My name is Kathy Davies, I attended the 2 1/2 Autumn Workshop at Shrigley Hall Hotel at the end of November and I just thought I'd let you know how it was going back in the classroom. Well I don't think I'm exaggerating if I said it's totally revolutionalised my classroom practice. Of course I'm still getting used to the structures I learnt and I have done some of them wrong! (although the children don't realise) however when I have used them the whole atmosphere in the classroom has changed. I can't describe it but I have a difficult class and some of them opt out of work if they can but while using the structures there is a purposeful buzz to the class which I never achieved in the Autumn term. The children have said 'cool' 'wow' and 'this is great' and one of the boys who has been really difficult has had the best four days in a row since September - I realise it's not a magic wand but just thought I needed to tell you what an impact they've had.
Hurdsfield Primary, UK
I wanted to write and thank you for giving me so many wonderful ideas for my classes next year. I'm taking a class now called Reading and Writing in an ESL Setting. I borrowed a lesson from Cooperative Learning & Hands-On Science for a lesson plan I had to write (giving full credit to Kagan and Laura Candler of course) and used several ideas that you taught us. My instructor loved it. I left school in June pretty disenchanted. I had three students who were bent on making my life miserable. I wasn't sure if I wanted to return to teaching in the fall. Now I'm so excited about going back to school next month and trying out all of the structures, teambuilding, and classbuilding ideas. Thanks again for one of the most meaningful workshops I've ever attended.
I really love Kagan structures, and certainly I believe that it is the most effective way to help the students to learn, and simultaneously enjoy the learning process. I used in my classroom these techniques for 5 years in Venezuela. I proved by myself their magic and efficiency.
A fifth grade girl in my consultative dropout prevention group was referred by her classroom teacher to the student study team because the student was failing math, and doing poorly in other areas due to short term memory problems. A conference with her parents at the team meeting revealed the student's interest in drama and music and her ability to easily remember song lyrics and lines from scripts.
Luckily I had just completed the Kagan Multiple Intelligences workshop with Spencer and Laurie Kagan who had taught me about the eight intelligences and how to use an intelligence strength to help students learn. Using a familiar tune I wrote a short song about a math rule. My student thought it was silly but when she got an 'A' on a pop quiz because she could remember the rule she needed to apply â€” well, she was sold. We continued to write songs together and eventually she proudly brought me her original song on distinguishing types of triangle. The song was a hit because she scored another 'A' in math.
The MI workshop was responsible for helping to turn a failing student who was losing confidence into a self-assured, above average math student. Many thanks to Spencer and Laurie Kagan for making me aware of multiple intelligences part in learning, for showing me what to look for in my students, and for giving me the tools to use to draw on the intelligence strengths of my students.
White City Elementary
Thank you for sharing the product suggestions for middle school social studies and also for your encouraging words. I am thrilled to be attending both MI and Win-Win Discipline in Malone, NY.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for what you are doing for teachers and students everywhere. I praise the Lord that I was able to attend Kagan CL last summer, prior to starting my first year of teaching. I was able to give my students so much more in my classroom this year because of it.
My favorite thing about CL is that it allowed me to develop a personal relationship with almost every one of the 90 students I taught this year. CL gave me the chance to see them as individuals and recognize their individual strengths and challenges and appreciate their special personalities. I think this is because they had the chance to share so much of themselves, their thinking and who they are.
It was difficult to be both a first year teacher and a person who is dedicated to quality because very little of what I tried this year turned out as successfully as I would have liked. It was easy to dwell on what I felt was lacking in my classroom due to my lack of experience. Karen Dailey, who taught with me in Tupper Lake, would say, "Christine, even on your worst CL day, your students are still getting more than they would in rows." I know that she is right. I give Kagan CL the credit for helping me to make my first year of teaching something I can be proud of.
Thank you, Spencer!
I attended the workshop held here in Birmingham in January, and honestly, I didn't think I would use much since I teach seniors and most of what we learned seemed a bit elementary for "big, bad seniors!" However, I did utilize one strategy which worked wonderfully...even my students said how much it helped them. They divided into their groups of four, and I gave them a handout with the five major Romantic authors and the eight poems we studied. They then worked within their groups to write down everything they knew about those men and their works. At the end of class, we shared our results and filled in the missing information. They taught the class and had an excellent review for the quiz held the next day. The results were amazing and my test scores were up dramatically. Thanks.
