AGazine, January 2012

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

& Notes
Academic Games Family Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


Nationals Information

AGLOA Executive Director, Larry Liss, who has recovered from the stroke he suffered in August, sent the following letter to heads of leagues earlier this month.

Dear Academic Gamers:

At this time, we have received many preliminary registration estimates for the 2012 Tournament in Wheeling, WV, April 27-30. Please send your estimates, if you have not done so already. We are planning a first-rate tournament with outstanding competition.

Included in a separate document are several items about the tournament. Please read the information thoroughly and respond on or before the indicated deadlines. Note that:

a) Each person (student or teacher/coach) who attends the Tournament as a player or coach pays the Tournament Registration fee of $110 no matter where they stay. Accompanying parents or other adults do not pay the Tournament Registration fee. However, groups which have a large number of accompanying adults compared to players and coaches may be asked to stay off the Oglebay site if rooms get scarce. AGLOA will give preference to players and coaches, if rooms get tight. Five years ago at Oglebay, we were able to accommodate over 900 people on site. Only 40 people had to stay in nearby hotels. If such an overflow is necessary for 2012, AGLOA has identified two nearby hotels. If necessary, arrangements can be made in plenty of time in early April.

b) The completed Cost Sheet must be returned no later than March 30. This Cost Sheet is essential to our determining the correct number of participants and making the proper room assignments. Your group may choose to stay either three nights or four nights.  Please so indicate on the Cost Sheet. Oglebay offers only one price for each package, which includes meals and activities on site.

A complete Tournament Administrative Booklet and other information will be emailed to you in mid-April. If you have any questions, please call me or email me. We are excited about the 2012 Tournament!

Here are the deadlines for the tournament.

Due Date
Preliminary Tournament Registration Form January 6
Order Judges Certification materials February 3
Tournament Registration Form (with deposit) March 2
Completed Equations and LinguiSHTIK Judges Evaluations March 9
T-shirt Order Form (important for correct sizes) March 23
Cost Sheet (important for rooms, meals, etc.) March 30
Rooming List and Adult Master List March 30
Volunteer Form March 30
Individual and Team Registration Forms April 6
Cube Games Seeding Form April 6
Outstanding Senior/Sponsor Nomination Forms with pictures April 27

Georgia-Louisiana Invitational

Over 60 students from the New Orleans area traveled by bus to Atlanta over the Martin Luther King weekend to compete against players from Georgia in the third annual Georgia-Louisiana Invitational.

Competition was held in Propaganda, On-Sets, and Equations with individual awards in each game. Participants stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel where the tournament was held.

AGLOA Board Members Adrian Prather (GA) and Craig Zeller (LA) organized the event.

Upcoming Events

Events across the AGLOA leagues during the next month:

17 IU4 League (PA) Presidents Tournament – Elementary Division @ Slippery Rock University
21 MLAG Tournament:
Regions A & B – Plymouth Educational Center (Detroit)
Region C – Beech Elementary (Redford)
Region D – Bradfield Academy (Southfield)
Region E – Joy Prep (Detroit)
24 PBAGL Social Studies Tournament Round 1 – Current Events (7 questions) and Presidents #1-12 @ John Leonard HS (Elem.) and Forest Hill HS (Mid/Jr/Sr)
Beaver County (PA) World Events Tournament
25 IU4 League World Events Tournament (all divisions) @ Slippery Rock University
28 NOAGL Presidents Tournament (all division) @ Tulane University
31 PBAGL Social Studies Tournament Round 2 – Current Events (7 questions) and Presidents #13-24 @ John Leonard HS (Elem.) and Forest Hill HS (Mid/Jr/Sr)
1 Indian River County League (FL) Equations – Session 1
4 MLAG Tournament:
Region A – Cass Tech HS (Detroit)
Region B – Northeast Elementary (Jackson)
Region C – Winans Academy (Detroit)
Region D – Chandler Park Academy (Harper Woods)
Region E – Brenda Scott Academy (Detroit)
7 PBAGL Social Studies Tournament Round 3 – Current Events (8 questions) and Lightning Round (18 questions) @ John Leonard HS (Elem.) and Forest Hill HS (Mid/Jr/Sr)
Beaver County (PA) LinguiSHTIK Tournament
8 Indian River County (FL) Equations – Session 2
10 Jefferson Parish (LA) Equations Tournament (Mid/Jr/Sr) @ Grace King HS (Metairie)
St. Bernard Parish (LA) Equations Tournament
13 WPAGL LinguiSHTIK Tournament @ Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh)
14 PBAGL Social Studies Tournament Round 4 – Lightning Round (18 questions) @ John Leonard HS (Elem.) and Forest Hill HS (Mid/Jr/Sr)
15 IU4 League Equations Tournament (Elem) @ Slippery Rock University
Indian River County (FL) Equations – Session 3

If your league’s events are not listed, please send us your schedule.


