05 June, 2006

Susan Polgar sends her regards.

Hello everyone! I was just told about this blog from Steve Carroll.

Australia is one of my all time favorite countries. I have so many wonderful memories there.

I wish you ALL the best and please feel free to visit my blog www.susanpolgar.blogspot.com. I will also put up a notice about your blog shortly.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

For those who dont know, Susan Polgar is one of the worlds biggest names in chess, and the first women to 'hold her own' against elite male chess players in the world. (Hope I got that right Susan!)
Her blogs are fascinating. Some of her passions are bringing chess into the lives of youth, and introducing and promoting chess to girls.
She's a champion of chess, and a champion of youth!Her efforts to promote chess to young people are truly inspiring. If you get a chance visit her sites listed above.
I particularly like her motto when teaching children: 'Win with grace, lose with dignity.'
I feel a discussion about chess and gender brewing! Stay tuned.
Steve Carroll
And true to her word, our humble little blog is now listed on Susans Blog:


Harry said...

Hi Steve,

I have been teaching chess today. I have a class on each day, except Monday, this week, at 4 different schools. The kids at South Castlemaine Primary School are wonderful to teach. They burn with enthusiasm and curiosity. They are just so motivated, interested, and happy, and they co-operate with the teacher. When they play chess they are so enthusiastic and they could play all day. They pick up everything so quickly. It is such a pleasure being in that kind of learning environment.

We have done maths exercises, chess co-ordinate system, annotation techniques, and soon we look at tactics and practice reflective writing about their strategies. The kids just talk incessantly about their moves and are intensely curious about the tactics used by other students. It is a lively and creative environment. I think primary school teachers have a terrific work place.

Regards Harry

Sam Grumont said...

Hi Harry,
Here’s a few notes in response to one of your previous emails.

Kids with low motivation – these kids usually have a history of failure and need some successes to gain confidence and to build upon.

If you think of Vygotsky 'what a child can learn with help today she can do by herself tomorrow', then the crucial aspect is support or scaffolding as Bruner says.

Structure is important – small steps for kids who are struggling. Sometimes the mucking about kids might be very able but bored with the work the teacher gives or the learning experiences used.

Classroom structure is important as well as a culture of learning, not getting away with games and off task things kids play. The teacher plays a crucial role e.g. if you can track a class for a day you can notice them performing differently in different subjects with different teachers.

Slow progress – you need to move from ‘hands-on’ having a go, to slowly introducing other concepts.

Build in reflection by first using a checklist for a self assessment and then move to deeper thought often expressed in writing but not always. I usually give kids some key questions What worked? What problems or challenges did you have? What will you do differently next time to improve?

Most of us learn by doing and when we experience some success we are open to thinking about what’s going on – the theory part.

The feedback from Carolyn and Ross has been very positive.

I’d like to meet with the chess group some time next week for an end of term review. I’ll arrange a possible time with Steve and let you know.



Harry Poulton said...

Hi Steve,

Ross Allengame showed me a ‘Progression Table Model’ which I now use with all my classes and it works brilliantly. There are 8 columns. The kids start off in Dungeon then when they win they move up to pawn, then Knight and so forth until they reach the Dragon column. They cannot progress with out a win and they can only play students in the same column. This enables me to monitor their chess skill level and help slow developers improve.

From the research perspective what is great about it is it can be cross referenced with other ‘Progression Tables’ in maths, for example the times tables where students are graded by levels of competency. Thus far generally (there are some interesting exceptions) their playing level on the Dungeon and Dragons ‘Progession Table’ reflects their levels of competency on the Times Table ‘Progression Table’. Now here is an interesting angle a couple of the boys who are not achieving high levels on the Times Table ‘Progression Table’ are thriving on the Dungeon and Dragons ‘Progession Table’ and my class teacher Peter, at Chewton P.S. says that the times table exercise is rote learning, what he described as Blooms Knowledge, whereas the chess cognitive processes are higher up on Blooms Taxonomy. Therefore these boys are thriving in an intellectually challenging game-play situation.
Regards Harry

Helen said...

Hi Steve
Thanks for this. You have really excited our photographer Max Lesser ( a chess freak with a difference) and he wants to know if he can have Harry Poulton's contact details? I would like to keep in touch with this program so can you let me know anytime you have potential photo opportunities or story ideas.
All the best
Helen Grimaux
(Castlemaine Mail)

steve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
steve carroll said...

If anyone wants to read an on-line version of an article in this months ACER magazine explaining how this project developed cut and paste the following link into your browser.

steve carroll said...

....then click on link: CHOOSE A PAGE.... MATHS SCIENCE, ENVIRONMENT....

and viola!!!!

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