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  p1  Recognition the School Olympics

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Home > School Olympic Games > Advice for teachers > Advice from the organisers

Advice from the organisers

1. How to achieve school’s approval for organising School Olympics?
KK: By going to school management with a thorough project (amounts of money, time when it's held, etc). Take illustrating materials about Olympics of other schools and be prepared to justify your decision to organise School Olympics.
MM: Ask the principal to become a chairman of the Olympic Committee.
EA: Ask less money from school budget – teachers need to write projects and find sponsors themselves. It is not that hard once you understand how it’s done.
Organize this event on large-scale by inviting other schools and/or organisations to join in.
Ensure that the event gets covered in press – school managements always like fame and glory.
Involve school management into organisation process of the olympic games.
Thank them.
US: It is necessary to persuade school management and give rational reasons why this event is necessary and useful to students and teachers, as well as the whole school. 
Some tips on argumentation:
 School Olympics is an event that allows to involve the whole school, whether in organising process or as participants, starting from students and ending with a principal. Therefore, School Olympics is a great way to unite the whole school.
 School Olympics enable to incorporate a number of great initiatives into one main event (art contests, excursion to a sports museum, a quiz, sport competitions, contests of fair play or chivalry; also more thorough discussion of this subject, making researches and educational stands, contests of self-made art, declamation contests with the best students performing on the opening ceremony, etc).
 Bring positive examples of School Olympics that have taken place in other schools (as one alternative, management could watch videos of School Olympics), talk about teacher training experiences.
 Well-organised School Olympics is a great way to improve school’s reputation among parents, local authorities, and students themselves. (Also inform the media about the event, at least a local newspaper. Invite parents, local authorities, leaders of neighbourhood businesses, well-known athletes and any other people you would like to advertise your school to).

2. How to get support from local administration?
MM: Invite them to the opening ceremony (with invitations!), and then ask for support.
KK: Again, by making a request in writing and addressing it to the rural municipality government and its mayor. With a good argumentation, a normal rural municipality would always find money for that. And, of course, don’t forget to mention that the rural municipality would get media coverage.
EA: I would say the same as I said to the previous question, only address it to rural municipality. Active and positive people are always complied with and followed…
US: See the previous answer. Besides that, you would need to find a way to explain that by supporting this event, the local administration can show their support to this school and its children and raise its reputation (media, parents, local businesses – if possible, ask for their support as well. It is very important to stress that all the supporters play a role in making this wonderful event successful– each and every one of them must feel important).

3. How to involve other teachers into organising the School Olympics?
KK: This is the hardest part, but if the event is well thought through, individual discussion with each teacher would always achieve a better result than a group meeting. No one would say no, if asked nicely. After all, it usually takes place on their working hours, during school day.
EA: Offer them an opportunity to grow and succeed. No one likes too difficult, pointless or dull assignments. We should respect the colleagues’ right for spare time. Thank them. Even in advance.
MM: Flatter them with good words, give them thank-you letters on the closing ceremony.
US: The question is already partially answered by the previous answers. Some more tips:
 It is very important to explain your colleagues that this is not only a sports event, but an event that involves the whole school and in which every teacher plays a role.
 Try to find a task for each teacher. For example, art teacher could get drawing, moulding, and other similar assignments, a music teacher could help by learning some suitable song and helping in organising an opening ceremony, Estonian teacher could help by organising a contest of sports-related stories or poems, history teacher could compile quiz questions or be in the steering committee, etc. There is a task for every teacher, you only need a bit of fantasy and don’t forget that other teachers have enough initiative and good ideas of their own - your task is more like giving suggestions (you’ll find plenty of ideas from "Kehalise kasvatuse töövihik" that offers many tasks that the teachers could use in their own subject classes as well).
 Naturally, there will be exceptions among teachers - some want to have specific tasks for a specific date or refuse to contribute to the event. Do not let that discourage you – I hope you all know your colleagues enough and know how to use your psychological intuition.
 It would be good if you could plan school olympics at least half a year in advance, so that teachers and leisure-time manager would have time to take this event into account when making their work plans.
 You need to make clear whether it would be necessary to win over the teachers before persuading school management, or vice versa. At the same time, I personally think that it would be most reasonable to first win over the leisure-time manager or even better - assign him/her to be one of the main organisers (you would have a role of an adviser and a first-hand aid), and then gather the meeting of school management and teachers and explain them the necessity and usefulness of this event – see above.

