Saturday, November 05, 2005

Chess success I guess

Introducing chess to the kindergartners was a success, I guess. I doubt many of them will want to participate next time. But that may be a better thing. If I can work with a small group, they'll get more out of it and can teach the others if they become interested.

The chess presentation was at Choice Time, where the kids get to choose what to do. About half of the twenty kids claimed to know how to play chess, and they came over. I had the wall board, plus one set on the table. My objective was just to convey that chess is a game where each piece has its own special way of moving, and then let the kids suggest moves that could be made in a demonstration game.


They're five.

They showed interest and focus. But they're five. There was lots of happy chatter from the other kids who chose not to participate, and lots of happy chatter from our group too. I have trouble coping with noise, and my voice is kind of windy and mushy due to ALS. So I couldn't cut through the noise and modulate my voice to keep their attention like I would have been able to a year ago.

Some wanted to show me their bracelets that they'd made from macaroni, some wanted to say that their brother plays chess, some wanted to tell me that they know how to play chess but not how the pieces move, one girl explained castling, which was way in advance of what most of the kids knew, while everyone else was talking, including me, and one girl wanted to kiss my son on the cheek.

Fair enough.

At a certain point I sensed that I was losing them. This was when one boy was telling the other boy about a toy he had at home. I set up a game between two kids who did know how to play, hoping that the others would watch. They watched. With their hands. They're five, and they wanted to move the pieces, several at a time. Then the boys started chanting fun, slightly raunchy rhymes at each other, and using the pieces like dive bombers, to get a laugh.

They wanted to have fun.

Fair enough.

I'm making this sound like a disaster, when it wasn't. I introduced chess to them and showed them the pieces. Mission accomplished. The teacher invited me to keep coming back, but I'll want to talk to her about how to improve on the situation.
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by