Chaperones FAQ

1)    What is a chaperone? Why not call us coaches?

Unlike an Academic Bowl coach, a Battle of the Books chaperone is not allowed to develop practice questions or facilitate discussion about the assigned books for the competition. Students will be expected to facilitate their own discussion about the assigned books and develop their own study materials. The chaperone will be asked to sign a Chaperone Participation contract online as a part of the registration process. If it is discovered that a chaperone helped develop practice questions or commits other violations of the participation contract, the team will be kicked out of the competition and suspended for the following year. Parents and other school officials are also asked to maintain the integrity of the competition by not "coaching" the players and following the same guidelines as the chaperones.

2)    What CAN a chaperone do?

Here are some of the things that a chaperone can do to help their teams prepare for the Gallaudet's Battle of the Books competition.

a) Go through the Rules and Guidelines manual to make sure everyone understands the format of the match.

b) Set a time for the team to read/discuss the book for no more than an hour daily during school hours.  Students are welcome to meet on their own (at their request) before or after school hours in the classroom or at another location on or off campus.

c) Develop a practice match using questions that do not come from an assigned book from this year. This can help the students feel comfortable with the match format before the actual match.

d) Send a letter home to students' parents about the competition and ask them to encourage their child to read the books on their own. Also, to share the chaperones' guidelines with parents so they know what they can or can't do with their children.  

e) Help students with vocabulary words that they struggle with while reading the books.

f) Show a video of a match during last year's National BOTB competition to give them a clear picture of what a match looks like.  

3)    What are some of the things a chaperone CAN'T do?

a) Read from the books to the students.

b) Develop potential questions from the assigned books for this year's competition.

c) Facilitate discussion about the books in this year's competition.

d) Ask parents or other staff members to help the students study for the competition.

e) Give more than one hour of school time daily for students to read/discuss the books.

f) Place a student who is reading at a grade level that is higher than the group that he/she has been assigned to.  

4)    What does a match look like? Can I see a video of a match? Yes, you can view the championship matches from 2015 at , , . The preliminary matches are done via videophone so it looks a bit different from what is shown on the video (this is an example of a match at the national competition).

5)    How will you send the files we need for the Preliminary matches?

We use Dropbox links to send the files to each chaperone. You will receive the files before the Preliminary competition.

6)    How do we schedule matches with other schools for the Preliminary matches?

You will have one designated day for each division to play your matches. You'll know which teams are in your Preliminary pool on October 9th so you have time to schedule matches with other schools before the Preliminary competition starts in December. Chaperones are responsible for finding common times to hold matches.

7)    My school is new to this competition. Will we receive some kind of training before the Preliminary competition?

We will place you in a Preliminary pool that has at least one experienced chaperone so they can help guide you through your first year in the competition. Someone from the Youth Programs and Outreach office will also VP with you before the Preliminary competition starts to ensure you know what to expect.

8)    How does scoring work for the Final Round presentation answers in the Playoff match and the National competition matches?

Gallaudet's judges have a rubric that we use to score the Final Round presentation answers. We've also developed a video that explains how scoring works for the Final Round presentation answers. You can show the video to your players at this link:

9)    I have 10 students who are interested in playing on the Blue team at my school. I've decided to register them all for the Blue team but how do I decide who gets to play in each Preliminary match?

You can register as many players as you want for each of your school's teams. You can then observe who is taking the reading seriously and decide based on your observations who gets to play in the Preliminary matches. For example, you could start with 10 students, but after observing them, you could decide to play only 6 out of the original 10 members in the Preliminary matches (rotating them in and out during the matches).

10)  I have 6 players on my Buff team and we've been selected for the Playoffs. How do I decide the final three players for the Playoff match?

There are various ways to make a decision on your final three players. Here are some of the ways past chaperones have selected their final three players:

a)      Chaperones observed their team during the period leading up to the competition and chose those who worked the hardest and spent the most time preparing for the competition.

b)      Chaperones made notes of who was able to answer the most questions during the Preliminary matches and chose the top three players that way.

c)      Chaperones developed a mini quiz of random questions that were used in the Preliminary matches and administered the quiz to the team then chose the players who had the top 3 scores on the quiz.

d)      If a number of players were "even" in their level of dedication, attitude, and knowledge, chaperones drew names to make it fair.    

11) My state requires me to do an out-of-state travel form for the National competition. Can I do this in advance even if I don't know yet if my team will advance to the National competition?

YES! We can send you the schedule for the National competition and help you with any additional documents you need for your out-of-state travel request.

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