I just wanted to drop you a little note to share with you that I've been using some of the Kagan classbuilding structures in the first couple of days and the kids are loving it! In a Mix Pair Share, one of the questions I gave them was "What about school bores you?" and the answers I got were "the teachers talk too much", "I get bored when I have to read an assignment by myself", and "I don't like sitting for so long". Then I asked the loaded question to the whole class, "Are you bored right now?" There was a resounding "NO!!!" from the kids. That made me very happy.
I started thinking tonight about how I could make my activities for tomorrow even better and I've found a way to work in Carousel Feedback with a "get to know you" activity. I'm so excited that I think I'm going to go back up to school in a few minutes just so I can make sure I have everything set up and ready to go tomorrow! I just feel like I'm so much more fired up this year and Kagan has a lot to do with it. I look forward to working with you in September and learning even more about what Kagan structures can do for my kids!
Riverview Gardens Central Middle School
As we are only one week into the school year, I asked my fifth graders to turn in their math books to a specific page and look at the twenty problems listed. You could hear a pin drop! Panic. But I assured them that they were going to do them in a different way - Showdown.
Wow! They loved it! A great deal was accomplished in time well used and a positive attitude towards math and each other was achieved.
St. John the Evangelist School
Dear Dr. Kagan,
Thank you for those moments of sheer joy with you. You have enlightened, motivated, and inspired us to greater heights in education.
Thousands of teachers, school children and parents are going to benefit through the knowledge, skill and attitudes that you have so successfully implanted into our conscious minds.
I know that a mere thanks would not do credit to your efforts...but it has to be said. We shall put into practice what we have accrued throughout the workshop for a better tomorrow for the kids of today. The cooperative learning workshop was a smashing success! The desert shall bloom :)
Dear Dr. Kagan,
I would like to tell you that your Mix Freeze Group Structure has helped my students learn their vocabulary words faster and in a fun way. My students have difficulty learning the English language but with this activity they learned their words fast and easy even my slow learners. They were so happy that they expressed how much fun they had learning English. I have also tried other activities that have made a change in my students' attitude for learning.
Mrs. D. Abreu,
I would just like to say that Kagan has revolutionized my classroom. I teach 4-6 grade music. My first year with Kagan Cooperative Learning in place, I finished my curriculum for the YEAR in January. The structures approach really helped me cover material faster. I also like the "everyone is accountable" aspect. My children discuss their answers and thoughts very well because they know that their TEAM is accountable for the answer-not just one person. It is also fun to watch the students guide each other rather than me standing up front and lecturing. As a music educator, I must protect my voice. Kagan has helped me do less talking and the students do more active learning therefore keeping me from wearing out my singing/speaking voice by the end of the school year. I am truly amazed and thankful that 100% of my students are involved rather than just one or two at a time. Thanks!
I am from Malaysia, a teacher/trainer who very firmly believes that cooperative learning enhances and optimizes learning. I have been using Kagan's philosophies and structures for about three years now. They all seem to work very well among enlightened educators.
Recently I got the chance to attend Dr. Kagan's workshop in Penang, Malaysia, August 29-30, 2001. It was indeed a marvellous experience and still is! Now I have this dream of doing a pilot program in a primary (elementary) school. Students from ages 7 - 12. My dream is to have a school that goes cooperative in all its academic activities.
Dear Dr. Kagan,
I attended your workshop last summer in Orlando (July 2001). This past year I used your structures in my classroom. Not only did we have more fun, but my students' FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) scores rose dramatically (as compared to the class I had the previous year).
I have been encouraging others to attend your workshop. I consider it to be one of the most beneficial that I have attended in my entire teaching career.
The Abbotsford School District has been recognized over the last decade for having a strong staff development program. Many of North America's top educators have made one-day presentations or given three to five day workshops. Some of the most noteworthy include: Art Costa, Carol Cummings, Covey Institute, Rita Dunn, Rick Dufour, William Glasser, Stephanie Hirsch, Michael Fullan, Roger Johnson, Spencer and Laurie Kagan, Dennis Sparks, Thomas Sergiovanni, and Roger Taylor. All of the aforementioned speakers had a significant impact and played an important role in the growth of leadership and staff development for Abbotsford teachers and administrators.
