Over the past four days I have been promoting chess in education at the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) annual conference in Dallas, Texas (November 12-14) and at the Turkey Tournament (1st through 12th grade, November 15) in Fairview, Texas. At TAGT, I was part of The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) vendor booth.
We were promoting the UT TeleCampus online courses for educators; my books - Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators and Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving; the summer chess camps at UTD; and the full-ride scholarships available to UTD, the #1 chess university in the US. When conference attendees walked past the booth, I sometimes called out, "Are you interested in chess for your classroom or school?" Many who walked past shuddered and said either "No" or "I do not have time to learn (or teach) chess." A better approach, which I did not think of until Friday, was to ask, "Are your students interested in chess?" Then the answer was usually "yes." Then, having caught their attention, I explained how to link their students' interest in chess to educational goals.
At the Turkey tournament, I had a nametag (in the shape of a turkey) declaring that I was an honored guest. I enjoyed meeting many parents, students, chess coaches, and the district curriculum coordinator. Unlike at TAGT, the people at the tournament already believed in the value of chess. All of them were giving up their entire Saturday to be a part of a chess event. Many of them asked me for information that they could present to decision-makers about why chess should be in schools. In my replies, I shared insights from my books and online courses.
One unique twist at the Turkey tournament was the first three finishers in each section earned trophies. But the fourth place finisher in each section got a frozen turkey.