So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm Not Ready Yet!

Tomorrow is the first day of chess club at our school.  We wait until after football season is over, since my son and several of the other boys play football.  That just makes it too hectic for my wife and I to get every place we need to be, so chess waits.  Of course, as I mentioned in previous posts, I made great plans for moving forward this year.

I love the "whooshing" sound that great plans make as they blow right out the window.

We bought a chess curriculum last year, and I might still be able to use it.  Hopefully I can do that enough to becomes at least familiar with it.  I have a little more time, since this week is just the first week, and is really about getting acquainted.  As I said this morning, the kids should break down into four groups, who can be generally dealt with separately.

The first group are the kids who were coming last year.  They all know the rules, and can actually play a game.  Some of the older kids are decent players.  We will set up a chess ladder like last year, although I need to look at some of my "lessons learned" from last year.  Nonetheless, those kids can be turned loose to play for the first day if need be.  This is an easy group.

Group two consists of those kids who willingly admit they have no clue how to play.  These are the children who just admit up front they can't even move the pieces correctly.  This is the other easy group, since we have material to teach them with, and nearly anyone can use the material.  Typically, my wife takes this group and brings them along.

The last two groups are the hardest, since they need assessment.  The better of the two are those kids who are mature enough to know if they can play chess or not, but don't have much experience.  They may fit in great with the returning members, but also could be intimidated.  Helping them level the playing field is important.

The toughest group are the kids who truly believe the know how to play, but don't.  In the same group are those who are too embarrassed to admit they don't know how to play.  Either way, you have to get them to the point where they know it's okay to be learning the game from the ground up.  That's a particularly tough job. Last year, I had a girl in the club who could not grasp all of the rules, but insisted she did to the frustration of her opponents.  She was crying at the end of the year, because she never won a game.  How could she?

In the end, all of these groups will resolve into two; those who know the rules and those who don't.  When we figure out where everyone is at, then we will know how to proceed.  All that really matters is that the kids get a bit of a mental workout, and have fun playing!

It's Your Move!

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