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Research & Rationale

You Will See Results!

Special Article

You Will See Results!

Dana Hensley
5th grade teacher, Bossier Elementary

To cite this article: Hensley, D. You Will See Results! San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing. Kagan Online Magazine, Issue #54. www.KaganOnline.com

This year marked the beginning of my school’s exciting journey with Kagan Cooperative Learning. I enjoyed a full day of training on my first day back from summer vacation and was delighted to implement Kagan Structures into my daily lessons. I became comfortable with these structures, starting with RallyRobin, RoundRobin, and Mix-Pair-Share. I used them to teach my students how to talk to one another effectively, get comfortable with each other, how to coach, and how to praise. Although I was using Kagan Structures since day one, it was not on a lesson-by-lesson basis; it was more of a drop everything and let’s do a Kagan Structure approach. It was not until I continued to notice more and more students being unsuccessful in science that I really stepped up my understanding of Kagan and began implementing structures into every lesson I taught in my science class. It was then that I began working smarter and not harder!

I had always created PowerPoint lessons, drawn pictures, had my students take notes, read and discussed from the textbook with them, and done everything that I thought was engaging for students. However, I was working really hard and getting very few results. After the first nine weeks, 38% of my students were not passing the science curriculum, and I became very discouraged because I was working so hard and not seeing the results I expected. After I started implementing RoundRobin and its multiple variations to access their prior knowledge about the concept I was teaching, as well as having them share their thoughts or ideas related to an open-ended question taken directly from my Teacher’s Edition, I looked out at my class and realized that everyone was answering the question, not just one or two of my students. Two of my and my students’ favorite structures are Fan-N-Pick and Quiz-Quiz-Trade. Quiz-Quiz-Trade is phenomenal to help my students with the tough science vocabulary. They became much more proficient, and it was great to see them helping each other learn. Fan-N-Pick is an awesome way to review comprehension questions, allowing my students to hear other points of view, clarify their interpretation, as well as gain the necessary knowledge of the material in a way that they think is fun. I now use structures on a weekly basis for all the science lessons. Once I began using structures more consistently on a daily basis, I noticed a dramatic decrease in students who were unsuccessful. Each day my students and I would discuss a small section of text and highlight in the book the important information. Next, they would work with their shoulder partner or face partner or team to complete a Kagan Structure, which might be RallyCoach, AllWrite Consensus, AllWrite RoundRobin, or Fan-N-Pick. I usually tried to combine multiple objectives within a structure to give me the most bang for my buck, so many times I added a writing component to a structure that was strictly oral. For example, my students really enjoyed Fan-N-Pick, especially for reviewing for a test, but I needed them to have a tangible study guide. After we did Fan-N-Pick orally with the review questions, I backed it with AllWrite Consensus so they had a study guide for the upcoming test. The more I added new structures, the more excited my students became about being in science class, and I heard more and more students saying, “Man it is already time to go; this class goes by so fast. Mrs. Hensley, what are we going to be doing tomorrow? Can we do this Kagan again?” It was nice for me to hear them so interested in learning. Below you can see for yourself the impact that Kagan Cooperative Learning has had on the academic success of my students.

38% of students were failing before implementing Kagan Structures. There was a marked decrease in failing scores with greater Kagan implementation. By the 4th Quarter, there was NOT ONE student with an F grade.

I believe that Kagan Structures have helped my students make dramatic improvements because they are always engaged, they talk to their classmates about course content, their self-esteem and confidence has improved, and they are up and moving! I think Kagan Cooperative Learning has changed the way I teach by opening the doors of engaging discussion between my students and myself about difficult content as it is presented in textbooks in an easier, more exciting way, other than the way I was teaching which was: note-taking, PowerPoint presentations, and just reading from the textbook and answering questions.

I would strongly encourage teachers to embrace Kagan Cooperative Learning. It's fun and you WILL see results!