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Kagan Cooperative Learning: It’s All About Engagement at the MS/HS!

Kagan training Teachers in the Middle and High School started the school year actively engaged in professional development. Over two days, staff was instructed on the foundations of Kagan Cooperative Learning by a nationally certified Kagan trainer. Teachers were able to learn, practice and model the instructional approaches that will help them boost engagement and achievement levels of all students in their classrooms.

What is Kagan Cooperative Learning? Kagan Cooperative Learning teaches small groups of students with various learning abilities and styles how to work together to achieve a common goal. Teaching is done using Kagan Structures which are simple, step-by-step instructional strategies. Each structure helps students with: team-building, class-building, mastery, thinking skills, information sharing, and communication skills. In a traditional classroom some students simply do not participate. When Kagan Structures are being used, all students become engaged!

One example of a great structure that teachers are using is a Timed Pair Share. In this structure partners take timed turns listening and sharing. There are four steps to this structure.
Step One: The teacher asks a question (Example: You will have one minute to explain the process of the scientific method.) 
Step Two: One student (Let’s call this student – Student A) shares while the other student (Student B) listens without interrupting. 
Step Three: The teacher tells Student B how to respond.
Step Four: Students switch roles.
What are the benefits of Timed Pair Share? Students learn respectful listening. They practice elaborating their responses. Students also practice appreciating the thoughts of others and taking turns.

Another example of a structure that teachers love to use is Quiz-Quiz-Trade. Each student stands up with a question-answer card (question on one side and answer on the other) and finds a partner (Students walk around the classroom with their hands up until they pair up). The pair takes turns quizzing one another (one student reads the question on his or her card) and praising (if the student got it right) or coaching (if the student was incorrect, the partner helps the student get to the right answer). Each student gets an opportunity to read his or her card as well as being asked a question. Then they trade cards and raise their hands to find a new classmate, repeating the process numerous times with new partners.
Found a partner to work with! Sharing with partners The benefit of the Quiz-Quiz-Trade structure is that students master the content and learn to coach or tutor other students. A major bonus is that students always love when they are up moving around the classroom! Many teachers love this structure because it is great to use as a review for a quiz or test.

Parents, as you sit down for dinner or drive your child to practice take a moment to ask: Did you do any Kagan today? I bet his or her response will be full of excitement!