By Guest Blogger Coach Jay Stallings
It’s going to happen. A child will be embarrassed about losing to a younger player. A student will accuse another of cheating and you of allowing it. You will offend a student without even realizing it. What you do next is critical!
First…What NOT to do:
- Lose control.
- Give the teacher glare
- Talk, talk, talk.
If you lose control of yourself, you will lose control of your class, and you will lose the respect of many of your students.
Giving the teacher glare challenges the student and the class and demonstrates that you don’t have the ability to do anything more than that. Continue reading “De-Escalating Confrontation at Chess Club”
Teaching a class with children with different skill levels can seem quite daunting. Chess coaches facing this challenge have devised interesting tricks over the years to stimulate inexperienced students while keeping the advanced ones focused. Here are some ideas and activities that you can use to keep your classroom buzzing.
- Focus on activities that allow those of different levels to learn different things (e.g., the Pawn Game and Domination – In the pawn game, beginning students focus on how the pieces move and capture and advanced students learn about pawn structure. In Domination, both groups improve their board visualization skills).
Continue reading “Classroom Tips for Chess Teachers ~ Managing Varied Skill Levels”
Use Learning Stations to Manage Staff and/or Differing Ability Levels in Chess Classes
A common challenge for chess teachers is finding ways to manage students with different levels of skill or learning speeds in one classroom. Another challenge is how to make the most of help offered by volunteers and others who may not know how to play chess and may change frequently. Luckily, both of these problems can both be addressed with the same solution: learning stations.
Stations are often used in preschool and early elementary school, but can be used effectively at any age. Each ‘station’ or ‘learning center’ is designed to facilitate a particular activity. Many times, the activities at each station are completed independently (e.g., completing a chess puzzle) while the teacher works with a small group of students (e.g., covering lesson material). Sometimes students are allowed to pick and choose among activities; other times, they must complete all offered fare.
Continue reading “Liven Up Your Chess Class with Learning Stations”
Divide group into teams. Each team gets a board. Teams are set up in two different rooms or far enough away so that they cannot hear the other team’s deliberations. A third board is placed in the between the two groups with a clock. The game is played on the middle board, but it is copied on each team’s board. Runners go to the middle board, make a move, and hit the clock. If the runner forgets to hit the clock, time continues to run in the other team’s favor. Ideally, coaches or teachers work with each team on their move, planning ahead while the runner waits for the other team’s move. Once the other team makes a move, the runner comes back, makes the move on the team board and waits (or another runner gets ready) for the next move. Teachers and coaches do not offer specific moves, but general help, such as asking questions (e.g., What other moves would be good? What do you think the other team is planning?). Continue reading “10 Great Chess Activities for Clubs, Classes & Schools”
Why move? Movement increases blood flow to the brain and improves attention. It stimulates the release of chemicals in the body (such as noradrenalin and dopamine) that help kids feel good, increases energy levels, and (the icing on the cake) improves memory. For young children and those with certain learning styles, movement in the classroom can make the difference between success and failure. Some children seem to NEED to move in order to learn, but it can facilitate learning for all children. Besides, movement can make learning more fun, and who doesn’t learn better that way?!
How to move: There are many ways to incorporate movement into a chess lesson. When you first start introducing more movement into your Continue reading “How Allowing More Movement in the Classroom Can Benefit Your Chess Lessons”
Introduction: Every teacher or coach knows that some kids are eager to participate in group discussions while others are more likely to hang back. Calling on different students can help, but it also risks making some kids uncomfortable. Most of us can remember occasions where we were terrified that the teacher would call on us, or the sinking feeling and embarrassment of not knowing the answer when we were called on. For most students, chess is a voluntary endeavor, so we are particularly motivated to do what we can to make the class a positive experience. So, how can we encourage active participation while reducing the probability of negative experiences? Here are a few ideas. If you have others, we would love to hear them. If you try any of these, we would love to hear how it goes.
Automatic Pauses: Give an automatic 30-60 second pause after asking a question. You don’t need to do this every time, of course. Develop a Continue reading “Encouraging Active Participation in Chess Class”