The core of our online chess club is a weekly small group class. Sometimes we call these semi-private lessons too - they're really small! The general maximum is eight kids, and we have even fewer students in our Pawns classes, for players who don't yet know the rules of chess. After new students go to a Getting Started meeting, they're ready to schedule classes!
We offer 55 minute classes every weekday afternoon at 3:30pm, 4:30pm, and 5:30pm (all times EST), plus classes during the day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. There are lots of choices! Families are welcome to either schedule the same time slot every week, or to change it up from week to week. It's totally up to you! Flexibility is a priority (demonstrated by Leila, who makes the occasional broadcast appearance).
Likewise, if there's a week that you know you'll miss because you're out of town (or something), you're welcome to do two classes another week. You can also make up a class if a child forgets to come, or the internet goes, or... whatever! We're nice! The goal is for it to work with your schedule.
What happens during a class
Each small group class starts with a very short icebreaker, which is a fun way to get kids chatting, let new students meet each other, and secretly (shhhhh) make sure that everyone's microphone is working. A few favorite examples are to have everyone say their least favorite kind of ice cream (which most children find unanswerable), or what kind of animal they most want to be.
Next, there's a highly participatory 25 minute (or so) lesson. Here's what a Knights lesson looks like, with players who know the rules but not too much more:
Here's what a Queens or Kings (advanced) lesson looks like:
After the lessons, students play practice games against each other online for about 25-30 minutes. The games are a great way to practice their new skills. One of the great things about an online program is that if students want to, at the end of the club, they can keep playing for as long as they want!