Pupils Will Learn Chess as Tool For Focus

Posted on August 6, 2009 by admin

Houston Chronicle

Spring ISD
Sept 12, 2007

By Bill Breslin
Chronicle Correspondent

Spring school district officials have implemented a new program that utilizes the board game chess as a motivational learning tool.

The first lessons of the program called for First Move begin next week for second and third graders in 16 of the district’s 20 elementary schools, said Dalane Bouillion, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

“I think it is something innovative that will help kids think critically,” she said.  “They’ll become better problem solvers.”

The program, presented during Tuesday night’s board meeting, is also expected to provide social benefits, like building self-esteem, developing good sportsmanship and increasing the ability to focus, Bouillion said.

Four elementary schools – Bammel, Beneke, Jenkins and Meyer – will serve as the control group and not employ First Move.  At the end of the instructional year, schools with the program, or “treatment group,” will be evaluated and compared to the control group, Bouillion said.

Test Scores

The district hopes schools with the First Move program will improve in a number of areas, including test scores, attendance and discipline.

Superintendent Ralph Draper said the district wanted to introduce something that children will play on their own – where learning is fun and fun is learning.

“Kids don’t need to know that they’re learning, they just need to know they are having a good time,” he said.