Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures
Teacher leaders from across the district and in each building have been trained in Kagan structures for use in the classroom and in-turn have continued building capacity with the teachers in the district, K-12, on effective uses of Kagan Cooperative Learning Strategies for all students.
What are Kagan Structures?
Structures are simple, step-by-step instructional strategies. Most Kagan Structures are designed to increase student engagement and cooperation. For example, a simple Kagan Structure is a RallyRobin. Rather than calling on one student at a time, the teacher has all students interacting at once by saying, “Turn to your partner and do a RallyRobin.” During a RallyRobin, students repeatedly take turns, giving one answer each turn to create an oral list. Each student in the class gives several answers. For longer responses, the teacher might use a different structure, a Timed Pair Share. In a Timed Pair Share, each student in turn shares for a predetermined time, perhaps only a minute each.
What are the basic principles of Kagan Cooperative Learning? Why do we need basic principles?
The basic principles of good cooperative learning are that:
1) The learning task promotes teamwork and students experience themselves as being on the same side;
2) Each student is held accountable for their individual contribution;
3) Students participate about equally; and
4) Many students are engaged at once.
These simple principles ensure students will cooperate, that each will make an independent contribution, and that all students participate about equally and participate a great deal. They are important because if we leave them out, students can hide — they can take a free ride allowing others to do the work. In the traditional classroom, participation is voluntary. Many students, for whatever reasons, simply do not participate. When the principles are in place, all students become intensely engaged.
The Essential 2!
Teachers that use just RallyRobin and Timed Pair Share can make a huge difference in achievement and engagement and can take their students a very long way simply instead of "calling-on-one." Along with higher academic achievement you will also see a reduction of the gap between high and low achieving students, improved social skills and cooperativeness, improved self-esteem, increased liking for school and learning, improved classroom climate, decreased discipline problems, increased leadership and employability skills, improved conflict resolution skills and increased empathy and concern for others!
The Essential 5!
In pairs, students alternate generating brief oral responses.
• List adjectives to describe the character.
• List inert elements.
• Share steps of the experiment.
• Describe an event from the story.
In pairs, students share with a partner for a predetermined time while the partner listens. Then partners switch roles.
• What is the key thing that you learned?
• What is one literary technique you plan to use in your writing and how will you use it?
In teams, students take turns responding orally.
• What makes a good listener?
• List objects that float?
• What clubs or societies are you a member of?
• What is one of your favorite movies?
Partners take turns, one solving a problem while the other coaches. Then partners switch roles.
• Useful for any process or procedure with a definite right/wrong.
• Solve multi-step word problems in math.
• Change each decimal into a simplified fraction.
Students stand up, put their hand up and quickly find a partner with whom to share or discuss.
This structure is perfect for classbuilding, processing and reviewing information, energizing the class, forming random pairs or teams, lesson starts or wraps.
Of course it goes without saying, this Essential 5 is in no way a substitute for completing a multi-day Institute on Kagan Cooperative Learning. Participating in a multi-day course will show you how to build powerful learning teams in your classroom. You'll learn Kagan methods for teambuilding, classbuilding, classroom management, dozens more Kagan Structures for mastery, higher-level thinking, and social skills. Kagan Institutes are extremely practical, hands-on classes packed with great ideas all grounded in sound research and theory!