Cooperative Learning Lesson

With a dash of Kagan

Lesson Specifics

  • Content: The content of this lesson was reading. I teach at a SFA school and the SFA lessons already have a lot of cooperative learning components in them but I just added a few things and sprinkled in a few Kagan structures along the way! We just started the novel Cam Jansen and the mystery of the Stolen Corn Popper. This is the first lesson of the 6 day cycle.
  • Grade Level: I teach 4th grade but in my reading class I have a mix of 3rd and 4th graders based on their reading level.
  • School: Grandview Elementary
  • #number of students: 17
  • Students are in groups of 3 or 4. They are based off of the students scores so each group has a H-HM-LM-L or H-HM-LM or HM-LM-L. (The groups of 3 have a couple of different combinations.)

Positive Interdependence

My lesson included positive interdependence because my reading instruction is based around team work. The teams are able to earn points based on staying on task, doing the right thing, showing team work, and having really good write-on questions. The point factor really motivates the students to do their best and work hard so they can earn points for their team. At the end of the cycle, the team that has the most points is the "Super Team" and they get a special prize. If one teammate does not do their part, they could risk the chance of not earning points for their team. The students really get into it and it is fun to watch them get excited to earn point for their team.

Individual and Group Accountability

For each new cycle, the groups set a team goal for themselves. It could be "everyone contributes" or "take turns" or even to earn so many points for each day. They discuss what it is going to take to earn these points and figure out what each of them needs to do so that they can be successful. At the beginning of the year a lot of students struggle with this but as time goes on and we do more and more cycles, they become good at learning from the mistakes they made the last time and what they want their next goal to be. Not only do they have to think about their own personal actions, they need to decide as a team what their focus should be on.

Group Processing

In this picture is an example of how I used group processing at the end of my lesson. I really like this reflecting piece because sometimes it brings things to my attention that I might have missed when I was teaching or working with another group. I feel like my students do a good job of honestly telling me what they did well and what their group members did well. It seems to be very beneficial for the students to spend some time reflecting on how well they participated during class that day.
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Social Skills

This lesson had many opportunities for social and interpersonal skills. Even though there is a slight competitive aspect during my reading time, the main goal is for the group to successfully discuss and answer questions over what they are reading as a team. It is so exciting to see my students thrive in the group setting and become better at communicating with each other along the way.
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Promotive Interaction: Face to Face

This picture shows an example of students having a promotive interaction that is face to face. They are sharing their "write-on" answers with each other using the Kagan Strategy Timed-pair-share. After they share, the other partner praises or gives them constructive criticism to help do a better job the next time. These two students are not on the same team so they were apart of different team talks. This gives them a new perspective to the question and also a glimpse at how the other team discussed the answer. Even though I use the timed-pair-share with this structure during this lesson, I feel as though it would be easy to incorporate many different Kagan structures for this piece of Cooperative Learning.
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Here are some examples of Kagan structures that are frequently used in Miss Porter's Classroom


I felt like this lesson was a success for the most part. My students were actively engaged and we were able to complete most of what I planned to cover for this lesson. They were able to have really great team talk with each other and formed great questions, since that was the skill that we are focusing on for this cycle.

AND do-overs!

There were a few parts that I did not quite get to in my allotted reading time. I feel like I spent a little longer on some of the sections, which did not allow me to do a few of the activities at the end of the lesson. Otherwise, my students and myself have really enjoyed incorporating cooperative learning and Kagan structures in my lessons. I was able to take a lot away from being apart of this program.