Kagan in the Early Weeks

Whew! The last two weeks have been a whirlwind! We survived parent orientation, open house, and 2 full weeks of school! I've got so many things to share with you that we've done, but I thought I would start by sharing how I implemented Kagan these first weeks. Many of you asked lots of questions after I wrote this post about how I incoporated Kagan last year, so hopefully, I can give you some more ideas!

In a nutshell, this is why I love Kagan...

Before I introduced an actual structure, I taught my kids about "Think Time." Think time is huge in Kagan {and research shows its benefits}, and to help my students understand that think time is not talking time, I taught them that before we discuss with partners or teams, we put our fingers on our head for think time. They rocked it!
The very first structure I introduced was Inside-Outside Line. This is most definitely NOT an easy structure to master. However, I really wanted to use it to sing our good morning song each day, so I figured I would dive right in! Basically, half the class lines up and faces the other half of the class {also in a line}. Then, we sing one round of our song {Dr. Jean's Hello Neighbor}. After that round, one line stays "planted,' and the other moves one person down. The last person goes to the other end. This goes on for 3 more rounds until the song is over. Later, I'll use this structure in conjunction with Quiz, Quiz, Trade and others to review skills. The kids love singing the song with each other, and I love that each child interacts with random friends, not just kids they knew prior to start kindergarten. Look how happy they are!

The second structure I introduced {because we use it multiple times a day} is Rally Robin. Basically, this is where partners go back and forth discussing a question/prompt. These can be just for fun {we did types of candy}, or academic {character traits, words that start with a letter, etc.}. This structure is great, because no one can hide. Every student has to talk, and every student has to listen {thus meeting a ton of our speaking/listening standards}. When I went to Kagan for Little Learners this summer, the presenter suggested giving young students talking balls when teaching Rally Robin to give them a visual of when it was their turn to talk. I ordered these little smiley balls on Amazon, and they worked perfectly! I love how engaged my kiddos are in just the first week of school!


Another structure similar to Rally Robin that I used these past 2 weeks is called Primary Interview. Usually, this structure is done in a team, but we used it in whole group when we introduced it. The kids are working with their shoulder partners and they interview each other based on a question/questions I give. Since most of my students are not accustomed to having to really listen in a conversation, I started small. I gave my students one question to ask their partner, and they had to be a very good listener, because they later shared with the class what their partner's answer was. Later, partners will share with their teams, which cuts down on how much time sharing takes. Some of the things my partners interviewed each other about what their favorite food, their favorite thing to do, and their favorite color {we were doing this for fun, but you can absolutely use this as an academic structure as well}. To make the structure a little more fun, I bought these inflatable microphones on Amazon, and my kids loved them!

Next week, I'll introduce more structures, and review the ones we already know. I am already seeing the positive benefits in my classroom, and I would love to hear from you if you try them!

12 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Vickie this is a great post. I'm so glad I stumbled upon it on Instagram. Thank you for sharing the different structures. I am going to try the inside/outside line tomorrow. I can't wait to read more. :)

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  3. Love this post!! I love the inflatable microphone idea!! Adding those to my Amazon cart!! Thanks for sharing some AWESOME ideas!
    ~Heather :)

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  4. OMG!!!! I must know more about this...I can already see how it would be awesome!!!!!

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  5. I've always been interested in this, but didn't know where to start! Thank you so much for sharing...I'm going to have to pin this post for rereading. I also just added the smiley balls to my growing Amazon cart! Thanks again :) Jen

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  6. I love the smiley balls and microphones that you add into your Kagan structures. I've used Kagan for 3 years now but I'm always looking for new ways to engage and make the structures fun!

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  7. I just purchased your word card game and can't wait to laminate it and use it. Love that you can use it in a variety of ways. Our writing and reading program is called Spalding and we teach many double phonograms like "ur", th, ch, ir, and many more. Sometimes I can't use materials because they don't coordinate with our program. So pleased to see we can use all of your words!!!! Thank you.

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  8. Hi Vickie,
    I found this post on accident, but found it quite interesting. I am struggling with a very high maintenance group of kindergartners this year. Can you please give me more info on Kagan. Is this a book or a class that you took?

    Thank you for sharing!!

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  9. I would love to know more about this approach! This sounds sooo interesting and quite frankly a lot of fun and engaging. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. This was great to read, thank you!

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