3 weeks…13-1/2 days…You know what I mean. The count down to summer has started. So as the end of the school year rapidly approaches, I thought I’d take time to focus on the beginning. What?! No, not the beginning of school, but the beginning of a lesson. After all, one of my favorite aspects of being a teacher is writing lessons. Yeah. I’m a nerd.
What’s the Hook?
Waaaayyyy back when I was earning my bachelor’s degree, we called it the anticipatory set. Nowadays, most teachers know it as “the hook.” That engaging, exciting, inspiring start to the lesson that captures your students’ imagination and interest in the topic. I always like to start a lesson with a “hook.” Just like I teach kids to hook their reader in writing, I think it’s important to quickly engage students in a lesson. There are a variety of ways (almost endless) a teacher can accomplish an introduction with “wow!” Here are just a few ideas I’ve used…
- cooperative learning activities
- video clips
- physical movement
- unique objects to spark discussion
Want more ideas? Check out this great PDF created by some fellow teachers that is absolutely PACKED with effective hook activities. I’ve got this site bookmarked and refer to it frequently when it’s time to start writing another lesson.
With my “Cities in Missouri” lesson, I decided to do a quick survey about which of the cities they had visited. Then we displayed the data as a bar graph with the use of a blank template and small sticky notes. This activity quickly led to students sharing their prior knowledge. Turns out I have a classroom full of world travelers!! The bar graph “hook activity” was a great start to our lesson about cities in Missouri.
Great Lessons with Great Beginnings
Hook activities don’t have to take a big chunk out of your instructional time. A wisely chosen hook can leverage the rest of your lesson from good to great. The beginning of any endeavor is critical, whether it’s a lesson or a personal achievement you want to accomplish. Invest the time up front on a solid hook, and watch your students’ engagement strengthen. You’ll maximize your lesson, which you’ve spent precious time creating, into one that becomes a “keeper” for years to come.