As mentioned in the previous blog post, I am reading a book called “Teach Like a Pirate” along with everyone at my school before the school year starts.
We share the book with our department so I can’t write in the margins or put sticky notes all over it, so I am blogging to remember the things that I like and want to remember during the school year. This post is my notes over Part 2. Some of these things might not make sense since they are just my notes. I have also made this post more directed toward teaching Math, so if you teach other subjects, you will definitely want to read the whole book to get the full details if this interests you.
Crafting Engaging Lessons
He showed this diagram that I thought was interesting. Of course you have Content and in many professional developments we are offered Technique and Methods (diagrapms, think-pair-share, jigsaw), but rarely are we offered Presentation training.
Transitions will kill you- when you are trying to focus on the presentation section of your lesson, the transitions are something that can really kill a lesson. Many times a teacher will capture the attention and engagement of their class and then lose it by adding some unnecessary delay between the hook and the delivery of the content. Don’t let supplies throw you off. If you know they will need paper, get the paper before you tell a powerful story and have them in the palm of your hand. Again, this is another thing I can relate to the performing world. You can be an amazing singer, but what you say between songs to hold your audiences’ attention is equally as important.
This section was filled with lots and lots of questions to ask yourself as you are developing lessons. Brace yourself, there are a LOT. Since there were SO MANY, it was a little overwhelming. I am going to share the ones that stood out to me. Other math teachers might have a completely different opinion than me and that is totally fine. Like mentioned earlier, don't be like the teacher next door. The only way this is going to work is if you are you!
The Kinesthetic Hook
· How can I incorporate movement into this lesson?
· Can we throw something, roll something, or catch something inside or outside of class?
· Can we get up and act something out?
· Can we incorporate gestures and motions that students can do from their desks?
· Can we turn the room into a giant opinion meter and have students move to one side or the other based on a statement?
· Can I change the structure of this lesson from a seated activity to a walk around activity?
· Can I use a game that incorporates movement and action to enhance this lesson?
The People Prop Hook
· Can I create a human graph, chart, map, or equation?
· Can students be assigned a specific step in a process or an event then have them order themselves sequentially or do some type of assembly line?
The Safari Hook
· How can I get my class outside my four walls for this lesson?
· Where would be the best place(s) on campus to deliver this content?
The Picasso Hook
· How can I incorporate art into this lesson?
· What can my students draw or make that would help them understand and retain this information?
· Can they create visuals of key information as a way to review for the upcoming test?
· Can they design word pictures in which the way the word is written reveals its definition?
· Can I create an art-based option that students could choose instead of another assignment?
The Mozart Hook
· How can I most effectively use music as they enter the room or during their work time?
· Can I use music to make my transitions smoother and more engaging?
· Can I allow students to create songs/raps that demonstrate their understanding of the content as an alternative to essays and standard reports?
The Dance and Drama Hook
· Can I provide the opportunity for my students to do skits or appear in videos related to what we are learning?
· Can they write a script and create a video to play for the class? (Some of my students actually did this last year and it was AMAZING!!)
The Craft Store Hook
· Is there an origami fold that I can teach to the class for this content?
· Could there be a craft skill my students already possess that could enhance my curriculum and simultaneously allow them the chance to be an expert for a day?
The Student Hobby Hook
· How can I incorporate the hobbies and outside interests of my students into this material?
The Real-World Application Hook
· How can I show my students why learning this content is important in the real world?
· Can they create something “real” that will be more than a classroom project but actually allow them to interact with the world in an authentic way?
The Student-Directed Hook
· How can I release some of my control and provide students the chance to be the experts and directors of this subject?
The Opportunist Hook
· In what ways can I incorporate current popular trends, fads, TV shows, and movies in order to make this relevant and engaging for my class?
· Can I put intriguing images of current events on the walls with QR codes underneath that link to more information?
The Board Message Hook
· What can I write on my board or have projected on my screen that will immediately spark curiosity and interest as the students enter my room?
· Can I just put a QR code on the board or screen and see what happens?
The Costume Hook
· What accessory can I wear to enhance my presentation (hat/glasses/apron)? (I wasn’t even going to put this one on here, but I had one idea. When we are learning about sales tax/% of a #, I do a menu activity. I could dress as waitress that day and “take orders”)
The Props Hook
· What physical item can I bring in to add to my presentation (good for geometry)?
The Involved Audience Hook
· How can I consistently keep the audience feeling involved?
· Can I cue them to make certain motions or sounds at key points?
· Can I bring students to the front of the room as volunteers?
The Storytelling Hook
· Can I create a high-interest story to fit the lesson?
· What captivating story can I tell that would draw students into a lesson?
The Swimming with the Sharks Hook
· Can I participate in the activity?
· Can I use the whole classroom as my platform (not just the front of the classroom)?
The Mime Hook
· Can students be asked to get their messages across without words? (Idea: have 5 questions ready to answer on the board. One student will go to the board and solve, the next student can either correct the first students work, if they think something is incorrect, or go on to the next question. We are not done until all students have a thumbs up that all questions are solved correctly – all done silently).
The Backwards Hook
· Can I show them an end product that will make them figure out how to get there?
The Reality TV Hook
· How can I design my lesson to take advantage of the popularity of reality TV?
· Can I create a Survivor-style challenge and divide the class into tribes?
· Can this be configured as an Amazing Race partner lesson?
· How can I incorporate a Fear Factor type of challenge?
The Techno Whiz Hook
· Can I give my students the option to create projects and turn in assignments digitally?
· Can I create a paperless lesson, unit, or class?
· How can I take advantage of the fact that most phones now have camera, video, and Internet capability?
· How can technology help to connect my students to people from all over the world and help them gain a global perspective?
· How can I utilize the latest apps to create more powerful and interactive presentations?
The Contest Hook
· How can I include a contest in this lesson to build excitement and motivation?
· What type of review game can I design to ramp up the entertainment level of my class?
· What kind of in-class challenge can I create that would take advantage of their competitive instinct?
· Can I be part of the challenge or contest?
The Chef Hook
· Can I enhance this lesson by adding food or drinks to it?
I warned you…there are a LOT!! And I didn’t even type half of them!! J Happy planning!