Kagan Structures are step-by-step strateges meant to assist teachers in creating a more involved and engaged class. This Kagan structure is helpful because it is an efficient way for students to break off into partners, it allows them to come out of their comfort zone by partnering with someone they have not partnered with before and it allows them to get to know other kids in the class better.
This Kagan structure is helpful in the classroom because students are allowed to work together rather than listening to a teacher lecture. When working together, students learn listening skills and conversational skills, all while the teacher is teaching them the desired subjects. The following video starts with a Stand Up-Hand Up-Pair Up, which leads into a RallyRobin:
In Kagan's RallyCoach, two students take turns solving problems and praising each other. Not only is this good practice for group work, it emphasizes Social Emotional Learning. Additionally, students learn how important it is to praise each other after they feel the reward of being praised.
Offering positive feedback to students is an essential practice. By telling students that they are doing a great job, students start to trust teachers and also feel a boost in self confidence and self esteem. This may motivate them to work harder in their schoolwork.
When completing an assignment, it is important to provide students with all materials necessary in order to succeed. When students feel as though they are missing anything, they may not feel comfortable proceeding with the assignment. The more clear the expectations are, the more comfortable the students are.
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Bloom's Taxonomy is a best practice used by teachers to instill and teach higher-order thinking skills in their classrooms through a hierarchy of levels. This can help teachers craft lessons, assessments, tasks and questions for students to learn from and demonstrate their learning through. The following video uses the movie Inside Out to discuss the various level of Bloom's Taxonomy. This can be helpful for teachers because they can use this as a basis for assignments and because the movie is relatable and age appropriate for elementary school students.
Positive feedback to students is not limited to just in the classroom. Once students enter the door to the classroom, they want to feel welcomed and motivated to work hard and have fun at school. By greeting students at the door, teachers promote a friendly and encouraging classroom environment, building student self-confidence and involvement.
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By implementing a variety of teaching methods into single units, otherwise known as differentiating instruction, teachers are able to reach all types of students. When students have the opportunity to learn in ways that are the most comfortable for them, they are more motivated to learn and engage themselves in the classroom.
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When classroom rules, procedures and expectations are clearly laid out for students to see, it has been shown that students are more motivated to work in the classroom and to take responsibility of their own actions. It is even more beneficial when students create their own rules, so they are aware of what their expectations are.
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It has been proven that metacognition, the ability to think about thinking, can be taught in classrooms. This is done by giving students opportunities to plan and organize, and to self-reflect. According to Edutopia, when we give students time to self-reflect, their self-ownership increases.
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This scholarly book by Robert J Swartz and Sandra Parks discusses ways that teachers can implement critical thinking techniques into their lesson plans. Additionally, the strategies provided give teachers strategies to encourage student engagement in thoughtful learning while the teacher is teaching the standards and curriculum. This source can be helpful to teachers if they need inspiration on ways to engage students in the lesson and to get more participation.
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Edutopia provides teachers with tips on how to be successful educators, through platforms such as blog posts and videos. This site also provides teachers with research proven concepts that they can use in their classrooms.
WeAreTeachers.com is "virtual teacher's lounge" that allows teachers to share their favorite and most successful strategies in the classroom, from one teacher's " 7 Pump-Up Songs to Get You Ready for Standardized Testing Season," to "5 Simple Ways to Build Phonics Skills and Phonemic Awareness."
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BrainPop is a great resource for teachers because it has a plethora of educational videos that teachers can use in their lessons. There are videos for all subjects and all skill levels and are kid-friendly, making students want to watch them and learn more through them.
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In this scholarly article, Carol Ann Tomlinson discusses the importance of differentiated instruction - that because every student is different, we must provide different routes of teaching in order for every student to reach the same final destination successfully. She says we cannot simply "do school" in the most basic, traditional ways - however, we must be creative and flexible to accommodate all different types of learners.
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Ordering hard-copies of TIME for Kids is beneficial in classrooms because it allows students to learn about current events and it also reminds them that technology is not everything - it is still important to read hard copies. They can answer questions related to the articles, bring the hard-copies home and read them at their own leisure.
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Free Rice is not only a site that asks students questions about the subjects of their choice, but for every correct answer they donate ten grains of rice through the World Food Programme to feed the hungry! In addition to reinforcing academic skills, this site also shows students the importance of philanthropy.
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Annenberg Learner is a compilation of informational videos that help teachers with professional development. From learning about child development to learning about development in teaching specific subjects, teachers can truly benefit from Annenberg Learner.
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Book Wizard is a Scholastic resource for teachers that allows them to look for books that best fit their classrooms needs as well provide resources that are paired with the books you choose. Using Book Wizard can enhance reading lessons and balance the classroom's library.
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Teachers can use Enchanted Learning for inspiration when planning lessons, as it provides activities, worksheets and crafting materials. It also keeps its material simple yet creative to students, keeping them engaged and motivated.
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