If one looks at successful implementation of an innovation or strategy into the classroom, the week after the presentation, Kagan's Cooperative Learning Structures has had the most immediate and lasting effect. I base this statement on Bruce Joyce's (1984) research on Theory Demonstration Practice Follow-up and Coaching. His research demonstrates that when an innovation or strategy is presented by an expert without any follow up or coaching, the chances of this innovation being implemented into the classroom is only 5 - 15%. If there is follow up training, there is a greater than 80% chance of implementation into the classroom. In Abbotsford, after Spencer Kagan's two-day initial training for teachers and administrators in Cooperative Learning Structures, there was an observable district-wide implementation of some of the cooperative learning structures into the classroom. Observers found that, at the elementary school level, there was a greater than 50% implementation rate in the two weeks following the training, without any further coaching or follow up. I firmly believe that the teachers saw his structures as very teacher-friendly, and that students were intrigued by these new strategies and, as a result, found learning to be fun and safe! Laurie Kagan presented a three-day workshop on Cooperative Learning Structures for Rick Hansen Secondary School in September of the year the school opened. As part of the action research for my Doctoral dissertation at Nova Southeastern University, I studied the effect of an expert training of a new innovation on a high school staff that was supported by coaches trained in cooperative learning and monthly follow up. Observations of theory into classroom practice by coaches indicated an implementation rate above 80%. This training was provided for a brand new high school in the first part of September, to teachers and administrators, the majority new to each other. I found the implementation rate at the high school level to be a very significant factor in my research. As Superintendent of Schools and an adjunct professor for Nova Southeastern University in the area of staff development, I can unequivocally recommend Spencer Kagan's Cooperative Learning Structures to any school district as a sound investment for their students' academic achievement and growth in social responsibility. I believe that if all schools in North America taught elements of cooperative learning as a social responsibility goal, and followed up this theory on the playground so that the elements of cooperative learning became a habit of character ethics, schools in North America would have fewer discipline problems and there would be a significant decrease in violent behavior amongst students.
We have been implementing Cooperative Learning in Davis District and the state of Utah now for over ten years. The impact and flow has rolled from one district to another as teachers learn new strategies for teaching. As trainer/facilitators my workshop partner and I have seen the strategies move through schools sometimes even starting with one teacher. Another teacher will come in and watch or notice the lack of discipline problems due to Classbuilding and Teambuilding and want to know more. The impact on students and parents has been powerful.
Parents want to know how to get the secondary schools to do Cooperative Learning and once students have been in the Cooperative Learning atmosphere they too want to continue to learn in this manner. I see something that essentially started as a grassroots teacher movement slowly impacting more and more students each year. For myself in my own classroom, it has been my hope that my students will become familiar with the terminology of the Social skills and apply it to their own lives.
Colleen C. Uhl,
WOW! Spencer you are getting me all excited already. Actually why don't you bring the whole Kagan clan out here. I would love to meet all of them after hearing so many good things about them (the closeness, the warmth & hospitality of each & every one), and Kagan, the house, the BBQ.............and the list goes on and on....and everyday, I continue to hear of the USA experience. The group has actually compiled a very good report and we are going through the drafts so that it will be ready for presentation to our Council as well as to be circulated to the schools. And Mr. Sia, perhaps the single most influential educator in Singapore, keeps talking about the Co-operative Learning strategies and how he is totally convinced that is the way to go for education for the next millennium in Singapore.
I am teaching at Wichita State University now and am having a ball using Kagan structures in all my classes. This is so fun after being a district level administrator for eight LONG years...ha!
Dear Dr. Kagan,
I recently attended your workshop in Penang and I just wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed the two-day sessions and thank you for all the wonderful ideas you had shared with us. You now have another firm believer in cooperative learning and I will definitely use the structures in my training sessions. I hope to be in another one of your workshops in the near future. Thank you for inspiring me!
Junaidah Abdul Jamil
It is without surprise that I note that more and more teachers and school administrators are entering your Website. The Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures have become an essential and important part of their teaching strategies.
