Kagan Co-Operative Learning

It's All About Engagement!

Kagan Leader 

Josephine Lynch

'Working co-operatively in teams is a wonderful experience for students and provides opportunities for students to develop social and life skills that will serve them well throughout life       '- Dr Spencer Kagan

A few parents have had some queries about our use of ‘Kagan groups’ and ‘Kagan structures’. Firstly, let us clarify what we mean by these terms. ‘Kagan’ comes from ‘Spencer Kagan’ who over many years has researched into the benefits of using co-operative learning structures in the classroom. A ‘Kagan Group’ is made up of 4 children of mixed sexes, abilities and personalities. The idea being that the team reflects the balance and range of people we all have to learn to work with in real life. Children are paired carefully so that they can support one another and by this often reinforce their own understanding.

‘Kagan Structures’ are teaching strategies used across the curriculum. They encourage:

· ‘Equal Participation’ of all team members. Ensuring everyone is equally valued.
· Active engagement.
· Communication skills
· Socialisation
· Movement and pace
· Fun

Of course at times it is appropriate to ability group children and we do when appropriate but for many of our subject areas the groups and structures work well and pupil attainment and enjoyment is self-evident. 

Rally Coach
Here are the current Year 1's using the Rally Coach structure to help them learn. Rally Coach is a structure that we use in a range of lessons. Children are in pairs and will be an A or a B. As you can see from the pictures, some children are working on whiteboards - here one child is solving a maths problem whilst their partner watches, listens and coaches. This structure develop skills such as turn taking, listening and offering positive praise. It is also an chance to challenge children to explain to others their understanding of a certain topic. 

The children in the pictures above are also using Rally Coach as part of a paired write. One child is coaching whilst the other is writing a sentence. The coach will offer advice or 'tips' such as 'don't forget to use a capital letter!' and praise their partner before switching roles. 

Numbered Heads Together
This structure is brilliant for developing 'team togetherness'. The teacher will pose a question or problem, the children have think time whereby they can either write their answers down or simply think about which may be the correct answer before the teacher calls 'numbered heads together'. At this point, the children join together in their Kagan groups to share the answers they had. They must all come to a consensus before showing the teacher they have all agreed on the same answer. If the team mates come up with different answers, they must explain to their group why they think that is the answer so the team can discuss this before agreeing together. 

Fan and Pick
Fan and Pick is a structure whereby everyone in the Kagan group is accountable for a job. In Year 1, we have used this and adapted it slightly for various tasks. For example, here the children are learning how to measure weight by making a potion in their groups. Each person in the group has a job e.g. 1 person read the ingredient out, 1 person found out how much the ingredient had to weigh, 1 person found the ingredient and weighed it out and 1 person tipped the ingredient into the mixing bowl. The jobs are then rotated so that all children have a go at each job.

The 'traditional' fan and pick structure is similar but used with cards that can be as simple as maths problems to new vocabulary/spellings or parts of a text. In this structure, 1 person fans a set of question cards, 1 person picks a card and reads it out, 1 person answers the question and 1 person praises/coaches. 

Year 6 Teambuilders
In Year 6, we have been working on our teamwork and communication skills in our new Kagan teams. We played a very funny game involving balloons during Kagan week, it was much harder than it looked because Miss Jarman made us play in complete silence! We had to work out how to communicate with our team mates without using our voices!

We've also been developing our teamworking skills in English by completing a tarsia challenge in our Kagan groups - it was very tricky but we used our knowledge of children's literature to help us complete the puzzle as quickly as possible.

Year 2 Class Meeting
Year 2JB have been enjoying class meetings. Every Friday afternoon we get together and play some class building/team building games and take the opportunity to update everyone on any new events or important news. Every week a member of the class takes Danny Bear home with his scrapbook for a weekend sleepover. In class meeting we hear all about Danny Bear's adventures and another pupil is nominated to take care of him. 

This week's meeting was great because Ademini brought in his African drum from home and his very special clothes from Nigeria. We loved hearing the amazingly loud sound the drum could make and everybody had a turn to play their own beat. We love class meeting!

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