Today (May 20, 2010) was the first meeting of the Denton High School chess club. This was an organizational meeting for next fall. Eleven students attended (10 boys and one girl). When we were chatting informally during the chess games, one of the students, Luis, remembered my lessons from Strickland Middle School on Benjamin Franklin and chess etiquette (from People, Places Checkmates: Teaching Social Studies with Chess) and on the ABCD principles of chess (from Read, Write, Checkmate: Enrich Literacy with Chess Activities). I recognized several students from the middle school chess tournaments I’d run over the past six years.
Before we started chess games, we covered organizational details. Mr. Fred Mueller, Denton High School math teacher, is the club’s sponsor and I am the volunteer teacher. We set the following goals for 2010-2011: Draft a constitution and bylaws and elect officers; set dates for chess club that don't conflict with Boys JV tennis; play matches against the two other high schools in Denton; visit The University of Texas at Dallas Chess Club; have an in-class ladder and also allow for out-of-school matches among the chess club members to influence ladder standing. I recommended that students practice chess over the summer, using chess Web sites and playing Monday nights at Denton Chess Club (6-9 p.m. at the North Branch Library). I mentioned that I’d like to use the rotation that I taught at Strickland Middle School: One meeting for a ladder game, the next meeting for a Trainer-Trainee day, and the third meeting for a lecture by me followed by students practicing what I’d just taught. Then the three-meeting pattern would resume. After organizational discussion from 4:10 to 4:25, students played chess with each other until 5 p.m., when I needed to leave.