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Special Article

Lesson Plans Must Include the 4 C’s!
No Problem – Use Kagan Structures

Kris Osthoff

To cite this article: Osthoff, K. Lesson Plans Must Include the 4 C’s! San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing. Kagan Online Magazine, Issue #56. www.KaganOnline.com

Demands on teachers are greater than ever. Teachers spend countless hours giving of themselves to meet their students’ needs. At least once a week, social media shares an article about teacher burn out. At the risk of sounding cliché, teaching definitely is not for the faint-hearted. Expectations are high to create lessons that allow students to learn 21st century skills including “the Four C’s.” With this push to include Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, and Communication, a teacher might be thinking that this makes lesson planning multiplied by four! However, when a teacher engages his or her students in a Kagan Cooperative Learning structure, the 4 C’s are easily accomplished.

In about fifteen to twenty minutes of one lesson using a few Kagan Structures, teachers can include all 4 C's. Some of them more than once! Take, for example, a lesson on a non-fiction/drama book with which many are familiar: The Diary of Anne Frank. Before reading, the teacher could set the lesson with a scenario asking students to, “Imagine across the country, citizens are being persecuted because of their religious beliefs. This includes your family. The danger is great as people are being captured and beaten because of this. Your family is trying to decide what to do and has come up with some options:  1) stay, 2) flee the country, 3) go into hiding, or 4) other. What would you do? Provide reasons to support your decision.”  With a question like this, a teacher asks students to think critically and evaluate a best decision.

Then engage students with the Kagan Structure Corners. Students commit to their choice by walking to the corner of the room that represents their selected answer. Within Corners, students communicate and collaborate using the Kagan Structure Timed Pair Share to justify their selection.

Following that, the teacher lets students know their parents decided that their family must go into hiding. Next, the teacher engages students with the Kagan Structure Jot Thoughts to collaborate, communicate, and creatively brainstorm items they would want to take with them to go into hiding.

After completing that structure, the teacher shares with students that they can only take items: 1) they can wear without being conspicuous and 2) fit in a small suitcase. Next, the teacher engages students in the Kagan Structure RoundTable Consensus to prioritize the items. This structure fosters critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.

Finally, the teacher then tells students they just made decisions similar to Anne Frank and her family and millions of Jews during the Holocaust and World War II. The teacher then invites them to learn more about Anne Frank.

To recap, Kagan Structures are tools to challenge students to be creative, collaborate, think critically, and communicate multiple times in just one lesson. When teachers engage students with Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures, they do not have to plan four different lessons to achieve the 4 C’s. With Kagan Structures, we can develop creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication within super-engaging lessons our students love.