Kagan Cooperative Learning
I absolutely love teaching using the Kagan structures. I have drawn much inspiration from these two books: Cooperative Learning & Music and Match Mine: Music. I took my first set of Kagan classes about 10 years ago, but only started to truly use it last year and it has transformed my classroom. Behavior problems are down and students are progressing much more quickly than they have in the past. If you’ve never had a chance to go through a Kagan training, I strongly suggest you do so before trying to implement it into your classroom. Plus, the workshops are so much fun!
This year, I have my room set-up in teams and use it with every class, every day. The structure of Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up works well with every group – even Kindergarten! Teaching folk dancing has never been easier thanks to the use of this structure. And I use my rhythm and melodic flashcards with both Quiz-Quiz-Trade and Fan N Pick so I can have the entire class engaged in practicing isolated patterns as individuals, rather than rote reading in their seats or one-at-a-time for assessments. The Match Mine “games” are priceless for working on vocabulary, and they worked great with a substitute when I unexpectedly had to miss school.
If you can only buy one book, I strongly suggest you begin with the Cooperative Learning & Music book. This book gives overviews of a variety of structures, and a number of starting places on how to use them in the music room. The Match Mine book is really fun, but be warned – it relies heavily on manipulatives, and if you don’t have time (or don’t want to take the time!) to copy, laminate, cut, and collate the materials, it’s really not worth your money.
Rounds and Canons