Pilar Jimenez- Tarkington School of Excellence
Congratulations to Pilar of Jeffrey Kirschner's second grade class at Tarkington School of Excellence in Chicago, IL. Pilar was nominated as this month's First Mover. Read her story below....
“Pilar is a very hard working second grade student who does well in all subjects. During chess lessons she has usually been pretty quiet and I haven't given her as much attention as I would like. During recess most of the class is always asking to play chess Pilar doesn’t always choose this option.
Last week we learned to move the queen in the first year chess curriculum. She looked especially bored. When it was time to play some practice games One student was absent and Pilar didn't have a partner. I decided to play her. So far not all but many of the students who have learned to move all the pieces are skilled at a second grade specialty; filled with enthusiasm, and faster than the speed of sound, they are piece gobblers. If you teach second grade and are not sure that your students fit this category just let them play during a 15 minute recess, watch carefully, and if you see that they have played more than one game and that one opponent has captured the others king early on, but they are still playing, then you will know that they have transitioned from regular students to true gobbler status. They will sacrifice any piece just to be able to capture one.
On this particular day, I let them play, Pilar very quietly set up the board while I went to check on other kids. She wanted me to be white. I moved my pawn out to the center. She moved a pawn out king-side one space. I moved out my knight. Then she started countering most of my moves, and also built up an amazing wall of pawns. All the while she very quietly humming and got several of my pieces using forks.
We didn't get to finish the game during the time left in class. It lasted at least a half hour. This was a great case of the teacher getting schooled. Don’t forget we are lifelong learners. It also helps to understand the importance of individualizing instruction and properly assessing our students.”
Pilar is a shining example of the higher level thinking skills First Move emphasizes. Congratulations Pilar!
Chad Toussaint - Lincoln Elementary
Chad is an extremely bright Third Grader here at Lincoln School. He is younger than the other students in our class because he skipped kindergarten. Chad is an eager, enthusiastic learner of everything we present to him during the school day.
When we began the First Move Program, he would ask every day if he was going to receive his chess set to take home. I explained that he would be getting the set after our class had learned about all the pieces and how they moved. But he still continued to ask every week! Chad's father is sick at home and Chad wanted to bring his chess set home, so that he and his dad could play chess together.
We have learned that chess is much more than a game. It is about positive socialization, displaying manners, and enabling a higher order thinking process. It also is an escape for a lot of kids. Chad writes about his chess moves and imagines the days of battles, Kings, Queens, Knights, Bishops, Pawns, and Castles. Thank you for letting us bring this into his life.
Pictured is Chad Toussaint along with First Move Teacher Margaret “Peg” Sullivan from Lincoln Elementary School in Springfield Massachusetts
Caleb Jones - Donnelly Elementary
Caleb is in his second year with the First Move chess program. He has an excellent grasp of the strategies of the game. He uses his knowledge to assist other students. On Saturday Jan 31 he entered the 2009 SOUTHWEST IDAHO SCHOLASTIC NOVICE CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP. Caleb won every game he played and so earned the 1st place trophy in the 3rd Grade division. He was polite, respectful, and a good sport in every game he played. I am proud of his ability, his generosity in sharing his skills and his good sportsmanship.
Caleb Jones pictured with First Move teacher Debbie McCoy from Donnelly Elementary School, Donnelly Idaho.