Resident Kagan expert Vicky Littler shares a selection of co-operative learning structures that can easily be used in the classroom.
What is Kagan?
Kagan activities are any tasks in which students work both independently and collaboratively with others in order to further their learning. This learning process is simultaneous; students are learning together and there can be no ‘passengers’ or ‘opt outs’.
Why should teachers engage with Kagan?
The activities facilitate interaction between students and gives them a chance to be active learners in your lessons (quite literally – they’ll be out of their seats!)
Did you know? The oxygen supply to the brain is increased by approximately 15% just by standing up?
Kagan also gives you a chance to take a back seat so you can observe errors or misconceptions about a subject or topic and address them. The activities can be modified, tweaked and differentiated to meet the needs of all students in your classroom. They’re also a great way of making ‘boring’ topics like punctuation more palatable.
Top three Kagan Structures:
Quiz – quiz – trade:
Each student is given a card with a question, coaching tip and answer on it. Pupils put their hands up and find a partner (hand up again when free!) Specify which person is to ask their question first (e.g. shortest hair). If they each get the answers right students can swap cards.
Differentiation: split class in two: higher and lower order questions; the pupils must circulate within their ‘half’. Alternatively, high ability students can write the QQT cards themselves to consolidate learning.
Each student is given a card with a name/ figure/ fact on it… Students will be given a specified amount of time to ‘cluster’ their information into groups of some significance – e.g. characters from a particular Shakespearean play
Differentiation: higher ability can create cluster activities for you; you can tell students how many groups there are in total before they try to make links between their pieces of information or give them a clue!
Students get into groups of four – each group has a set of questions (these can be printed or shown on a white board). Each person attempts the questions individually (I use whiteboards – one minute limit – the buzzer works well as students know when the time is up)
When 1 minute is up students share answers – they then have another minute to reach a consensus and write the agreed answer down