As teachers in Singapore have learned from you and Laurie, the CL teaching strategies you created and developed, are easy to use and are very effective in enhancing the learning process. We look forward to our continued association with you so that, together, we can establish CL as an integral part of every teacher's professional skills.
I take this opportunity to wish you continued success in your work.
Deputy General Secretary,
Singapore Teachers' Union
I just finished the CL trainers institute at Disney and I just want to say that I am really excited about taking this back and spreading it throughout my district. Thank you for providing such quality training and techniques for educators. The best stuff around! Thanks again!
I am a great fan of your cooperative learning, and I use it a lot at school where I work as a Physical Education teacher in Norway.
Today was our first day back from summer vacation. I took Kagan this past summer in Lakeland, Fl. So it has been awhile since I've done the structures. Today I did 2 Teambuilding exercises and tomorrow I have planned for more as well as Classbuilding stuff. I just wanted to thank Laurie for being such a good teacher. It is going so well right now that I'm on cloud nine!!!
Thanks again and I keep you informed from time to time on how my year goes, with my first year using Kagan!
Cooperative learning is fortunate to have so many wise and devoted proponents who have created techniques, conducted research, developed theory, and helped other teachers learn about CL. Notable among these CL proponents are Spencer Kagan and his associates, who for many years have made very valuable contributions to CL. Over the past ten plus years, I've attended Kagan workshops and read many Kagan books and other writings. More recently, I've also been reading their on-line newsletter. My main teaching involves courses and workshops on cooperative learning for teachers across subject areas from lower elementary to university level and in many countries in Southeast Asia, as well as in Hawaii in the US. In these courses and workshops, teachers learn about CL by participating in CL activities.
The Kagan approach combines useful principles with an ever-growing range of practical techniques that can be applied across subject areas and age levels. Teachers find these structures easy to apply and frequently report having used them successfully. Kagan's Six Keys, especially PIES, help me and other teachers better understand the processes that underlie successful CL. I can't count all the times that an activity in one of my classes has gone well due to an idea I learned from Kagan, or all the times a teacher has thanked me for a Kagan idea that I had passed on.
Thank you very much!
Language Specialist, Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization -
Regional Language Centre (SEAMEO RELC)
I am a speech language pathologist. I work with children in grades 1-5. Part of my caseload consists of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Your materials will help me plan for a new social skills group I plan on creating within the public school setting. Thank you in advance.
I attended the training that you did this past Saturday at Eisenhower Elementary School in Clearwater, FL. (I was the one who stood up and said, "That's me!" when you asked about people who liked their breaks on time.) I have been a teacher for 15 years. Just a week ago, I left Eisenhower El. and became the Director of Entrepreneurship in Florida with the Florida Council on Economic Education. I will be doing training of teachers in a curriculum called NFTE. These teachers teach in the Front Porch Communities that have been designated by our governor, Jeb Bush. They teach extremely poor, tough and unmotivated students.
I am so glad that I attended that workshop. Since I was technically no longer employed at the school, it was certainly not required of me. However, the techniques that you taught, and more importantly modeled, were fantastic and well worth my time. I intend to incorporate as much as possible in the training I do with my teachers.
I'm also going to suggest that others in the office who do training attend a session. For people training adults, usually teachers, which institute would you recommend? I thought the Cooperative Learning Teacher Institute might be good.
Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and expertise with us Saturday. I heard lots of very positive comments as I left the building! :)
Dear Mr. Kagan,
I had the privilege to attend your one day workshop on September 20,1999 at CMSU in Warrensburg, Missouri. While at the workshop I purchased several of your books which have been incredible resources this year in my first grade classroom. I love the structures that you have developed and how easy they are to incorporated into my curriculum. My students love Mix and Match and Inside-Outside Circle. I have used these two structures several times in the classroom and my students have so much fun that they have questions such as, "Mrs. Smith, when are we going to have math?" even though they have been actively completing math problems for the past twenty minutes. I only have one problem and I hope that you can solve it for me. I am so in love with this program that I would very much like to receive more training in the next year so that I can be sure that I am using the structures to the fullest of their extent. The problem is that I have noticed that Missouri isn't on the list of future training sights. Could you please contact me if any of your events do come up in my state? Once again I want to thank you for making my job easier and for making learning more exciting for my students. You are making an incredible difference in the education of America's students and we all owe you our gratitude and thanks.