4. How to prepare children for the Olympics?
MM: Call a meeting of class representatives in an early stage and explain everything in gym classes.
KK: This is more of a task for gym teachers who mix work with fun in their classes and give additional explanations. The purpose of Olympic education week is all about injecting interest in Olympics. Everyone knows well in advance that the games are coming, it’s in the upcoming events list etc.
EA: If a teacher does not regard the Olympic results to be as important as national exam results, neither do the children. Actually, everything depends on the everyday attitude the teacher has in a gym class. If the class is stressful, students believe the Olympics to be the same - and they are right.
US: There is no doubt that children need knowledge and even moral preparation for participating in the School Olympics. 
 It would be best to find students that could belong to the steering committee, become your helpers and pass on the information in their classes.
 Gym teachers could talk about School Olympics and Olympics in general well in advance in some gym class, or this could be done in some other class by other teachers. I think it’s a matter of agreement.
 I have made school gatherings myself, in which I have presented an educational overview of the Olympic Games (a gripping Power Point presentation or a video would be good) and informed the listeners 
 Educational and informational stands would also be helpful. They could be made more interesting by weaving in the quiz answers or simply made an additional task for a gym or any other class.
 Visiting a topical exhibition in a sports museum is also one way to increase student’s awareness.

5. Where to find judges for the Games?
EA: Among teachers, parents. Involve non-profit associations.
KK: Involve students that are excused from gym classes on doctor’s order. Teachers should be again approached by negotiation, not orders. Protocols need to be prepared and people have to be explained about their tasks. Everything needs to be well thought through, for example, where to take the protocols, etc.
MM: Talk to activists and excused students well in advance. Teachers need to be instructed in an early stage. Thank-you letters on closing ceremony.
US:
 It would be best if you could teach senior students to be judges (and why not students that are excused from gym class).
 Another way is to divide this obligation between teachers.
 A third way is to involve local coaches and other gym teachers or sports functionaries of local authority.

6. How to organise School Olympics when there are not enough sports fields and the inventory is out of date?
EA: Have a creative approach. With money received from project- and sponsorship work.
MM: Make an easy program, use self-made equipment (shields, spears, rocks etc.).
KK: Choose sports that suit with surroundings – running, long jumps with additional weights around arms (students could make them in handwork classes). Stoppers could be borrowed from the neighbouring school. Nothing stands in your way besides good will! Unfortunately, fantasy cannot be borrowed…
US: … then this is the right time and reason to review the sports bases and inventory.
 One way to improve it is to write projects to different funds (believe me: well-planned School Olympics is a sufficient reason to ask for money from different funds).
 School Olympics is also a good way to remind the local authorities to support and help the school.
 Maybe it would be reasonable to organise a nice repair day and tidy up the existing sports fields.
 After all, every sports field has opportunities to organise some cool competitions, taking into account the given conditions and inventory. Your task is to figure out what that competition or sports might be.
 If you have no other chance, there is equipment that could be made on one’s own or by students.
 The last alternative would be borrowing the necessary inventory from a neighbouring school.

7. Where to get torches, flags, prizes and sound equipment for School Olympics?

EA: See the previous answer.
KK: Estonian Olympic Academy would help. Call us! Sound equipment needs to be rented, it’s a very important part of School Olympics. That is why we subsidise the projects.
MM: Torches are sold in horticulture stores with a relatively low price, class flags can be made by students, prizes may be symbolic (wreaths), diplomas for several years (it is cheaper that way), sound equipment is not the most important thing (could be borrowed from rural municipality, some student or their friend may have personal equipment, etc.).
US:
 One possibility is to use money got from writing projects and buy the necessary thing.
 Another alternative would be to ask for help from local authorities, also from sponsors and local culture establishments (e.g. borrowing the sound equipment).
 Prizes (e.g. medals, diplomas) could also be made by students (e.g. in art or handicraft class).


Comments to the following claims:

1. Elite schools are in a better position to organise School Olympics, because they have better students.
EA: You don’t believe that yourself either, do you? Maybe someone tries to justify themselves…. I don’t think that’s right.
KK: Nonsense. A better student in school is no indicator when it comes to after-school activity.
MM: These students need to be dealt with as well, and state of preparations needs to be checked regularly.

2. Organising School Olympics is more difficult for small schools due to small number of students. Big schools have better possibilities, because there are more people that would get involved.
EA: Not correct. You can always involve others.
MM: Small schools could make an easier program and students in these schools can compete more.
KK: On the contrary - smaller is always more flexible and things are easier to organise. They also need less organisers. In a big school it’s much more problematic, starting from the question of who should get to organise the event. It can’t be everyone. 


Do you have anything to add to teachers that are starting to organise School Olympics?
EA: Try, definitely try. Don’t take things too seriously – it would work out one way or the other!
KK: Good will is what keeps us going and nothing will remain unaccomplished.
MM: Good luck!


 

 

   
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