Interactive Learning Opportunities
Dr. Spencer Kagan in his book Kagan Cooperative Learning (2009) introduced a number of structures and activity frames which can be used to develop a cooperative and active learning environment.
Our lessons include a range of different Kagan Strategies that you can adapt and use in your computer science lessons.
Kagan Strategies are a great tool because they are very versatile and can easily be adapted for any class or learner ability because students learn by working cooperatively in groups and by sharing their work with one another.
Below is an overview of some of the more common Kagan Strategies used in our lessons.
Fan-n-Pick is a Kagan Cooperative Learning strategy that helps engage all students in the learning process. Fan-n-Pick fosters positive interdependence, individual accountability, equal participation, and simultaneously interaction. While frequently used as a review strategy, Fan-n-Pick can also be used to introduce a concept and encourage analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Fan-n-Pick uses a set of cards for each group of four students. These cards can be purchased questions from Kagan, teacher constructed cards, or student-developed questions on index cards. An example of a question might be: How might the city we’ve been studying be different if it was located on the ocean? Or, which character in the story do you most identify with and why? Each student has a role and the roles rotate after each hand of the card game.
- Student 1: Fans the Cards and turns to the person next to him and says, Pick a Card, Pick Any Card,
- Student 2: Picks a card and reads the question out loud, Student 3: Answers the question, Student 4: Paraphrases the answer given by Student # 3.
Cards are then rotated one person to the right and the steps are repeated. Fan-n-Pick encourages thinking skills; team-building; and listening and communication skills.
Give One, Get One
Give One, Get One is a strategy for mixing a group, creating connections among participants and exchanging information. In the classroom or at a meeting, it also provides participants with a structured opportunity to move around the room…get on their feet and get the blood flowing to their brains!
Each participant is generally given a 3x5 card and asked to respond in writing to a prompt. For example, participants might be asked think about school improvement goal that they feel is important and to write it on the card. Students might be asked to recall one of the laws of physics or to list one of the core democratic values and give an example of it.
Next, music is played and participants walk around the room greeting one another until the music stops. Each person then finds a partner; reads his/her card and listens to their partner’s card. Then partners exchange cards and circulate around the room again until the music stops and the process is repeated. Teachers and facilitators can add in paraphrasing to make sure he/she understands what is written on their partner’s card before traveling on to the next person to share the new information.
This Kagan Strategy includes the four principles of cooperative learning...
- Positive Interdependence
- Individual Accountability
- Equal Participation
- Simultaneously Interaction
Numbered Heads is used to promote full attention and to check for understanding.
Numbered Heads works this way: Groups of four or five participants or students form a team and are seated together. Each group numbers off so that each person has a number or letter (1, 2, 3, or 4 or A, B, C, or D). Each table or group is also given a collective number or letter. So, a person might be person # 3 at Table C. Next, the teacher poses a question for groups to consider. For example: What are two ways that “John” and “Sam” (characters in the story) are alike and different? Participants or students dialogue and come to consensus about the answer (given two or three minutes) and then the teacher spins a spinner or draws a table number out of the hat and a participant number or letter out and asks for that person to stand and report their table’s answer. This process is repeated several times with different questions.
It is important to note that the questions that are asked are critical…whether it is an elementary classroom or a senior course, it is important to create questions that foster higher-level thinking questions such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
You can find out more about how to use the different Kagan Strategies by visiting the Kagan Website.