When I got into education I knew right away I was not interested in teaching younger children. They frighten me. Trying to control a group of five year olds would feel like herding cats. When I found out I had a group of twenty five from first to third grade I was terrified.
The first day was a nightmare. I had no idea I was going to get so many younger players. I had to get inovative I handling so many very young chess players. They learned the very basics, but little else. I tried teaching relative position value (knight worth three and rook worth five), but that was sort of pointless. Even the concept of checkmate was too much. Successes we're playing musical chair chess (start music and go around in a circle, music stops and you sit at closest board to continue play) and giving small no cash prizes to winners in a tournament setting.
Thankfully the second go round after break were restricting players to fifth grade and up. Planning for this to be a bit more serious and we can learn some real chess focused on tactics improvement. Really looking forward to that. We'll have a mix of play and improvement. Hoping I can actually build some form of a team and then host a tournament that others schools might attend. We shall see.
I miss my chess program back at Meridian High School. I felt like I had built it into something consistent. We weren't great and winning many trophies, but we were respectable and made it to the state tournament every year. I still get the Whatcom County chess emails from Randy Kaech and I see that some of our players are doing well. Both Kylan and JP have seen their ratings accelerate quickly this year. That's not a surprise as each showed a strong interest in learning more about the game. If one of my Meridian clan reads this and sees them in the hallway please give each a high five.