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Time Management

CHESSDEFENDER: Victoria Winifred


Now you’re sold, and would like to add chess to your classroom culture.

I anticipate that the following question may arise:

“Do you have any time management tips on how to fit chess into my day?”

How well I understand that challenge!

As can be true in chess, “time pressure” is an enormous issue and a constant challenge for teachers.

Here are some “spaces” that my own time management skills helped me identify; allowing me to insert chess into my daily plans.

Easy Ways to Make Time for Chess During the School Day

  • School CultureHave a demo board of the chessboard hanging on a wall. Refer to it as an example during different lessons, such as when learning longitude and latitude, finding a point on a grid, talking about rows and columns, etc. You will instinctively find many more connections (as will your pupils) that will snap many a student out of their doldrums!
  • Computer time during class: There are a number of chess websites that students can access as part of their media time. If necessary, ask a tech person in your district to unblock a site or two (as they may have automatically fall into “forbidden” URLs, since they are game-based). I’ve never been turned down when I explain it is for math enrichment or tech development. It’s important to have access to such a site or two, as sometimes only one child will want to play, or will be left over after pairings, so it becomes a great option for them.
  • Use the steps of gaining access to the chess site and signing in as instruction for a computer lesson!
  • If you have “Computer” as a “Special” in your school: inform the person in charge that students can work for fifteen minutes on a chess site as a reward.
  • Add “Chess” to your choice boards and reward options.
  • Add fiction and non-fiction chess books to your classroom library so that students can spend independent reading time learning about the game, or enjoying stories about it.

In-between Times for Chess

Time Management Chess Recess

  • Outdoor Recess: Take a chess set – or two or three – with you when you go to recess. Teach an interested student (and have others watch during your instruction.) Down the road, that student can teach classmates what they learned!
  • Indoor Recess: It would be well-worth your while to teach your students the game during these times. You will then have a ready-made answer for the question that all students love to ask: “What can I do when I’m done?”
  • Classroom parties: Not everyone may want to watch a movie. Let kids also have the option of playing chess quietly in the back of the room if they wish!
  • Does your school have kids “trickle in” at the beginning of school day, or at other times? If they are caught up on their work, chess is a great activity to fill that space, either with a classmate or online.

Think Outside of the Box (or Square!)

Chess for Enrichment time management for chess

  • Be bold: Set aside a half an hour or two a week and dub it an Enrichment Period. Openly give chess instruction and organize class tournaments by pairing students. (More info on class tournaments may be shared in a future blog.)
  • Use chess for a group who has not earned a different school activity privilege. For example, one of the schools where I taught had “Behavior Trips” for children with the least demerits received during a semester. The “well-behaved” kids get to go somewhere amazing half the day, while the others were left behind. Let’s just say I didn’t love that philosophy, so I had a chess tournament planned with the remaining kids after some perfunctory work was done. It was an organized activity that reminded them to focus. (Shh, they might have had some fun that day, after all!)
  • Sub Plans: Once you have some students who know the game, include some time for it in your plans. (Impress your sub !)
  • Chess is a “given” for end-of-year activities! Have a “chess party” and bring in the families to play with the kids!

Be creative with your time management! And don’t forget; they’d love for YOU to play the game with them (try it, you’ll love it!)

More support on this topic can be found at:


Welcome to my ChessDefender Blog!

My name is Victoria Winifred. I’ve been teaching elementary students since 2006, and my rosters have included both gifted and inclusive populations. Doubly certified as a mentor for teachers, I also have a “Chess in Education” graduate certificate. I’m here to provide support, strategies, and resources for including chess in your classroom.

What would help you? I welcome your ideas and questions, and would love to hear about your own experiences on the topic.

Your feedback will be considered for the blog if submitted. (Permission will first be asked if selected.)

Please write me at

I am also the author of a new award-winning children’s book.

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