Sunday, December 29, 2013

What's In A Name?

In this case, the name is the title of the creative nonfiction YA book just published. My first working title for the book was The Life and Times of FRED. At the time, I thought the story was all about the robot's creation and the year's competitions. Turned out, building the robot was a major part of the story, but the backstories grew and grew after I interviewed more and more people.

When I learned that a mock corporation was required in order for a school to compete with a robot, that expanded the first backstory and gave the book a gender balance. Then I found out that instead of committees, the CHS Robotics club had a series of vice presidents in charge of (1) the table display, (2) the t-shirt design, (3) the web site, (4) fund-raising, (5) the notebook, (6) the oral presentation of the corporate team. There were many more people involved than the two main robot engineers. My working title became Team FRED. Another backstory developed into a love story. 

The final title comes from the Hub competition when the spirit team started chanting “Dread the Fred, Dread the Fred” as they racked up more and more points in a huge win. 

I posed the series of potential titles to the key students involved. The majority chose Dread the FRED. It works.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chronicle reporter questions #4, #5

  What other outside sources did you use?
The BEST Robotics web site has competition guidelines online as well as past winners from all over North America; there are online newspaper posts about BEST robotics competitions, university press releases from events, and the CHS youTube video.

 Is there a website or FB page that goes along with the book?
There is not yet a site dedicated to the DREAD THE FRED book, but I have postings of photos and book availability on my facebook page and in my blog

Below is a link to a video clip:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

CHS interview questions # 2, #3

1Ashley DiFonzo, reporter for the Conway, MO Chronicles questions and my answers regarding Dread the FRED book:

 What is your connection/history with Conway schools?
I am an alumna of the Laclede County R-I school system. I graduated eighth grade from Phillipsburg and following the consolidation, graduated from high school at Conway. In order to earn a living, I earned a BA, MA, Ed Specialist and Ed.D., degrees; taught public school, taught college, and served as a university administrator.

 Did you interview all the students in the Robotics Club from that year?

I interviewed as many students in the Robotics Club as would sit down and talk with me. That wasn’t the entire club, but a significant group including Paul Coryell, Phillip Foust, Lloyd Oberbeck, Jr., Shane Sell, Grant Rumfelt, Broghan Fields, Ceira Gisselbeck Fields, and  Shyanne Witt. I also interviewed as many parents, teachers, administrators and community members as I could find to talk with me. In addition to one-on-one and small group interviews; I followed the club the entire next year as they went to Northark College to collect the raw materials for that year’s robot, then as they planned and built the robot and the required corporation component. I watched, listened, videotaped Kickoff Day at Northark College in Harrison, planning sessions at CHS, practice sessions at CHS, attended the Hub competition at Northark College, and the regional competition at the University of Arkansas in Ft. Smith. Sadly, I didn’t have the funds to attend the national competition in Orlando but I watched a live stream of much of the action. Significant information came from over one thousand photos taken by Phillip Foust during the FRED year.