Children in Fresno not bored by board
Saturday October 27, 2012 8:49 AM
It’s not rock ’n’ roll or a deadly disease, but chess is contagious.
The richness of the game attracts young people in many ways. And, once they learn the game, it is hard to get them — or their teachers — away from it.
At Lowell Elementary School in a poor neighborhood in Fresno, Calif., dozens of fourth- and sixth-graders are no longer causing mischief in their free time after eating their noon meals.Instead, they’re spending their extra time playing chess in the school library.
Also, what was a hopeful response to chronic bedlam in the crowded lunchroom has been incorporated in the curriculum and is mandatory in each classroom for 20 minutes a day under the direction of trained teachers.
“It’s just really cool to learn,” said Lowell fifth-grader Rober Blanco. “When you learn it, you’ll have fun. It’s fun to play.
“I am getting higher grades and higher and higher,” he said. “Every time I get a C, then I come to chess — and I get my next weekly progress report, and I get a B.”
Added classmate Francisco Cornejo: “I just want to play chess forever.”
An insightful notion says that chess makes kids smarter.
But I’m certain that it isn’t so simple.These kids are already smart but are being challenged to show it.