02 August 2015

Chess Curriculum - Pre-chess

Returning to Chess Curriculum Inventory, after Chess Curriculum - Short Versions comes a full, stand-alone version.

No.2: Teaching Chess the Easy and Fun Way with Mini-Games • Kathy Price, Andre E. Zupans • 84 pages • Randolph-TeachingChesstheEasyFunWaywithMiniGames.pdf • subtitled 'Teach Clear Thinking, Promote Math Skills, Enhance Memory & Reasoning; Supporting the Common Core State Math Standards'

The philosophy behind the document can be gleaned from the section 'About the Authors' [p.03 (of the PDF)],

Kathy Price [...] developed this system of teaching chess to entire classrooms by trial and error with students in 1st through 6th grade classrooms. When one adult is facing 24 eager second graders with a variety of skills and interests, it became necessary to have an effective format that allows effective teaching and learning within constrained time limits to take place. • Andre Zupans [...] discovered that un-packing the game of chess in small Mini-Games was an effective way to teach chess. This educational guide has been designed on this principle.

and from the 'Introduction' [p.05]

The value of teaching chess to elementary age children is well researched. Occasionally we see schools that offer optional chess clubs or after school programs but arely we see it instituted in a whole classroom. Why? It is because most teachers do not know how to play or more importantly don’t have an effective system to teach chess to 24 or more active elementary students at once. This book is for that teacher!

Assuming a significant difference between 1st and 6th grade students, I would place the material at the younger end of that range. The document talks to a teacher responsible for a full class -- 'Classroom/Club Management' [p.15, with some good tips] and 'Supporting the Common Core State Standards in Math' [p.65-72, eight full pages] -- not to the students, and not to classes of one or two students.

The exercises can best be described as pre-chess or proto-chess. There is a full page of 'Game Variations' [p.56], e.g. Pocket Knight, Checkless Chess, etc. There are no full games, no openings, and few real-game situations. I expect that students come away eager to play a real chess game, when a more experienced chess teacher would necessarily take charge.

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