03 May, 2008

2008 Begins

Before we knew it, 2008 was well and truly underway. As our ‘man-on-the-ground’ Sam Grumont has taken a coaching position in other parts Loddon, our link between the 12 schools is relying solely on e-mail. This will certainly make things challenging.

Our focus this year will be ‘whats happening in the classrooms’, and 'research perpsectives', and by the end of the year we want profiles from all of the schools, all of our tutors, and some insights into our research journey.

Harry and I are developing research projects, and will provide previews about what our research is about. By engaging in this on-line learning community you are participating in developing a form of data. Comments, contributions, and reflections, are all qualitative, valid forms of rich data called extant data.

So what you might ask? If you’re a teacher in Victoria you might (or might not) have noticed teachers are now mandated to have a documented 100 hours of professional learning every five years, and 50 of those hours have to have a research base, IF THEY ARE TO MAINTAIN THEIR TEACHER REGISTRATION. That’s a pretty radical shift in our working conditions, and one I haven’t heard too much discourse about on the coalface.

May I humbly suggest, participating in this project and joining in the conversation, may go towards meeting some of those criteria. I’ll explain in more detail in a future post.

On a slightly quirkier note, Thursday the 8th May sees the R-U-MAD (r u Making A Difference Day) being held at Castlemaine Secondary College, where the whole school community will be involved in examining the question: ‘what can you do to make a difference.?’

In Sydney, it also sees the launch of Chess: The Musical, held at Sydneys THEATRE ROYAL. No, I’m not mad and if you don’t believe me look here.

Let the game begin, and remember: white goes first!


Sam Grumont said...

Well fellas, it's good to see you up and going. I've had great reports from Maryborough Regional College, where the professor of chess Sir Harry Poulton is enthusing kids with his brand of chess magic. How is chess squared functioning this year in Mt Alexander cluster of schools?

Steve Carroll said...

Well Sam, lets just say its not the same without you! In answer to your question.....I've been asking myself the same thing.

Mark Johansson said...

Hi folks, I would also like to have a better sense of how things are going with chess in the Primary School Cluster. It would be helpful to get more feedback from teachers and principals re how well the program is working or any problems. That would provide some insight for me as I try to fit chess into our secondary school curriculum rather than just offering it as a very valuable out-of-class activity. I was also wondering if chess could be used more as a way of schools to mix, especially for classes students who have already received a year of tutoring, competed in the Gaol Tournament, etc? Akin to that, Harry and I would still like to get some of the Primary School students to the Junior Campus for a tournament.

Steve Carroll said...

Thanks Mark- great idea!
What we are trying to do is quite complex, but getting the schools working together will be a great challenge!
And we're always open to try something new.
We may be able to organsie some sort of on-line tournamnets with primary and secondaries playing together.
Lets think that one through!

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve, Sam and Mark. It is great to see everyone on the blog. Thanks Sam for your kind words about Maryborough and I miss seeing you at the schools when you came to mentor aspiring class teachers.
I want to bring Maryborough Education Centre-secondary students and the best of the primary school teams to CSC for a challenge tournament, and of course the best of the primary schools are Winters Flat and Ross Allengames all conquering Castlemaine P.S school team. Peter McConnell is the new principal at Castlemaine Primary School. He was remarkably supportive of chess when he was principal at Chewton.
We have about forty senior secondary students keen to play tournament chess and who come to chess club at Maryborough E.C.
Regards Harry

Steve Carroll said...

G'day Harry,
great to hear how things are going over at Maryborough. Maybe you could take some pics and do a story for the blog. It's a new school, and I've heard the design is something a bit special. I'd love to encourage as much interaction between Maryborough and Mt. Alexander cluster as possible, and look on them as an extension of our program.
I have to.....so that way I dont feel we've 'lost' you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Fellow Chess Pedagogues,
My topic is 'How Can Teachers Get Involved in the Classroom Chess Squared Program?
We discussed some interesting issues and themes over the past few years particularly how we can engage our class teachers in the program when they may have such little chess experience that it makes them feel somewhat on the fringes of the lesson.
The Chess Squared' program offers ample opportunity and scope for teachers, who may not be interested in chess, to develop 'Well Being' themes and topics. It is after all, in part a 'Well Being' initiative and that aspect of the program needs to be nurtured in the classes. Teachers could focus on helping tutors develop the VELs affective domain areas such as; resilience, impulse control, goal setting, making decisions in the heat of competition, and using a
range of techniques to manage anger and frustration in the face of defeat, and teaching kids to be accountable for their decisions and to learn from their mistakes -and all this in the context of a game.
All this is what the program was designed for as well as improving maths results and problem solving skills.
This is a program that is flexible and teachers can come on board and do interesting things with it if they want to.
What we tutors need to understand is teachers carry a big work load and also they all have their own vision, goals and pet projects and the teachers in the Mt Alexander Chess Squared program have been magnificent in their support of us.

Regards Harry