Before I began teaching each group, I explained my expectation of their raising hands before they speak, in the lecture setting, to allow everyone a chance to think without the answers being given away. For the beginner group, I also stated that hands need to be in laps during lectures (rather than playing with chessmen).
I also mentioned that I will give a warning for inappropriate classroom behavior and that a second instance will mean that they need to go see the Chess Program Director. I had a demonstration board and, nearby, one chess set for every two children for the “practice” parts of my lesson plan. The groups rotated to me (30 minutes each) in the order of Intermediate, then Beginner, then Advanced. There was a parent volunteer in my classroom.
For each group, I asked each student about their participation in music or sports. My follow up question was to ask if, during music or sports practices, the student always played a whole game or if the coach conducted drills. After all students had a chance to share, I said that my class will be for chess drills. Just as one must practice scales in music or shooting free throws in basketball, one must practice drills in chess too. Besides, they get to play whole games when they leave the lesson and return the main room.
Rook Day for Beginners and Intermediates (two separate classes)
Rook Maze. This lesson plan is in more detail in my book Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving, Mazes and Monsters lesson activity. Briefly, in a rook maze, the black pawns and pieces do not move. A white rook captures one chessman on each move. I called on each child to say one move, in algebraic notation, for each move of the rook maze on the demonstration board until all the black chessmen were captured. I made sure there were as many black chessmen on the demonstration board as there are children in the beginner group. Revision for Intermediate group: The group had to write the notation of the maze solution before making the maze moves on the board.
Practice: The children set up rook mazes for each other on their chess boards and played out those mazes.
Rook Day for Advanced Players
I asked how many were familiar with the K and R versus K checkmate and most students raised their hands. I briefly went over the two methods (opposition method and box method) for this checkmate on the demonstration board.
Then the students partnered up to practice the one-rook checkmate with each other. I offered to test anyone who felt ready to demonstrate their knowledge of the checkmate. Two students got tested. One checkmated in 20 moves from White: Ke1, Ral versus Black Ke5 and another student was not making progress after 25 moves so I stopped the test.
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