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On Oct. 21, a second try to talk ‘soft skills’ with GothamSchools

Above, clockwise from left: GothamSchools readers look on during Paul Tough’s talk Sept. 29 at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School; Tough spoke about his new book, “How Children Succeed”; guests grab snacks before claiming a seat; and I.S. 318 chess teacher Elizabeth Spiegel answers questions after the event.

If you missed our event last weekend with author Paul Tough – or even if you made it — you might want to mark your calendar for Sunday, Oct. 21.

That afternoon, we’ll be taking over an auditorium at Lincoln Center for a special showing of “Brooklyn Castle,” the new movie that documents the stunning successes of the chess team at Brooklyn’s I.S. 318. More details about the event, including information about discounted ticket prices, will come next week.

The I.S. 318 chess team figures prominently in Tough’s new book, “How Children Succeed,” and in the excerpt that we published when the book first came out last month. Tough says the team’s coach, Elizabeth Spiegel, embeds instruction that builds character into her chess lessons. Spiegel and John Galvin, I.S. 318’s assistant principal, will answer questions about the team and what chess can teach students after the film.

I.S. 318’s chess team is impressive — and unique. One piece of feedback we heard repeatedly last weekend was a request for examples of how teachers can build character without retooling their curriculum or adding more teaching time. In the Community section today, parent Jennifer Freeman offers one example, as she describes a seemingly quotidian activity with hidden benefits at her children’s former preschool:

At the Weekday School at Riverside Church, there used to be a central piece of curriculum that taught preschool children self-control, empathy, and social skills, as well as basic math. That curriculum was called lunch.