Mrs. Eagle and I came up with the idea of starting a Chess and Boardgame Club at our school last year.
The way we figured it, our kids spend way too much time in front of video games, need critical thinking skills, and could use a little training in the way of sportsmanship. Our principal loved the idea and they decided to make it part of our after school program for at-risk kids (in other words, it's funded by a grant) but open it up to the population at large.
We had 42 kids show up for the first meeting today.
Now, some of these 42 are pretty bright. They're the A students and this is right up their alley. On the other hand, a lot of them aren't in that category. Some of them, as a matter of fact, aren't doing so hot in my classes, but the idea of getting together after school to play chess and boardgames was just the ticket to get them excited about school.
Several things I've learned:
We need a much bigger room. Much bigger. Even with two adjoining classrooms, it was packed. We stuck the kids who already knew how to play chess in one room (so they could concentrate) and the others were still practically on top of each other.
Risk is huge. Especailly LOTR Risk. Cardgames are tough because they can't shuffle to save their lives. The liked Sorry and Monopoly as well.
I have a lot more kids who want to play chess than I expected, incluing one little sixth grader who's just floating on air because he "whupped an 8th grader!" in chess. Some of these kids are GOOD. (I am not good, for the record, I'm barely adequate.)
I want to get them to a tournament or host one. The thought of the local paper running an article about my kids playing chess and BEATING kids from the wealthier schools (especially the smarties froma magnent school) is something I fantasize about. I hate the fact that my kids get looked down a lot because they don't go to a school in the wealthy part of town.
More than one wanted to know if they could do this every day after school not just one day a week. (Oh dear Lord, save me!)