What is the MATCH curriculum?
The MATCH curriculum is a comprehensive chess program based on the training methods Grandmaster Maurice Ashley has been using effectively for over 25 years with the students in his classes, camps and private coaching. If you’ve seen Maurice teach, then you know that he keeps his classes moving and entertaining as he instructs with dynamic interaction and fun activities. We’ve taken all of that and crammed it into a curriculum that includes not just the content, but the activities and games that make his teaching so engaging. It is all provided in a digital presentation format so you can easily focus on teaching your students. No more hustling to pull together puzzles or other activities. The lessons are planned out and waiting for you to bring it to life. If you would like, you can also purchase the hard copy student manuals or simply print out the specific resources you want to incorporate.
How else can the MATCH curriculum help you grow your chess program while freeing you up to focus on what you love?
The MATCH program is in a format that is familiar to schools and parents. You will be able to step right in and get started. Each lesson plan has the objectives, materials needed, and other key information right on the front page. The lesson content is in a slideshow format. No need to fumble with a demonstration board. All you have to do is click and the pieces move around. The graphics were designed by professional designers to show nice contrast in a brightly lit classroom, so your students will not have any trouble seeing the pieces or the board clearly. Along those lines, each level has a test with an answer key so students can demonstrate what they have learned and feel the sense of confidence and accomplishment that comes with reaching a defined milestone.
The level system, the visible organization and progression, weekly assignment sheets, classroom checklists, and thoughtfully designed student work will, in addition to making your life easier and motivating students, help your program stand out in a sea of other options for enrichment activities. These features will add a level of professionalism and transparency that will serve as consistent reminders to key stakeholders such as parents, administrators and others of the value of your program.
We have integrated academic content into the curriculum to help kids generalize what they learn in chess club to the rest of their lives. This serves the additional benefit of being a visible reminder to all of your stakeholders of the benefits of your program. Our customers tell us that many parents and school personnel tell them that their kids are in the program for what it can do to improve cognitive and academic skills, not for the sake of chess itself. These parents will see writing, math, geography, history and more – all blended into the curriculum – and be reminded that chess will help their kids succeed in all areas.
Also, there is ongoing marketing that will help you retain your current customers and bring new ones on board without the kind of intrusive marketing that drives people crazy. If your customers are happy, they will spread the word. If others see students with attractive workbooks and other materials, it will prompt them to ask questions which will prompt your customers to answer, and, sometimes, with that answer will come a bit of show and tell that will allow your soon-to-be leads to see that your program includes fabulous chess, academic and life skills content.
Skill builders are drills that hone essential chess skills using a game format that turns what could be boring into something kids beg to do repeatedly. Once a skill builder is learned, it can be used throughout the curriculum. As they practice, their skills improve, their learning will deepen, especially if you introduce increasingly difficult challenges by adding pieces to the activity or decreasing the time allowance, etc.
If you are familiar with the Pawn Game, you will be familiar with this phenomenon. In this activity, students play a game with only pawns. The player who gets a pawn to the other side of the board wins. Beginning students will primarily be reinforcing how the pieces and pawns capture. Once that is mastered, students begin to experiment with and learn about the impact of different pawn positions (pawn structure) on the board, something even advanced chess players continue to study.
Depending on your situation, the MATCH Curriculum may be all you need. By the end, students will be able to play full, strong games. It’s possible that time constraints, staffing availability or other factors make it so that the curriculum will be more than sufficient. However, after the formal curriculum lessons end, students will want to continue to meet and play chess, moving from a class type structure to more of a club feel. If the latter, you can still use aspects of the curriculum to enrich the experience. For example, the skill builders, chess variants, enrichment activities, other fun activities (e.g., chess relays, etc. [link], tournament and analysis modules, etc.) will provide variety and make sure that students keep learning and improving.
If you want to expand your program, the tools you need to do so economically and sustainably are at your fingertips. How might that look?
Our program includes a full beginner’s curriculum designed so that the non-chess player can teach it. Picture your program like an upside down funnel. At the base, you will have far more beginners than other levels, so you can provide a high-quality introductory program to these students using less experienced teachers. As your students move up, you can transition them to an experienced chess coach to assess their level and plan a program of study that addresses their particular needs. However, with a strong beginner’s program, you can bring on your experienced coaches where they are needed – at the higher levels.
You can maintain program consistency by continuing to use key features of the curriculum such as assignment sheets, skill builders, key activities, advanced Pawn Mower (puzzle) books, the MATCH scorebook, supplemental lessons (e.g., chess history, chess math, tournament and analysis modules, enrichment activities) and chess variants. This fits with one of the pieces of feedback that we have consistently heard from schools and other organizations: when businesses send different coaches, they get variable teaching styles and content that seem haphazard or inconsistent. Coaches trained in the MATCH methods can pick and choose activities that fit their students’ needs and will carry forward the engaging, dynamic style they honed by using the curriculum, so that all of the coaches you use will deliver a recognizably similar service, which helps to promote your brand.
The curriculum and associated planning and tracking tools make it easy to plan for your entire team. And, if one of your teachers is absent, a substitute can step right in and take over, never missing a beat. No boring, random repeats of material or, worse, jumps ahead that skip important knowledge. Furthermore, even if your substitute isn’t a chess player or fully trained, our materials will allow them to jump in and provide an engaging lesson with very little training. Rather than give a lesson, they can focus on academic-related activities, art activities, chess activities that don’t require background knowledge and/or skill builders that are easy to learn but still support the established lesson progression. There are several strategies that you can use –
- Train volunteers or substitutes to use the skill builders so that you can assign them to run those activities during regular classes or when substituting.
- Print out specific activities (chess-focused or not) that fit the knowledge and skills of your volunteer or substitute staff. The included online training videos can assist in the training process. No need to train them in using the entire curriculum.
- The curriculum makes it easy to use parents, volunteers or even one time helpers who don’t know how to play chess to help lighten your load.
Optional books and printable posters flush out the curriculum, making your life easier and helping you create a professional brand.
Checklists, tracking forms and free tracking spreadsheets (paper or digital) help you track what each student has learned and what has been covered in each class. These features make it easy to use substitutes or switch instructors when necessary, assure that students don’t end up with gaps in their knowledge, assess students’ knowledge level for special programs such as summer camps, track what your staff is accomplishing and demonstrate progress to key stakeholders.
Training and blog content address specific challenges that you and your staff may face such as how to deal with disruptive students, how to make your class more engaging, general classroom management strategies, different strategies for running your classroom (from a linear approach to using stations that allow you to address the needs of students of different levels and let your kids move around the room), etc.
The training videos to help you train yourself and staff to do the kinds of fun and engaging activities that will make your classes even more interesting than one with just straight chess content, really making your class a place students will be clamoring to return and bring their friends.
The approach of the curriculum helps everyone. The complexities of chess are broken down so that students focus on learning component skills before integrating them into a full chess game. This is a great way for students to learn, especially for younger students. Many a frustrating game has occurred because students haven’t mastered how each piece moves before trying to play a full game. Skill builders provide the necessary practice while making sure that students are having a blast even when they aren’t playing a full game. This approach has the added benefit of helping newbie teachers master what they need to know to teach their lessons without having to be overwhelmed by learning all of the rules and intricacies at once, boosting their effectiveness and ensuring their confidence is high and that they have the focus and energy to fully engage their students as a teacher.