trophy, and she had very good justification, and it meant that the next team down won a nice piece of yellow plastic and they deserved to win. The director was horrified and looked at us and "Okay, but you tell the team, not me." I went along with "disqualification," and but I was also the person to tell the team and the coaches what had happened and why.

                  Five elementary kids crying their eyes out. Three coaches, one denying flatly that he had done it, the others mad at all of us. Two hours of me explaining and trying to be a diplomat. More than anything, I wanted the kids to stay together as a team and do it right next year, just not with that one parent-coach involved much. I remember telling a lame analogy about "Kids, you didn't do anything really wrong, it's not as if you kicked a puppy. It's just that you didn't know you had to feed the puppy yourselves, and now you can't keep the puppy." Then the janitors were banging on the door and saying we really had to leave, and I hadn't done my part to pack up the stuff. The director decided to order a second trophy. I remember driving badly on the way home, I was so wrung out.

                  In hindsight, what I would have done differently, was to go to the offending coach and explain just to him first. Then give him a chance to withdraw the team, and quietly adjust the score on the board and announce a scoring change as a correction on our part. If he didn't withdraw, I would have announced a scoring difficulty and awarded duplicate awards.

                  That was years ago. We publish more expectations better by email and then again at the coaches meeting. It doesn't prevent coach-over-involvement, but it makes it crystal clear that its wrong. We're changing the level of understanding across three counties. I've developed a near psychic ability to ask a team to explain one block in their code and pick the right one that they don't understand. I can even occasionally point at one Lego piece on the robot and ask who put it on and watch the team's shoulders slump and say the coach did that one. It's heartbreaking.

                  I was at another event where a team member removed a scoring penalty marker and put it back up on the table wall, and then denied it. I was at an event where a kid stole pieces from a team's parts box. We've seen kids actually physically fight. We've seen the "Red Level" behaviors. FIRST is big enough that they've put the guidelines in place for them, and it's very rare compared to the size of the program. This kind of stuff gets handled at the Qualifier Director level, and judges normally don't have to get deeply involved, and referees just get to report it and then go back to watching robots.

                  No, Dean, you shouldn't have to spend your time and energy considering a case where a team was disqualified.

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