Mrs. Tammy R. Smith
The cooperative learning structures developed by Spencer Kagan have been at the heart of most of the staff development programs with which I have been involved over the past ten years. As a former staff development director, building principal, and school superintendent, the structural approach has been the optimal solution to both effective classroom instruction and professional growth across a broad range of curricular areas, learning situations, and grade levels. The techniques and rationale should be part of every teachers set of professional skills.
Ph.D., Former Superintendent,
Camptonville Union School District
Dear Dr. Kagan:
I am an elementary guidance counselor. In that regard, I actually consider myself a guidance teacher as well as counselor. Among other duties, I teach a classroom curriculum that is preventive and skill-building. We work together (the students, teachers and myself) on skills of communication, cooperation, and conflict resolution. I have been using Kagan structures in my classroom curriculum for the past six years. I cannot begin to tell you what positive effects they have had for my work with students in the affective domain. I had done it all...puppets, magic, all the tools that counselors try to teach their curriculum. And the students learned the lessons. They could "talk the talk." Unfortunately, they failed to generalize those skills into their every day dealings with peers and adults. By using the Kagan cooperative learning structures throughout my curriculum, they began to see the necessity for using the social "tools" I was teaching within the context of their day, from the playground to the classroom. And, they liked them.
It doesn't stop there. After seeing me use Kagan structures in their classrooms, the teachers in my building asked about the program. To make a long story short, most of the teachers in my building have now been trained and are using Kagan structures successfully. Students are learning and using those "guidance" skills of communication, etc. all day, every day. Their classrooms are always working on social and interactional skills even while they learn across the academic curriculum.
My advice is to invest the time in cooperative learning training. In my 24 years in education, it is easily the best investment I ever made.
Good luck! Please contact me if you have any questions.
Thanks a lot Kaganfolk,
It's always a pleasure to hear the latest. We still use, endorse, purchase, and spread the "structural words" at Lamplighter. Coleta and I have provided our teachers with all "The Smart Cards" and have had most satisfying results this year. The language of cooperative learning, the structural approach, resounds throughout our school! 2000 marks 10 years with Kagan for the Lamplighter School!
Sheila Leventhal McCartor,
The Lamplighter School
I was just at your workshop in Lake City I came back to class and tried a few of the items and it WAS AWESOME. I teach math and I had them # off into groups and then I did my normal take notes but instead of having them work on their own worksheet for practice they did it in groups. My rules were 1) everyone must be on the same problem 2) pencils and calc. must be down 3) someone offers which formula they think they would use and then each person in the group must agree or disagree and if disagree tell why you would use the next one. 4) Then everyone picks up their calc. and solve the problem 5) show everyone in your group the answer if all has the same write it down,,,if not we need to redo...or help the person who was wrong.
Then when we were done I used the team and student spinners to get the correct answers. I added something you didn't teach us but am sure it must be a Kagan type thing : ) If I called on table 1 student #2 then only the other 2's in the room could respond. If they agreed with the answer they put a thumbs up and if their group had something different they put a thumbs down. I then would ask the thumbs down #2 how did your group solve the problem.. Sometimes that group was wrong and sometimes they had the actual correct answer. The kids loved it. I had probably 95% correct answers when given and what was best I didn't have to go back like normal showing step by step how to solve each problem on the overhead because they did it with their group. I have already gone to our Curriculum Coordinator letting her know we need a Kagan workshop for the beginning of the school year and she will be checking into it. Also, I am sure Lisa will e-mail you but she did the Team Interviews today and it went off with a bang and then did the Give One Get One. We share this group so the kids must think they went to heaven in our classes : )
Also Sara did the Give One Get One and she thought it worked out great.
Well I have taken more time then meant to, But I just wanted you to know, which you really already did this stuff is GREAT!!
Hi! My students love doing "Showdown" to learn reading vocabulary words then we highlight the beginning of each of the words to teach ABC order,dots to show syllable breaks,underline to show long vowel sounds or blends, and glue the word cards in order on a long narrow sheet of colored construction paper 6" x 24" last we do a "Mix-Pair-Share" and read the list to at least 5 different students (they keep a tally so they know when they've read it to someone. It's finally ready to take home to practice for the week. It's hard to get them to stopâ€” they just love doing this every Monday.
