Simple Kagan Structures dramatically increase language acquisition. Dr. Kagan compares structures to traditional instruction and group work to illustrate what a positive impact structures have on language learning.
In this teamwork structure, students "find" the example that has the incorrect information and they "fix" it as a team. This is a great structure for mastering a variety of curriculum—students learn to identify the wrong answer, and learn the steps to make it right.
Can you use Kagan Structures to boost engagement in your secondary science class? Of course you can. Sarah Backner shares a few creative uses of structures she's seen secondary science teachers use during her coaching visits.
It's time for Kagan Summer Academy 2013! Join us July 15–26 for a magical training and dream vacation all in one, set in the dramatic, world-class surroundings of WALT DISNEY WORLDÂ® Resort.
Get the Big Picture in a MiniBook! Dr. Kagan just released the MiniBook version of his revolutionary approach to teaching and learning. Big things do come in small packages!
Structures make learning engaging. Now Kagan's Software makes using these engaging structures easier then ever! Check out the different software options and the ready-to-use structures for your classroom.
As teachers, we don't always get to see the long-term impact we have on our students. Sarah got to see first-hand how using cooperative learning had a profound long-term effect on one of her students.
Hear what educators across the country are saying about Kagan trainers and recent Kagan workshops.
Learn about five major connections between Kagan and the Common Core. Kagan Structures enable educators to more effective meet the demands of the Common Core.
“Too much talking makes them blue; more of them and less of you!” Learn 7 STOP structures to stop direct instruction and get students interacting. Students remember much more about what they say than what they hear you say.
Can we really include an autistic child in cooperative activities? Don't autistic children have impaired social skills and therefore could never really fit in? Ms. Hall shares her rewarding transition from isolation to full inclusion. In the end, her other students may have benefitted from inclusion at least as much as her special needs student.
The school was graded a failing school, among the 100 worst in the UK. So the new head teacher introduced Kagan Structures and the turn around began. Teaching and learning improved and each subset of children measured made “outstanding progress.”
Structures transcend the language barrier. Good teaching is good teaching in any language, and in any country. See Quiz-Quiz-Trade being used for the first time in this Saudi Arabian classroom.
Small changes make all the difference. Or as the idiom goes, "the devil is in the details." Let me share a recent event in my personal life to explain...
When I got home from work, I did the usual homework check-in with my kids. My daughter asked, "Hey Dad, will you do book club with me?"
"What's that?" I asked. It's her first year in middle school so I hadn't heard of book club before.
"It's when I read a book, and you read the same book, then we go to book club at school with other students and parents to talk about the book. I get extra credit if I do it."
Not that she needs the extra credit, but how can I turn that down? "Of course I'll do it with you!"
So we picked our book from the three options. We selectedÂ Rules by Cynthia Lord. It's the story of a twelve-year-old girl whose younger brother has autism. In attempt to keep embarrassment down and normalcy up, she creates simple rules for him to follow such as: "Keep your pants on in public." The book is a heartwarming tale of rejection and acceptance.
Being the voracious reader that she is, my daughter powered through the book quickly. At the time, I was already juggling a number of reading projects. So the weekend before book club, I did a mini-marathon and finished the book!
On book club night, we talked about the book on the drive to school, across the field, and into the auditoriumâ€”until the cookies and punch distracted my attention. I was proud of my little girl for so many reasons.
The auditorium was filled with cheerful children and their devoted parents. What a wonderful program for parental involvement! The teacher took the stage and described how it would work: We'd break into classrooms based on our book selection and student leaders in each class would ask us thinking and discussion questions about the story. The teacher informed parents that in class teachers try to engage our children, so they would be using a cooperative learning strategy they use in classâ€”Think-Pair-Share. Having a special place in my heart for cooperative learning and having worked with Dr. Frank Lyman on the Think-Pair-Share SmartCard, this brought a smile to my face.
When we got to our assigned room, parents sat next to their children. The student leaders asked a question, asked us to think about it, then asked us to pair up to share answers. I paired up with my daughter and we shared our perspectives. After a few questions, the student leaders abandoned Think-Pair-Share and just took volunteers to share in front of the group.
What happened next, was pretty predictable. Most students were too embarrassed to raise their hands in this group setting. So some of the braver parents responded to the questions. Some parents responded to multiple questions and most to none at all. And while many of the responses shared were very insightful, even these excelling students began to tune out. It kinda became a conversation between the leaders and the most interested or assertive children and parents, with the majority of the class listening, at best.
The teacher came in, saw what was happening, and reminded the student leaders to use Think Pair Share. The class shifted back to more enthusiasm and engagement. Students who had tuned out, tuned back in. They were brought back into the conversation. Parents who were silent were now sharing their responses in their pairs. The shift was almost palpable.
To me, this brief book club experience represents the difference between the traditional voluntary response versus everyone responds. With the volunteer responders, we had some great insights, but the interest level for at least half the class was somewhere between lukewarm and comatose. On the other hand, with Think-Pair-Share, there was much more engagement and enthusiasm. You could hear the audible buzz of excitement as each pair shared their ideas.
When I compare the two structures, there is no comparison. One breeds engagement and the other leads to disengagement. I don't want to come across as too critical of this book club because overall, I rate it a resounding success! They got students reading more. They got parents interacting with their children more. They provided leadership skills for the student leaders. They developed critical thinking skills with great questions. They got parental and community involvement. They made the effort to engage us all. All wonderful things.
However, call it a blessing or call it a curse (I say blessing), I see social interaction patterns through the Kagan filter. Ask questions and get voluntary responses versus engage everyone probably doesn't make too much of a difference as a one-time event. But do one versus the other repeatedly over the school year and across the grades, and boy what a difference it makes! Simply choosing a different structure means the difference between engaging some and engaging all. It means the difference between staying involved with the lesson and falling farther and farther behind each year. Engagement makes all the difference!
It's not hard either. If student leaders can do a decent job of creating engagement with a structure, imagine the difference a good structure can make in the hands of a trained professional! A trained professional can ensure when we form pairs for interaction, we have pairs do a sticky high five or use face or shoulder partners so there is no uncertainty who is pairing with whom. Without clearly defining pairs, some people weren't exactly sure who their partner was so they didn't talk at all. A trained professional would choose to structure the pair interactions instead of leaving it unspoken. Instead of "talk it over with your partner," which often leads to uncertainty about who will start or who will share for how long, a trained professional may choose to use a Timed Pair Share. In a Timed Pair Share, we would have the child share for thirty seconds and then have the parent share for the next thirty seconds. While we may not get every student responding to every question, we'd get a lot more engagement. With the right structure, we create the structural framework to encourage full engagement.
The choice whether we, as educators, want to fully engage all our students or just some is a no-brainer. All we have to do is select the right structure for the job and use it correctly. That's where Kagan fits in. We're here to provide you with the right structures for your different educational needs, and to provide you the training to help you make those small changes that make the world of difference!
Miguel Kagan, Editor
Kagan Online Magazine
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