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Shenandoah Community School District



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Kagan: An Engaging Approach to Learning


Students throughout Shenandoah Community School District are engaging in cooperative learning structures to enhance their learning and increase the depth of their thinking. Teachers in Shenandoah received Kagan training on March 19th and 20th and are now implementing that training into the classroom.  What is Kagan? Kagan is a research-based method to increase student engagement, teach social skills, and hold students accountable for their learning. According to Kagan research, classrooms that use Kagan structures increase their standardized achievement scores and decrease behavior referrals (Kagan, 2003).  Kagan also cites that students prefer cooperative learning structures over traditional methods of teaching because the learning is fun, engaging, and students are allowed to interact with their peers (Kagan, 2003).

As seen in the photo, Mrs. Holste’s 5th grade class is working on their comprehension skills through a structure called Numbered Heads Together.  Mrs. Holste asked a question about a story the students were reading and the students were tasked with writing their answer to the question. Students then stood up and presented their answer to their peers.  Collaboratively, the students within the group worked to create their best answer before sharing out with the entire class. When asked about how she likes the new strategies her teacher is using, 5th grade student, Camryn Gile, replied, “They are more fun!  I learn better because I get to interact. We do our own answers and then put them together to get our best answer. It’s a more fun way of learning rather than just sitting.”

Teachers throughout the district are using Kagan structures to get students thinking about their learning. When asked about the impact Kagan structures have on student learning, Mrs. Holste responded, “Kagan provides structures that allow for all students in my classroom to be engaged. Kagan holds all students accountable for information. I like that it provides opportunities for both team building and class building activities to enhance learning for both social and academic success. I have enjoyed adding Kagan structures to my classroom and look forward to adding more."

Kagan, S. Kagan Structures: Research and Rationale in a Nutshell. San Clemente, CA: Kagan
Publishing. Kagan Online Magazine, Winter 2003.

Students CollaboratingStudents working togetherStudents discussingStudents writing their answersStudents working