The Las Cruces Chess Academy believes in first beginning with a discussion about the chess board that is very inquiry based where I ask the students what they see on the board (squares, numbers, letters, diagonals, etc.) The Las Cruces Chess Academy lays a strong foundation of the game (how the chess pieces move), asessing how much background knowledge each individual child already possesses about the game. I then move onto chess openings that have been used in high level tournament play, explaining the theory behind each move on the board. Followed by going over themed games, where each child plays those moves against their peers until they have to rely on their own logic and strategies for attacking or defending on the board.
I also set up chess problems on a demo board; I explain the type of tactic being used, and have each child explain their ideas about how to best solve the problem. This gives them confidence in their own thinking. If students have difficulty with a specific problem, I then scaffold their learning by giving them options that could possibly solve the problem; and finally it increases their self-esteem to visualize the best possible solution and to be able to express it in algebraic form.
Lastly, I believe that practice is essential; and therefore, students have ample opportunities to play chess and apply what they have learned several times during any given class.