Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Kagan Conference

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a Kagan Cooperative Learning workshop in Indiana.  I had been anticipating the workshop for quite some time, as I'd heard all about Kagan over the years.  I knew I wanted to learn more!  I made the trip by myself, which is often the case when I seek out PD. Upon arrival, there were materials at my seat, including the "Cooperative Learning" book, which is loaded with tips and tricks for implementing Kagan in the classroom.

The workshop was led by Bill Stater, a certified Kagan Trainer.  He was a fantastic presenter full of energy, knowledge, and enthusiasm!  He kept my attention all day by adding humor and fun!  The day flew by and I didn't look at my watch/phone once.

We learned about 9 different Kagan "structures" at the workshop.  Some of my favorites are:  Find Someone Who, Rally Coach, and Round Robin.  As I was taking notes during the event, I found myself getting more and more excited about trying the structures in my room as soon as I got back. The beauty of Kagan is that there isn't a lot of prep-work involved.  That's huge.  Teachers do not need one more thing to add to our plates.  What we need are ideas for how to tweak what we are already doing!  I love that Kagan has kids up and moving.  Brain breaks are great but I don't always have time for them.  What I do have time for is continuing on with my curriculum while incorporating movement=Kagan.

There was plenty to look at during our breaks...tons of Kagan materials were available for purchase. I'm a natural born shopper, so I obviously left with an empty wallet!  I picked up the "Selector Tools" CD, which is awesome for randomly selecting students.  It includes 14 different selector options, including colors, dice, names, spinners, and more!  I also picked up the "Cooperative Learning for Primary" Kagan book.  It includes lots of pre-made activities using the 6 best structures to engage little learners.  Perfect for my first graders!  Finally, I purchased a "Kagan Structures Flip Chart" for easy reference in my classroom.  I knew I wanted to start implementing the structures as soon as possible, and there are many to choose from.  The flip chart that I purchased includes directions for 30 structures.  I have it on my desk for quick reference.  It's also perfect for planning and fits right into my school bag.

I had a 2 hour drive home and my mind was busy the whole time, thinking of ways I can implement the Kagan structures into my first grade classroom.  I highly recommend checking out Kagan Publishing and Professional Development.  You can visit their website at



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