Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm really excited about my job

so... how's everyone been? I apologize for the lack of blogs recently. I was busy with school starting. Thank god, my schedule is lighter this year-- I got out of teaching English, so my entire program is chess now. Last year, I really thought I might die of exhaustion, but now I'm feeling tremendously excited about teaching again. We also got a shipment of enormously genius children this year. Let's take a look at my schedule:

Monday:
7:20-8:05 early morning 6th graders (20 kids, maybe 70% of them are tournament players rated 500-1300. The remaining 30% are v. bright 11 year olds who have played chess for a couple years and want to start playing tournaments.)
8:05-8:40 open chess room/ homeroom (30-40 kids play blitz in my room)
10:13-10:54 shop n (20 6th graders, 8 from the early morning, the rest just kids who like chess)
11:40-12:25 shop u (10 8th graders rated 900-1700. Average rating = 1300)
12:28-1:10 talent (22 7th graders: an advanced group of 10 rated 800-1700 and an intermediate group of 12 who just like chess but aren't terribly serious)
1:10-2:37 shop 0 (33 sixth graders, 12 from the early morning program and 21 others who wanted to have chess)
2:45-4:15 chess club, beginners (20)

Tuesday:
7:20-8:05 early morning
8:05-8:40 open chess room
9:25 - 10:10 talent
10:13 -10:54 6th grade chess lunch (40 6th graders eat lunch in my room and play blitz)
11:40-12:25 shop u
12:28-1:10 shop p (20 7th graders rated 600-1700. average = 1200. Some are also in talent)
2:45-4:15 chess club, advanced (50)

Wednesday
7:20-8:05 early morning
8:05-8:40 open chess room
8:45-10:10 shop n
10:13-10:54 shop o
11:40-12:25 shop u
12:25- 1:10 talent
2:45-4:15 chess club, advanced

Thursday
7:20-8:05 early morning
8:05-8:40 open chess room
9:25 - 10:10 talent
10:13 -10:54 6th grade chess lunch
11:40-12:25 shop u
12:28-1:53 shop p


Friday
7:20-8:05 early morning
8:05-8:40 open chess room
11:40-12:25 shop u
12:25- 1:10 talent
2:45-4:15 chess club, advanced

Most of the classes I see every day, and I get to give them all a grade, so they are forced to do my tactics homework and learn their openings. I've been using a new book for my curriculum, Yusupov's Building Up Your Chess. It's very good-- useful and slightly nonstandard topics, just the right level, provides lesson material and homework. I hardly have to do any day-to-day planning! Hurray!!

I'm super-motivated to do the definitively excellent job this year, dreaming of producing a little army of 1500s out of my early morning class. I mean really, why shouldn't it be possible? They all intensely love chess, want to impress me, and want to out-do each other. And I see most of them for a couple hours a day.... maybe not 1500 rated by Nationals, but 1500 strength....

8 comments:

RT Solo said...

Teaching? You look so freakin' young in your pictures! Crazy

Anonymous said...

Could you explain the name designations? Why is it called "shop n" ? Is that a room designation?

Anonymous said...

Lizzy - I know that you are relieved to not have to deal with teaching English ... but having a Columbia graduate as an English teacher would not be a bad thing for any of the youngsters. Your gain is definitely their loss.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

thanks! I'm pretty sure I'm better at teaching chess than English though....

The designations are just for scheduling purposes. All the classes meet in my room, (the "chess room")

Basically I have 3 6th grade classes:
"early morning" which meets every day, and "shop" n and o, which meet for a single and a double period each week. The best kids are in early morning, although many are also in one of the shop classes. The shop classes are larger and more heterogenously mixed.

I have two seventh grade classes: talent, which meets every day, and shop p, which meets for a single and a double period each week. Depending on the rest of their schedule, some kids are in one or the other or both.

Eighth grade has essentially just one small class that meets every day.

likesforests said...

How did you manage to secure a full-time position teaching chess to youngsters? I want your job. Well, after I own my house, anyway. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Ms. Vicary,

I would like to get some advice on the best strategy given the following:

I am a 1900 player who will volunteer about 1 hr week during school hours, at my son's 4-5th grade class.

There are 20 students. My plan is to break the group into 2. The ones that know how to play and the ones that don't. And alternate with each group every other week. I pan to use Susan Polgars manual for the 2nd group. With the first group, I plan to just let them play and based on what I see give them apropriate tactical puzzles to solve.

If there is enough interest I can meet an additional hour during non-school hours.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Hi! Two pieces of advice:

1. Get Jeff Coakley's book, Winning Chess Strategy for Kids. It's absolutely gold.

2. Most kids in multi-grade classrooms are experienced in teaching and learning from their classmates. Try pairing the advanced and beginner students and have the more experienced ones teach/go over games /give advice to the beginners. Talk to the classroom teacher if you need help in how to organize/structure this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice.

This is the first time I am doing anything like this. I was not sure if I could handle 20 kids at once.

Plus there are only 6 chess sets.

There is a designated games hour every week, so the other group will be doing other games.

But what you say make sense.

My goal is to get a team for the Super Nationals. I will keep you updated.