Academic Games Family

CarlaLagatutta12011NatlsCarla Lagattuta coaches Academic Games at Colfax Upper Elementary School in Springdale, PA, and is the proud mother of two sons who were Academic Games champions. She became aware of Academic Games through her older son, David.

“He was in fifth grade and came home to say, “Mom, I’m going to stay after school to play Academic Games.” I had no idea what he was talking about because we didn’t have that when I was in school. “Wonderful. Go ahead. Have a great time.”

David did have fun, competing through his senior year at Springdale High School. (Read about David in the February 2011 AGazine.)

Andrew, three years younger than David, followed the same path, playing from 5th to 12th grade. He attended the University of Pennsylvania. Interested in artificial intelligence, Andrew majored in Computer Science with minors in Electrical Engineering and Psychology. He is a software engineer for Microsoft in Redmond, WA, who’s very busy working on Windows 8. His wife, Tara Kolesar, also played Academic Games.

They were classmates since kindergarten. Her mother teaches in the same building with me. They went to the sixth grade dance together. They started dating their senior year. David was the valedictorian and Tara, the salutatorian.

Carla became involved in Academic Games as a mother, not a coach.

I saw how much the boys loved it. I helped make the book for World Events.

She started teaching at Colfax and, when the Academic Games coach retired, took over the program.

Sue Mellon [coach at Springdale High], who was fabulous, helped me learn all the games. I say I can teach the games but can’t play them. My sons would try to teach me the games, but I would ask them to slow down. Both mentored my students. They had different areas of expertise. David was national champ in Presidents in tenth grade, and Andrew was national champ in Propaganda. They liked all the games but preferred the reading games.

Carla still employs the high school students to teach the younger players.

I enjoy seeing the hero worship from the younger students when the big high school students come down. At Nationals this past year, we had a spontaneous Propaganda study session at breakfast. The younger ones were enthralled by the older student helping them.

She also appreciates the friendships that her players make with students from other schools in her league and from other states at Nationals.

She coaches all six games.

The program is open to any student in the school. I’m a former Learning Support teacher. A lot of my LS kids ask, “Can we come and practice the games?” They learn and have fun. They’re in there with other kids. Some of them do quite well. Since it’s an after school activity, there’s no grading.

Her favorite game is Propaganda.

I like its practical application. You hear commercials and political advertisements. Even now, I’ll be listening to something and spot a technique. You see it in everything you do. It’s not as much a memorization game. I also like Current Events. My favorite cube game is On-Sets. I like the visual aspect, the puzzle aspect of it.

Her first national tournament was at Oglebay (WV) in 1999. The next year, the other coach at her school went to the tournament in Orlando, but Carla has been to every one since 2001.

You go to these competitions, and you have a room full of kids. They are intense, working, having fun with each other. No matter what age, sitting there, trying, playing, helping each other. Look at these kids and tell me how bad every child is. They’re giving up their weekends to come here [Nationals]. Yesterday, my students played four games, from 10 in the morning until 8:30 at night. They were falling asleep, but they loved it.

Here’s a funny story about one of my former students who is a senior now. When he was in 5th or 6th grade, he told me at Nationals, “I know why you do Academic Games.” Why? “You get a free vacation every day.” Yes, my free vacation with 20 students 24/7.


Down Memory LaneSkepticalJudge

Tricky Judging Situation #1

  • At one of the national tournaments at Gatlinburg TN, students played at flimsy long narrow wooden tables pushed side by side with no gaps in between.
  • A player sitting at the right end of his wooden table became angry at the result of an Equations shake and banged his right fist down on the table next to him.
  • As a result, the cubes of the match to his right flew up in the air.
  • The judge ruled that the obliterated shake would have to be replayed and warned the player who caused the problem not to bang his fist on the table any more.

Tricky Judging Situation #2

  • This one occurred at the Michigan League of Academic Games Super Tournament in the early 80s.
  • Three Elementary Division players start a new shake. The Goal-setter rolls and sets the Goal.
  • After waiting awhile for the player to the left of the Goal-setter to make the next move, an opponent tells him, “It’s your turn.”
  • Awakened from his reverie, player #2 gathers up all the cubes and rolls them.
  • After explaining the situation to the judge, the original Goal-setter smiles and says, “I bet you’ve never seen that one before!” He was right.
  • The judge ordered the players to restart the shake with the correct Goal-setter rolling again and told player #2 to pay attention!

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