We just took our son to Asbury College as Freshman this weekend. When he was telling us of one of the activities they did the first day, I recognized one of the Kagan structures I learned at training. He said they put them in 2 circles to meet each other. They had to shake hands and talk to each other and then move on. He and this one girl got into such a lively discussion they forgot to drop hands and move on! It sounded just like Inside Outside used at the college level very successfully!
a new user and loving it
I just finished a two day workshop in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada with Laurie Kagan and wanted to say how practical, beneficial, and useful it was to me. I have many new, ready-to-use ideas with which to begin my school year. Thanks for a great workshop!
I do not have a question. I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for the wonderful logic line-up activities you included on your newsletter. My students (8th grade mathematics), had a fun time outside today being mom, dad, etc. Once completed, we came back into the classroom and discussed the mathematics used.
Thank you for the freebie!
Beth G. Newhouse,
Willis Junior High School
I've always believed and thought that I was using cooperative learning until I took the workshop last summer, 1999. The workshop has given me more information and guidelines in doing it. I've gotten comfortable in using the following classroom/teambuilding/mastery structures: Inside-Outside Circle, Mix-Freeze-Group, Animal Sound, Line-ups, Round Robin, and Flashcard Games. Doing the activities has made learning more fun and non-threatening, oh, and lessen paperwork. The students and teacher looked forward to doing them. I will try to learn and do two more structures this coming year.
Thank you for a wonderful class.
Thank you for your response to my message. I love the resources I have purchased from you and will continue to do business with Kagan as well as spread the word to others about your wonderful products. Each book that I have purchased is worth its weight in gold! My message was also intended to let you know how much I love your products.
I attended the 5 days for training in cooperative structures with Laurie at Tarleton State University in Stephenville,TX. I also work for an education service center in Wichita Falls, TX. Here, I use cooperative structures with groups of teachers in a learning/lab staff development setting. Your on-line information has been a real help to me in facilitating learning environments for my teachers especially the beginning year interns.
My real reason for writing however has to do with working with adults in a church setting. For many years I have been a Bible study teacher. This spring I began a study and decided that I would try using the structures with about 40 ladies. Well, after 3 weeks they were so excited about everything that we did. I have utilized both classbuilders and teambuilders each week as well as several mastery structures. The group is divided into 7 table groups and each group has a facilitative leader who acts as a liaison with me. It gives me the opportunity to circulate and observe each group. Another interesting thing about this group is the wide range of prior knowledge about the Bible and the topics we are addressing. Using the structures and having facilitators who provide me with valuable feedback has allowed for more interaction for the ladies who really need support. Several people have remarked to me about the level of my personal teaching having risen as well. I attribute this to the use of structures. My teaching hasn't risen, but my management of this group has.
I just wanted to share this and also ask if you know of anyone else who has experienced successes with this kind of group?
Keep up the good work. I look forward to teaching more teachers about the uses of cooperative learning structures as well as using them as vehicles in all aspects of my personal life to facilitate the delivery of information.
B.A. M.Ed. Education Specialist, Staff Development,
Title 1 and Language Arts
Thank you for your response. I purchased the Complete MI book a year ago at NMSA in Denver. In addition to being a principal, I teach adjunct classes at Ashland University in Ohio and used it as a text for the first time this past summer. It was incredibly well received and I've had feedback from students saying they use it regularly and view it as a valuable reference. By the way, I learned a tremendous amount from all of the trainings I did attend-and Culver City was my introduction to the world of cooperative learning. It revolutionized how I taught at the middle school level, for what I look when I go into classrooms as a principal, and how I teach at the college level.
Thank you for your encouragement. I will certainly keep you abreast as I am moving forward.
It was great to see you at the GLACIE conference. You and Laurie contribute so much to the success of this yearly event. It is an honor to have you both be so supportive of our work.
