I teach chess in several schools--some after school, some during. I always put a tactical problem on the demonstration board (these are usually simple mate in two or three, but sometimes they are harder, or endgame exercises). When a kid solves the exercise, he or she gets a chess pencil (see http://www.wholesalechess.com/chess/chess_supplies/Chess+Pencil+5+Pack)
Generally no more than five minutes is spent on the problem, then they have time to play. With some groups I use a chess ladder to add some structure to their play. Most kids enjoy the ladder competition.
During play time I work one-on-one with players on particular exercises. Most of this time is spent testing and teaching the skills needed for my series of award certificates.
Scholastic Chess Awards
Pawn: the Pawn Award recognizes that the recipient knows how to play chess (and should be able to teach another).
1. Sets up board and pieces correctly.
2. Demonstrates how each piece moves, including castling and en passant.
3. Presents an example of checkmate.
Knight: the Knight Award recognizes that the recipient has learned certain fundamental checkmate skills.
1. Previously earned Pawn
2. Forces checkmate of
a) lone king with queen and rook,
b) queen and king, and
c) rook and king (each from two random positions selected by the coach).
3. Demonstrates ability to read chess notation.
Bishop: the Bishop Award recognizes that the recipient has developed skill in coordinating the king with minor pieces and pawns, as well as honing his or her checkmate skills.
1. Previously earned Knight.
2. Forces checkmate of lone king with two bishops and king.
3. Demonstrates understanding of opposition through success with king vs. king exercise, and two king and pawn exercises selected by the coach.
4. Correctly solves one set of checkmate problems (sets have 14-20 problems each, and are themed, i.e. checkmate along corridors).
5. Demonstrates ability to write chess notation.
Rook: the Rook Award recognizes that the recipient has developed his or her checkmate skills, and has become a tournament player.
1. Previously earned Bishop.
2. Forces checkmate of lone king with bishop, knight, and king.
3. Correctly solves two additional sets of checkmate problems.
4. Completes two scholastic tournaments (no voluntary byes or forfeits).
Queen: the Queen Award recognizes that the recipient has developed the habit of chess study, and has proven his or her abilities through success in tournament competition.
1. Previously earned Rook.
2. Correctly solves five additional sets of problems.
3. Completes three scholastic tournaments (no voluntary byes or forfeits), scoring three points or more in at least one event.
King: the King Award recognizes that the recipient has become a strong scholastic player.
1. Previously earned Queen.
2. Demonstrates correct play from five opposition exercises selected by the coach.
3. Correctly solves fifteen problems in fifteen minutes selected at random from the checkmate problems with 86% accuracy (13 of 15).
4. Earns ELO rating above 700 (grades K-3), 900 (grades 4-6), or 1200 (grades 7+).