Difficult class - where to begin

Questions or discussion about Kagan theory, research, or implementing Kagan in your classroom.
krisosthoff
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 11:17 am

Difficult class - where to begin

Post by krisosthoff » Wed May 02, 2012 1:18 pm

Oftentimes during or after a training, a teacher asks, "I have a difficult class, where do I start?"
It is important to put some of those management hints in place. Teach and reinforce a Quiet Signal, form heterogeneous teams, and label desks 1, 2, 3, 4, and A, B. (Team formation is in chapter 7 and management is in chapter 8).
Next start with a super simple pair structure like RallyRobin. Model it first; this shows students the steps of the structure, appropriate answers to share, and appropriate social skills. When students try it, select a for fun topic to help them to learn the structure. Then tie in a content topic. Remember throughout this to give them positive reinforcement on what they are doing well! Continue to use RallyRobin with as many topics as you can think of over the next few days. After students have mastered RallyRobin, continue to add another structure. Timed Pair Share or one of the RoundRobin variations would be great next.
Teachers will be off to a fabulous start!
Kris

Christi Brown
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:15 pm

Re: Difficult class - where to begin

Post by Christi Brown » Mon May 07, 2012 11:06 am

Difficult class? Why? What makes them "difficult?"
One reason: they did not get along, or told me that they "didn't like each other." Kagan Structures gave me the solution through Teambuilding and Classbuilding. I made a commitment to "trust the process" and that it was NOT a one time magical event where everyone got along because I used a structure ONE time. Some classes needed a teambuilder everyday and it became a part of the warm-up in a class routine. Over time, that same class was different. The climate was safer, and even more calm. They adapted to change and learned valuable social skills in the process.
A suggestion is: try a teambuilder and a classbuilder (for fun). It is not a waste of time if the end result changes a "difficult" class into a successful class!
Hang in there - it gets better!!!
Good luck!
~Christi

Wendy Burke
Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:28 am

Re: Difficult class - where to begin

Post by Wendy Burke » Mon May 07, 2012 12:06 pm

Great Points Kris and Christi!!! Another thing I stress to teachers is when they are modeling a structure- they are not just modeling the steps for the structure, but also the social skills they want to see and hear. Good social skills are learned from repeated modeling and lots of practice. Best of luck teachers that are feeling this stress!