Spencer, you will probably never know the tremendous impact you have had on my work as an educator (and I'm sure on countless other educators as well). I consider you to be a hero! Cooperative Learning has influenced me more than any other teaching idea or innovation. In particular, I find the Kagan strategies to be most useful in my work as a grade 7 and 8 teacher. There is rarely a day goes by that I do not use one or more of your strategies. They are so teacher and student friendly and help to make teaching and learning more effective and enjoyable.
Sir Alexander Mackenzie Sr. P. S.,
Toronto District School Board
I realize that you see thousands of teachers every year and I am probably nuts to think that you will remember me, but I've been told that before. I was at a Kagan thing with you in Boliver, MO in Aug. of 98. We (2 other teachers and myself) stayed at the same hotel as you and we went out for dinner a couple of times. Anyway, I was switching from 1st grade to 7th and 8th grade science. I promised I would write you and let you know how things were going. Kagan has been a lifesaver for me this year. The jump was huge!, and without something to keep them busy, on task and learning, I might have turned into one of those read the book and do the questions teachers who don't really teach anyone anything. I am also having a baby in 28 days. I just wanted to let you know that I love Jr. High and I will probably never voluntarily step back again, and Kagan Structures have saved my life, and sanity(what little I had) this year. Thanks.
I am a Second Grade teacher who just attended two days with Laurie at Berkley Elementary in Polk County, Florida, and I wanted to give my personal thanks to a wonderful, well spent last two days. This was by far one of the best, if not the best trainings I have ever attended. I am so excited that I woke up in the middle of the night planning my next weeks structures! :) Get this, today is Saturday - a day to sleep in, forget it - I woke up at 5:30AM to start grouping my class. I have grouped them, and have been on the computer for the last 2 hours making Mix N Match cards in the following skills: contractions, homophones, antonyms, synonyms, compound words. I am stumped with the compound words, I do not think Mix N Match is the best structure, since there are so many combinations, which structure do you think works best? I was thinking Round Table? Anyway, thanks a million! This is just what I needed. I have been in a rut, and now feel rejuvenated! I am so ready to go back on Monday and get started, what a way to finish the year, reviewing all that we have learned, and in the meantime, having fun too! :) I can't thank you enough!
My school is not currently doing Kagan, but I had heard great things about it and so I wanted to learn more - boy, did I ever! I hope I am able/allowed to attend the summer session. If my school doesn't pay, I will find the money so that I can. I hope I am able to get my school interested. I have to go plan now so I can show everyone how great it is. :) I'll keep you posted on my success!
Floral Avenue Elementary
Polk County Florida
I wanted to write to you for a while but was unable to do so due to busy work schedule. After the CL course in September, I went to my class and conducted some lessons. They are beautiful ones. My pupils enjoyed them and I was able to manage their learning better. The boy who was very unpopular with the class managed to stay involved and the other team members in his group did not dislike them as much as when I used group work. I managed to try a few of the activities like simultaneous RoundTable, RallyRobin, RoundRobin, Cooperative Project, Mix-Pair Share and so on. I just wanted to let you know how much I have benefit from the course and am enjoying using what I have learnt in my lessons. Thank you for being a wonderful trainer.
Henry Park Primary School
Several of the teachers I work with use Spencer's Structural Approach in their Adaptive Behavior Units (ABU). Because so many of the students with emotional disturbances mask their lack of social skills with acting out behaviors, the structural approach allows the teacher to integrate social skill instruction into daily lessons.
When I first began as an ABU teacher many, many, many, years ago we were encouraged to concentrate on behavior training before worring about academics. The philosophy was, that they couldn't focus on the academics until you get the behavior under control. So we had a seperate social skills curriculum that we taught for 30 minutes everyday. This was the one time during the day many of the ED kids were permitted to leave their study carrols to interact with each other. After the lesson they returned to their isolated academic activities. needless to say there wasn't alot of transferance of the social skills because they didn't have time to practice them, and when they did earn their way back into regular classrooms they were completely overwhelmed by the pace and interaction.
Now of course we know that if you don't address the academics, you will never get the behavior under control. And, just like with academics, they need time to practice the social skills in many different settings over time. (Much more so than their typically developing peers). The Kagan's structures integrate the academic and the social, and teachers tell me the results have been excellent. The students enjoy learning, feel less threatened, and recidivism has declined. I have no quantitative data to give you, just many happy teachers.