intermittent thoughts on my life and work as the chess coach at IS 318, a public middle school in Brooklyn
Ms Vicary,How would you handle the following?You are the teacher at a week long chess camp.1) 3 hrs of teaching time in the AM2) 3 hrs of teaching time in the PM3) A few kids are in both AM & PM4) Max of 10 stidents per session5) Rating range: absolute biginner to 13006) Age range 6-14Thank you very much for your time.I think you are the best scholastic coach on the planet!
:) thanksThe first thing that scares me about this is the possibility of having a six year old for six hours? Hopefully the full day kids are older. I find the general formula for is something like grade x 5 = minutes they can listen (where grade = age - 5*). So a fourth grader is good for about 20 minutes. That means you have to change what the kids are doing pretty often. Some kids are trained machines of concentration, of course, but keep in mind that the second grader with the best intentions who loves you and is trying their hardest to be good has only a partially developed brain.So structure the time so you can keep rotating through new things for the kids to do:first hour: tactics20 minute demo board lesson on a tactic30 minute tactic worksheet (done as think-pair-share; maybe have a double-sided sheet: easy on the front; hard on the back if the group is widely divergent in strength) 10 minutes thinking; 10 minutes comparing answers with a partner; 10 minutes to go over with the class.second hour: a non tactics lesson-- teach some kind of lesson and have an activity with it: teach an opening and have a blitz tournament in it; show them what a minority attack or a pawn storm is and have them try it from a pre-set position. The blue Coakley book has a lot of practice endgame positions designed to be played. or do rotating stations: at one station you do tactics sheets, at a second you play blitz, at a third you do a computer program or watch an opening video, at a fourth you have a snack and go to the bathroom. and switch stations every 20 minutes.third hour: play a game 30 and go over it with opponent/teacherI would probably have an emergency supply of colored pens and paper in case the younger kids can't handle 3 hours of chess. *unless you go to a NYC private school where grade = Age-6
That's odd, my pillow tag says "d3375."
Ms. Vicary,Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer.How do you handle kids that just don't want to be there and disrupt the class?Best wishes
How do I deal with them? The first time, I shoot them a nasty look, then I call them out in front of their peers, then I make them stand in the hall. But you have to be nice to them. Sometimes kids don't like chess because they don't win, and then the answer is to teach them the four move checkmate or 1. e4 e5 Nf3 Nc6 Bc4 Nd4 for black, or some instant gratification opening trap like that. If they are just young and can't focus for three hours on something as complicated as chess, then have supplies of picture books about chessdrawing and coloring supplies word searches about chessa chess program on your iphoneprint out some of the Kiril the Pawn stories from the online Scholar's Mate magazines for the kids to read quitely by themselves. I wouldn't offer them other games (like monopoly) because you will draw the other kids away from chess.
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