Sunday, June 29, 2014

Teach Like a Pirate: What's in it For Me?

This section of Teach Like a Pirate is all about answer the age old student question... "What's in it for me?" Dave Burgess offers 5 hook types to help answer this question for your students.  Here are the five hooks and how I have either used them in my classroom or see myself using them as I plan for next year. 

1 - The student hobby hook: Get students interested by using hobbies and interests that appeal to them and connect with the material being taught. I'd like to get to know my students better in the first couple of weeks of school.  I was crushed last year when it took me until January to know that a student had lost his father the previous spring.  That would have been super important information to know in September! I realize that some students and families aren't going to be super forthcoming about things like this, but I'm thinking that a combination of an interest/get to know you inventory and an individual interview with each student at the beginning of the year will give me a great start.  We do reading benchmark assessments at the beginning of the year and I'm thinking this would be a great opportunity to add a little personal interview conversation with each student.  My assessments will take longer to get through, but I will know my students better.

2 - Real world application hook: Show students directly how knowing this content will be helpful to them in their life. This is a tougher one for me.  Not everything I have to teach students will be helpful to them in their life.  I try to connect it as much as I can, but sometimes I have to look to means of engagement in other hooks.

3 - The life-changing lesson hook: Touch students in a way that changes their lives.  It might change their feelings, perspective or reflection on themselves. This works really well for me in our literature and history lessons, especially when we discuss times of discrimination.  The stories of slavery and genocide and escape and hiding that riddle U.S. history really touch students and give them new perspectives and cause to reflect.

4 - The student-directed hook: Get student buy-in and interest by allowing student choice. I try to give students choice within "have-to's". It might be required that students complete a science project, but what they choose to do is completely up to them.  I give choice constrained choice in reading when students choose their literature circle books from several options.  The leadership team at my school read the book Drive this last year.  Much of the ideas in that book focus on motivation through choice.  I think the thing to remember about choice is that it doesn't mean free for all and choice can be had within parameters.

5 - The opportunistic hook: Use current events, trends, fads, movies or music to grab student attention and connect to relativeness. I LOVED the idea with this hook to post pictures of current events with a corresponding QR code.  When scanned, the code would lead students to more information about the event and/or topic.  Technology combined with what interests students is sure to engage.  I love this idea and plan to use it not only for current events, but the historical events we are learning about as well.  Students will be hooked by the picture, code and information they learn.

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  1. I have always made point of applying a real life context to my lessons however I've never really considered the other hooks you mentioned. They sound fabulous and I can't wait to try them out.

    Thank you!


  2. My favorite is the opportunist hook! During summer school I had my students building the setting of their independent read, or our read-aloud, using Minecraft and I also had them "tweeting" the theme of the small group reading we were working on together so the could get input from each other because this concept was difficult for them. I allowed the 120 character (including spaces) so they had to be particular which words they choose. IN t he end they were doing it independently!


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