Are there any Elementary music teachers out there?

Questions or discussion about Kagan theory, research, or implementing Kagan in your classroom.
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:31 pm

Re: Are there any Elementary music teachers out there?

Post by lbauman »

Hello from Alaska.
I have been teaching Elementary music for 29 years and this will be my first year truly using Kagan Structures. Last year we, the entire district, took Day 1.(January) I was really dragging my heels about using these structures in my class, from: the seating to silly games. I found myself overwhelmed with the "Change" I would have to deal with. I had my system and it was working well. I tried a few structures but my students could tell I wasn't buying into it. Fast forward to this year, I took Day 1 again and the district all took Day 2. We had great presenters (last year we did as well) but with Day 2, I found more ways to use this approach with music.

I meet with classes twice a week, for 30 mins also. Way to short of time to TEACH Kagan Structures every class period. The wonderful thing is, if all classroom teachers buy in and everyone is using common language as they introduce the structures, I will eventually only have to announce the structure, set the timer, give my goal and say "begin". I wouldn't have to take time to teach it. What I was fighting against last year was the idea that I alone would be teaching all of this. Not true, When every teacher in our building is using Kagan. It works.
Seating, I do not use table approach, I use carpet spot. So kids sit with shoulder partners. I couldn't grasp table for my group instruction. Once we add "recorders" or other xylophones, I can do a break out (off carpet) and have different seating. I used Rally robin today , (day 1 of school) for my normal rules routine. I had students rally robin "Items" found it the music room but not in their classrooms. Then we talked about the "Keep hands , feet and objects to yourself" rule.

I won't be able to follow the team building/classroom building schedule as taught in Day 2 , but I will be able to use common language as we Rally Robin or Stand-up Pair-up with music questions.

Good Luck, I am glad I am not the only music teacher wondering how to use Kagan. I hope to get to a Workshop soon to
Elia Chesnoff
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:35 am

Re: Are there any Elementary music teachers out there?

Post by Elia Chesnoff »

Have you seen the Cooperative Learning and Music book? My dear friend and colleague Christi Brown is one of the authors. I also recommend looking into her Music Workshop that is sometimes available at Disney. It is a superb way to connect with other passionate and talented music teachers. Finally, thanks for the work that you do to keep the arts alive in schools and for children.
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:42 am

Re: Are there any Elementary music teachers out there?

Post by priya31 »

Excellent thread..!!!
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:56 am

Re: Are there any Elementary music teachers out there?

Post by sidd31 »

Excellent thread..!!!
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2020 1:20 pm

Re: Are there any Elementary music teachers out there?

Post by kumaramark27 »

I would be glad to talk with anyone about how you're using Kagan. Personally, I love the flexibility and the accountability that it gives the kids who are learning music concepts. As we all know, not every student learns at the same pace as others -- and when we see them for such a short time, we WANT them all to learn it right then! Kagan allows them to work with each other, facilitating the learning process and taking some of the burden of always being the "teacher" away from us. The individual attention they receive from each other, along with the immediate feedback, is invaluable in my book.
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 2:45 pm

Re: Are there any Elementary music teachers out there?

Post by JDowboy »

I'm a Band director at a MS and I'm having a hard time seeing longterm benefits with using Kagan structures to talk about band, when we should be playing band. The Cognitive benefits that performing music can bring, aren't gained from talking about or listening to music. Furthermore, there is research that is having a hard time connecting benefits of Kagan structures in music classrooms. ... on_masters It showed benefits in talking about music, but not on performing music. Performing music is when the brain lights up and gains the most bilateral neuronal traffic, thereby making new connections and strengthening old ones.

What are the structures that would allow me to re-inforce the aspect of playing their horns instead of talking about playing. Young musicians don't have the training to be a coach. The great John Wooden was analyzed and during basketball practice, and over something like 2,900 teaching examples: he gave 6% praise, 6% dissatisfaction, and the over-whelming majority of 88% were short 6 second blasts of clear information. (I imagine he repeated himself a few times) However, without his extensive knowledge base, those short informative words or actions wouldn't have impact.

I'm not saying that kids teaching other kids isn't valuable, on the contrary. Kids that can teach something, find deeper understanding. Are we just trying new structures and thinking new is good? or are there real benefits to our youth by using these cooperative learning structures. Band is already a cooperative leaning structure. We communicate in many ways as musicians together performing. Is there a way to create Band as a Kagen structure?

Have the kids learn the structures: Band is about individual accountability but it has to be met by the group. Individual, group accountability. (PIES principles to the letter)
1. Walk into room, get your horn and items ready in chair. Music out to first activity.
2. Look around to help anyone get on task or start warming up and tuning instrument.
3. Work on Fundamental skills, listening around the room to match and be aware. (If you have a helpful statement for the room, you should speak up. However, to speak in band one must raise ones hand) (We also do use a "hey band", students reply "hey what", to get classroom attention)
4. Work Ensemble skills in large group setting.
5. Pack up/Clean up, take care of ones equipment and ones space.
6. Back in chair to dismiss.

My 8th graders are better at the leading their structures, but my younger ones are still at a loss, because they are still learning many things everyday.

I did see "Rally Coach" on here, and I'm thinking I'll have to adapt it.
"Band Rally Coach"
1. Sit in Pairs
2. student A plays a section
3. Student B comments with praise or information
4. Roles Swap

pro: you will hear individual players skill and how their partners assess others.
pro:smaller groups and individual players encourages individual accountability.
con: some students will receive bad coaching, albeit rare. Students don't have to speak to learn. As the teacher, Try to keep an ear and correct unfocused words.
con: takes extra time if you have to move students to do this. (last i heard we were going to loose another 5 minutes of instructional time in specials next year)

I did read Christi Browns thoughts on "Rally Robin" for rehearsing short sections, I like it to a point. We mostly stop our groups because something is wrong, if we have the students practice without addressing the fundamental issue they will repeat their mistake and learn that as habit.

I use many tools to simplify the errors students are making to the root cause (i.e., air, oral cavity, bodily position, mental) then practice specific motions to internalize and begin creating myelin in the brain. For example: sizzling air, wind patterning, singing, buzzing mouthpiece, playing short chunks after listening; or combinations like: counting and clicking fingers, sizzle and click, sing and click. Music is performative and already has plenty of cooperative learning structures that lead to student engagement and improvement. It just happens that when you are performing music, you also are getting permanent cognitive benefits. Talking about music will work linguistics skills, but will lead to an uninspired student.

As long as the structures are used for reinforcement for things students have already learned, there will be some growth. These structures don't lend themselves to teaching brand new songs, or when the room is struggling. Kagan is not a fix-all, espceallially in performative skills. Kagan can support your normal teaching with student activities, but simply adding Kagan will not improve performance. It can only improve performance when the students level of individual successes has been met and repeated before you test their knowledge/skills with a structure. Don't test a student unless that student has the necessary skills, or they will overcompensate for the lack of skills and learn a bad habit.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge with other educators!
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:29 am

Re: Are there any Elementary music teachers out there?

Post by Johndavidson9 »

What would you guys recommend for a high school choir class that is mostly kids who don't want to be there but still participate most of the time?