Numbered Heads Activity - A Kagan Structure

books group activity kagan readers reading activity review game Oct 14, 2021

I was observed the other day during a La Llorona lesson. I had an article about the story on the whiteboard and was reading through it. The Admin liked the lesson but suggested I have an activity prepared so the students aren't passively listening. I did some research and came across an activity called Numbered Heads. I can't, at this moment, remember where I first read it but a quick Google search will show you that it is a common activity (although new to me)! I used it in my best class, the one I always use to test out new ideas, and it was popular! I especially liked it because it kept the kids focused on the reading, helped me break the reading into manageable chunks since I would pause to ask questions, and all the students felt confident to answer as they were able to collaborate with their group. It's a win!


Students should sit together in groups of 4 or 5. Each student needs a whiteboard, a dry-erase marker, and something to erase with. Each student should write a number 1-4 on the corner of their board. If a group has less members than the other groups, then one of those people will have 2 numbers. It works best with groups of 4 but we all know it doesn't always work out that way!

Have your reading on the whiteboard and read a few sentences up to a paragraph. Stop and ask the class a question in the TL. Each team will have a minute or two to work together to come up with the correct answer and write the answer on their whiteboard. After students have had a sufficient amount of time, the teacher should say “STOP” and then say a number 1-4 (or 1-5 etc). ONLY the student assigned to the number called by the teacher should hold up their board. Every team who gets the answer correct (some students will go rogue and write their own answer) AND who has the correct number hold up their board IMMEDIATELY wins a point for that round. I generally have them write the answer in English as they are already reading and listening in the TL but if you choose to have them answer Spanish, I would suggest being lenient on spelling. I ask as many questions as I want to until it starts to feel like work for me. At that time, if there are teams tied, go into a sudden death round!

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