Fresh from my TESL course, I dutifully put together a lesson plan with all the requisite parts. Since it was to be a lesson on syllabification and stress, I thought that my drum would make a nice hook. I would set the drum atop my desk and leave it there in plain sight as learners arrived and took their seats.
"Why might I have brought this drum in today?" I could ask them. That would be a great hook.
So much about my teaching has changed since those first months. And though I don't always remember or bother to start each lesson with a hook, I probably should. Certainly I notice a deeper sense of engagement on the part of the learners when I pull it off well.
Tuesday, the antepenultimate school day before summer break, was to be sports and activities day. There would be floor hockey and dance lessons in the auditorium while my classroom space would host board game stations.
I figured there were two ways I could go about preparing my students to open our space as a game room. I could greet them from the front of the class with that typically nasal teacher voice: "Today, class, we are going to learn to play some North American board games."
I could try to hook them.
The fact that my morning group has expressly requested that we
- How many people can play this game?
- What is the object of this game?
- How do you play it?
- What are the rules?
I then left to finish my photocopying, ensuring the students would have some time in the space to ponder the objects and questions without me there. I like giving curiosity time to mount.
How about you?
Do you believe that starting with a 'hook' makes for a better lesson? If so, is there a favourite way to get that instant engagement that you'd like to share with other teachers? I'd love it if you'd leave your idea in the comments.
By the way, games and activities day went really well. The supposedly games-averse seniors really got into Tangoes and Quarto. Two men enjoyed their Scrabble match so much that one asked to borrow the board so as to be able to play with his wife over the summer.