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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans
Checkmate

Project URL: 
http://teachnet-lab.org/ps101/chornik/chess/chessindex.htm


How it works:
Checkmate
is designed for students in grades five through eight. Students develop critical thinking skills and cause-and-effect relationships by planning strategic chess moves. Chess teaches students to think logically and take responsibility for their actions and consequences. As stated by the National Scholastic Chess Foundation, "Chess involves critical thinking, cultivates visualization skills, improves problem-solving skills, teaches concentration and self-discipline, rewards determination and perseverance, raises self-esteem, promotes good sportsmanship, encourages socialization skills that extend across cultures and generations, and chess is fun!" In this program,  the Internet is used as a resource in researching the history of chess and the roles played by the people each chess piece is named for. Creative writing, word processing, and editing skills are incorporated as students write a play that is set in medieval times. "The play's the thing" as the students become actors, producers, and directors in order to present their skit.

Standards addressed: 
Students read and comprehend at least four books on the same subject, or by the same author, or in the same genre.
They produce a response to literature and a narrative account, participate in group meetings, prepare and deliver a presentation, demonstrate a basic understanding of the rules of the English language in written and oral work, analyze and subsequently revise work to improve its clarity and effectiveness, respond to drama using interpretive and critical processes, produce work in a genre that follows the conventions of the genre, and predict outcomes. They understand cause-and-effect relationships, understand and apply basic principals of logic and reasoning, understand basic problem-solving techniques, apply decision-making techniques, and interpret and synthesize information.

Materials used: 
Required materials include a computer with Internet capabilities, along with a printer, scanner, digital camera, and digital video camera.

The students:
Checkmate
was created for fifth graders but is appropriate for students in grades five through eight. The students attend P.S. 101 in Brooklyn, New York, and the classes are heterogeneously grouped. Because of the cooperative learning activities, students of varying abilities and skill levels work well together.

Overall value:
In this program, the Internet is used both as a research tool and a means to "playing chess games," resulting in students becoming motivated learners. Additionally, students gain confidence by working in cooperative groups and develop pride while writing and performing an original skit or play.

Tips: 
Writing a folk tale or fable instead of a play or skit also works well with this program, which can also be done in collaboration with teachers and students from other schools.

Carolyn Hornik has been a New York City public school teacher for twenty five years (12 years as a classroom teacher in third, fourth, and fifth grades and 13 years as a technology coordinator.) She teaches in-service courses for the New York City Board of Education After School Professional Development Program and on-line courses for new teachers through Teachers Network.

Chornik@aol.com

Estimated Class Periods To Complete: 10 or more

Subject: English, Social Studies

Beginning Grade Level: 4

Ending Grade Level: 8

 

 

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