Chess in Schools - making a difference in the classroom!
September 2019

The fall semester has begun and schools are using chess as the vehicle to teach academic and life skills. This month's issue features a primary school and a chess professional development opportunity. We also offer an adaptation of an article from ChessPlus on questions to ask as you plan for the new school year. Of course we have our monthly Word Wall selection, and finally a bit of good news from the IRS.

Let us hear from you! We would love to feature your school's chess activities in a future edition.

Jerry Nash
National Chess Education Consultant
Chess Class Imparts Life Skills

Carla Douglas teaches PE at the primary school in Eufaula, Alabama. Carla also has the opportunity to teach chess during the school day.

She values chess for what the game offers her students: "I use chess to broaden the students cognitive abilities and problem-solving capacity." She often uses a chess puzzle to spark a collaborative conversation with her class.

She regularly points out critical life skills: "I motivate them to win and teach them how to deal with defeat. This is an important lesson, and it should be taught at a young age."

Carla encourages other teachers to consider adding chess activities into their schedule. "I know the gains chess would bring if a classroom teacher used it in their daily curriculum."
"60 Minutes" Chess Coach Offers Chess Class for Educators

A workshop for teachers will be offered October 23-24, at the Franklin Chess Center in Meadville, MS. Led by Dr. Jeff Bulington, the two-day workshop will enable participants to "learn about teaching methods and basic content for introducing chess in various school contexts." Dr. Bulington's chess program was featured in 2017 in a CBS 60 Minutes segment .

Workshop topics will include, "basic rules and vocabulary, specific instructional methods, connections to mathematics and literacy, and additional resources." The course is open to anyone who is interested in offering chess in schools even without prior knowledge of the game.

The deadline for registration is October 14, 2019. Visit the announcement at the University of Mississippi's website for additional information and the link to registration.

8 Questions for Teachers at the Beginning of the School Year!

Adapted from the September 2019 First Rank Newsletter of our friends at ChessPlus. Our comments are given in italics.

Good planning of the chess year increases the effectiveness of your lessons. Here are some questions to consider:

1) What do I want to achieve with chess?

You can limit yourself to chess as a tool, but then think about the subjects in which you want to use and you can use chess: mathematics (geometry, arithmetic, etc.), geography, history, physical education, languages. However, you can also set up a school chess club, if the enthusiasm of parents and children is high enough. Schools that have participated in the our Chess in Schools programs have access to the CIS Resource Library with a variety of lesson plans.

2) Who can help me in organizing chess activities?

You can do it on your own, but two persons have more ideas than just one. The larger the group of colleagues who collaborate, the better it will be for the quality, the fun and the experience of success. Plan now to take a teacher team to one of the professional development courses that Chess in Schools offers each summer.

3) How can I convince my colleagues and management?

Our colleagues in Europe use this promotional video to highlight he extensive use of Chess in Education on that continent. Within the next few months we hope to release a new website devoted exclusively to Chess in Education with deep and substantive content. For now, our Chess in Schools website provides CIE news, the latest on CIE research, and ideas for developing a local CIE program.

4) How can I improve myself as a chess teacher?

The 'Trial and Error' approach undoubtedly leads to efficient education. However, it takes a lot of time before it becomes truly efficient. It may be useful to take a teacher team to one of the professional development courses that Chess in Schools offers each summer.

5) What internal factors should I take into account in my planning?

Of course, you have to take into account many factors: the number of children playing chess, their level (how can you differentiate?), the helpers you can count on (possibly even stronger pupils (from higher years)), the classroom and the equipment you have, the time of teaching and if the lessons take place outside class hours, you also have to take into account the parents.

6) How can I keep motivating my students (especially the weaker ones)?

Always analyze why the children are enthusiastic: some of them are more interested in the fun, the group atmosphere and are less involved in the game. To add variety to your schedule, connect chess to other abilities such as art and music. You can also organize an event at school and develop something special for it (exhibition, special tournament, guest chess player, etc.) and link cross-curricular teaching content to it (have invitations written, have items ordered, have a poster designed, etc.).

7) If I have already given chess lessons, what needs to be improved?

No doubt a number of things did not work as well last year. Analyze them and try to find improvements, change your course (and/or code of conduct), expand it or try other methods (in view to differentiation).

8) Finally, what should I not forget?

In a chess in school program, you want to develop student's skills. That takes time, but that time flies by when a) it's fun and b) you still spend at least 50% of the time on game activities (where the knowledge can be converted into skill). Alternatives to chess skill building activities are those connecting existing chess knowledge to life skills or critical thinking skills.
Chess Word Wall
Decoy – “A tactic that lures an opponent’s piece to a particular square.” (Winning Chess Strategies, Seirawan, p. 240)

Connections :
History: In wars throughout history, decoy tactics have been used to win skirmishes or battles. Choose one of the examples provided, research, and write about it. Be sure to discuss whether the tactic was used either successfully or unsuccessfully and by which side.

1. Custer’s last stand at the Little Bighorn
2. Civil War: Battle of Gettysburg or Battle of Lookout Mountain
3. World War II: D-Day
4. Korean War: Battle of Inchon
Chess in Schools is Now a 501(c)(3) Public Charity

Chess in Schools LLC has always operated as a public charity by virtue of being a single-member limited liability company of the Alabama Chess Federation, a 501(c)(3) corporation.

On September 18, 2019, the IRS classified our organization a 501(c)(3) public charity in its own right. This means that donors may now make tax-deductible charitable donations directly to CIS instead of channeling such donations through the Alabama Chess Federation. This status qualifies Chess in Schools for certain free software and services offered only to public charities.
222 Placid Ln,
Tuscaloosa, AL 35406
888–400-7182 ext.3
Chess in Schools LLC is a 501(c)(3) public charity.