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Odyssey Academy

Odyssey Academy

Become the best OMer you can be with Odyssey Academy! Dr. Jim Mourey— OM alum, long-time volunteer and an actual professor at DePaul University— will guide you step-by-step through the entire OM experience.

Lesson 1: What is OM? An introduction for students, parents, teachers, and coaches to the OM experience:

  • What is OM?
  • What is divergent thinking?
  • Who else does OM?
  • The three parts of OM
  • What this class will do

Lesson 2: What You Will do in OM
Find out about your role in OM and what’s expected from your team:

  • Working with a Team
  • With whom you cannot work
  • What is Outside Assistance
  • How Odyssey Academy works

Lesson 3: The Long-Term Problems
The heart of the Odyssey of the Mind Program:

  • What is a Long-Term Problem
  • The SIX LT Problem Categories
  • The LT Problem Structure
  • Age Divisions
  • Choosing your LT Problem



Lesson 4: Creativity and Brainstorming
Tools on HOW to come up with creative ideas:

  • What is creativity?
  • Associative network
  • What is brainstorming?
  • Brainstorming tools
  • Limitations, boundaries & creativity

Lesson 5: Solving Your Long-Term Problem
A walk-through on HOW to solve a LT problem:

  • What is your LT problem about?
  • What are the required elements?
  • How will those elements be scored?
  • Thinking about a calendar/schedule
  • Big picture/details/big picture

Lesson 6: Focus and Style
How to focus on your LT solution and the scored STYLE element:

  • Scoring and point allocation
  • Teaching Moment: Rubrics & Evaluations
  • What is Style?
  • Avoiding Style & LT Overlap
  • Points, points, points!

Lesson 7: How to Write a Skit
A skit-writing lesson from a professional and why it is needed in OM:

  • What is a skit?
  • Five-point scene structure
  • Proper formatting for scenes
  • Skit through the lens of point allocation

Lesson 8: Building Your Solution
Making your creative ideas reality:

  • What are props?
  • What are costumes?
  • What is a backdrop/scenery?
  • What MUST you have? Improv approach
  • Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT)
  • Problems 1, 2, & 4

Lesson 9: Tweaking for Improvement
You’re well on your way! Now’s a good time to take a step back and see if there’s room for improvement:

  • Does your solution actually solve the problem?
  • Room for Improvement: Revisit creativity
  • Keep it simple, silly
  • The curse of knowledge
  • Completely foreign v. Familiar with a twist

Lesson 10: Spontaneous
The third (but important!) component of OM:

  • What is Spontaneous
  • The three types of Spontaneous Problems
  • How to practice Spontaneous
  • The importance of keeping the “Sponto Secret”
  • Creativity, teamwork, & quick thinking
  • Use the skills you’ve acquired

Lesson 11: Practice, Practice, Practice!
You have created your solution, decided on Style and worked on Spontaneous, now what? Practice!

What is Stage Presence?
Maximizing the 8 minutes
Choreographing every movement (even backstage)
Pacing v. Speed Running
Your Millionth Time, The Audience’s First
Getting Feedback from Reactions

    Lesson 12: The Paperwork

    What is required and why you need it. Sound boring? Psst…it’s a way to get maximum score!

    • What is paperwork
    • Style form
    • Cost form
    • Outside Assistance form
    • Team List
    • Paperwork-not an afterthought

    Lesson 13: How to Compete
    It’s competition time, oh boy! Get rid of nervousness and get even better at OM:

    • Competition
    • Registering with your Association
    • Checking in and competition schedule
    • The LT flow
    • The Spontaneous flow
    • Virtual competition (if applicable)

    Lesson 14: Understanding Judge Scores
    Making sense of what the judges are telling you:

    • Why is creativity scored?
    • Understanding the LT scoresheet
    • Understanding Style scores
    • Understanding Spontaneous scores
    • Raw scores v. Calculated scores
    • Special Awards

    Lesson 15: Reflecting on What You Have Learned
    Congratulations! You have have completed Odyssey Academy. Reflect back on what you have learned and get creating!

    • What World Finals is like
    • Reflecting on your “Odyssey”
    • One last question…


    Congratulations! You’ve completed Odyssey Academy and are ready to show off your amazing ideas through OM. We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Here are some helpful links for your Odyssey:
    Huge thanks goes to Jim Mourey for leading the Odyssey Academy! Your Odyssey Spirit shines through in everything you do!
    Find Dr. Jim as a beloved Problem 3 Timekeeper/Announcer at World Finals, onstage at WF Awards Ceremonies, at Odyssey Alumni meetings, and so much more!
    Dr. Jim Mourey
    OM Alum, Volunteer Extraordinaire, Associate Professor of Marketing for DePaul University