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Monday, August 14, 2017

Hook, Line, and Sinker

Posted by Cherita Williams in Academics  |  Post a comment

As content experts, we often approach the beginning of a unit or lesson with a single focus in mind…the content. Although our content is incredibly important, students often arrive to class with a less than clear focus. Other classes, responsibilities, and oh yes, friends are probably competing for your students’ attention. It becomes easy, almost routine to zone out as the instructor launches into a new lesson. As such, it is important that we HOOK them in at the very beginning of the class. Remember they are bringing with them different strengths, interests, and varying degrees of prior knowledge/experience with the content.  Here are several ways you can engage students right at the start of the lesson.

Ask a Question:

One of the ways Kelly Gallagher suggests that we do this is by asking a question that will create a frame for their learning. He gives the following example: “If the president asks you to go to war, would you go with no questions asked?” They might share their responses in pairs, small groups, or with the class.

Give students a survey

Students love to share their opinions. Create a poll on Nearpod or Kahoot that will lead into a discussion of the day’s lesson.

Create a purpose for their learning

Present students with a real-life scenario (relevant to them)asking them how they would solve the problem. Assess what they already know and help them understand what it is they need to know. As you move through the lesson, point out parts that will assist them in answering the question.

Now for the best part! Look at the examples and consider our 10 design qualities from Schlechty. To which motives might these experiences speak? Although one could argue that a survey is not work, if we know that students are motivated by affirmation, then giving students the opportunity to share their opinions might engage them in the lesson.

Gallagher, K. (2004). Deeper reading: comprehending challenging texts, 4-12. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse.

Schlechty, P. C. (2011). Engaging students the next level of working on the work. San Francisco, Ca.: Jossey-Bass.


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